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What is Feedforward, and How Can it Benefit Your Business?

The UK’s employment sector is experiencing unprecedented tumult; around half of Britain’s workers are considering new jobs at the height of what has been titled “the Great Resignation”. Burnout is a key contributor to the metric, as well as evolving expectations on how a business conducts itself internally. With many employers wedded to outdated notions of HR and staff improvement, there is a new brand of business development that could change the working landscape – and make your business a better fit for today’s workers –: feedforward.

What is Feedforward?

Feedforward is a term that describes a new and revolutionary approach to evaluating proposals, results and performance. Where feedback tends to rely heavily on the discussion of the past in terms of successes and failures, feedforward seeks to change the focus to the future – looking instead to constructive suggestions and advice with an emphasis on solutions.

What Does Feedforward Do?

Feedforward represents a paradigm shift in the way managers and business leaders conduct reviews, whether of employees, workplace systems or campaigns. The re-focusing of energy to future possibilities, as opposed to the past, centres creativity and progression as opposed to rumination and introspection. It is a radical change, and one which can extend a number of benefits to your business if employed correctly.

Benefits of Implementing Feedforward

Tangible Improvement

Feedback can often feel like a box-ticking exercise, and lead to a dead-end when it comes to improvement. Reviewing employee performance might lead to personal appraisals, where feedback comprises issues with previous statistics or quality of work. Presenting these issues does nothing for the employee’s confidence, nor does it provide tangible routes to improvement. 

Meanwhile, feedforward prioritises solutions over the core issue – leading to faster, more affirmative action. As an example, fostering a growing and developing team can be much easier when it provides you as a leader with a direction, as opposed to the problem. Feedforward might reveal to you, as the leader, that your employees would benefit from development services as offered by companies like New Street Consulting Group – a conclusion you may not have drawn from past statistics alone.

Creativity and Accountability, from Top to Bottom

The previous point leads perfectly onto one of the key strengths in feedforward. Businesses can become mired in ‘the numbers’ when evaluating performance – numbers which often give no clue as to a correct solution. Solutions to improve results need to be intuited, and feedforward facilitates that intuition from the top down as opposed to from the ground up. Feedforward makes a potential cause for concern a company issue, and one which can be solved collectively – improving business responsiveness and results in one.

How to Practice Feedforward

Practising feedforward as a business does not need to be enshrined in the company handbook, or defined by a best-practice guidebook. It is a feedback philosophy, and one that can be easily adopted by leaders within your business. A core principle of feedforward is the collective generation of solutions; opening up dialogue as opposed to delivering facts. By making discussion over performance a conversation as opposed to a presentation, you can better ideate ways to address any potential issues – in turn, cementing positive growth at the core of your business’ culture.

Related: How to Communicate With Your Customers to Improve Your Profits

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