Appraisals & feedback


Feedback Wrap is based on the assumption that knowledge workers require regular, honest feedback to grow and improve, not once a year, but in regular intervals. Due to de fact that nowadays there are a lot of knowledge workers working remote, face-to-face communication is difficult to keep up. So Jurgen Appelo created a way to set up written feedback which can be sent per mail whenever required, if possible regularly.


I ran once into my line manager, who was looking stressed and overloaded. When I asked, ‘What’s going on?’ the answer was ‘Appraisals phase! I still have 10 to go!’.

At the company I used to work for, one thing was a fact about the performance appraisals: everybody was happy when they were over. Specially in cases where not always in the office, or working for different projects, or even geographically distributed, it was quite a challenge for the line manager to come up with a fair performance appraisal.

It is already clear to most of the companies that yearly employee’s evaluation and goal setting is not the best approach to motivate creative workers. It is about high performing employees giving their best in order to achieve outstanding outcome for the company they are working for. Performance appraisals are not only useless towards the expected behaviour, they actually damage the intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, in a world when we seek leadership in our managers, the performance appraisals still support the top-down approach manager-employee, which we are challenging with the technology enterprises of the XXI century.

The question which arise now is, if we don’t apply performance appraisals, what do we do now?

Jürgen Appelo in his book ‘Managing for happiness’ introduces the concept of Feedback Wrap.



Five are the steps to create a feedback wrap:

    define the context you are writing from: We help people define the current context, what the situation is, how it is in the time plan, it is at the beginning of the year, it is a salary review, a performance evaluation, a feedback for poor performance.

    describe the facts (the facts and not your assumptions!):

we help to describe the events that have happened, nothing more than events, without feelings, or emotions, no judgments, just the events, we help by giving examples: "it is not misbehaving", it is the event without judging it "he did not greet his colleagues when they greeted you", "it is not you made mistakes that caused the production step to go wrong" if you did not "perform steps a, b, c, e of the production steps guide which consists of steps a, b, c,d,e" for example.

    express your feelings about the situation:

Then we help him reflect on how that situation made him feel, what feelings did it provoke in him? We do not judge his feelings, nor do we do so to the one who judges them, only that he expresses them and is aware of them. "I got upset", "I got angry", "it made me happy"

    list what is important to you:

The next step is very important. Once the person is made aware of their feelings, we help them find out why. Why have you felt this way? What facts, situations or interpretations have made you feel that way? Never judging the other party, never accusing, always from your heart.

    and end up offering some suggestions how to improve:

Finally, to close the circle and the most important part, once you become aware of the feelings, the situation and the context, is to give alternatives, propose solutions. We always have to propose solutions, 1,2,3, there is no need to overwhelm the other party. Continuous improvement is better step by step than not wanting to make too many changes or improvements at the same time (we do not control well which of these improvements causes the positive impact).


In my opinion, the main advantage of dynamics is to make people aware of this separation between context, facts, feelings and emotions, importance, and suggestions. This separation helps people to get to know each other better, to understand their reactions and to be compassionate with other people and not get carried away by the first impression, the first fact, etc.



The main disadvantage that I see in dynamics is that many times there is no psychologically safe context to talk about feelings. Very few organizations ask questions like "How do you feel?", "What makes you feel that way?". It is a controversial topic to talk about personal feelings in companies, it can be perceived as a symptom of weakness, when it is quite the opposite. With which the feedback wrap is a change of habit, you have to be persistent, you have to accompany, it is not only to explain the dynamic, give examples, do it, reflect on it, but try to accompany them if possible so that the habit is set. That is often the big problem, the lack of accompaniment or awareness of the importance of creating the habit.



It was used both in the company itself, internally, and in customer areas where it is embarking on the transformation and there are frictions between partners.

We start with everyday situations in the company, which can cause some discomfort in the companions, from the improper use of the coffee maker in the box, the fridge, the microwave, to gradually provide feedback in contexts as a team with problems of execution, a department that has bottlenecks in its response of times.

Always exposing the context of the situation to avoid misunderstandings and of course, hot feedback, never days after the situation.

It is essential to communicate the context, what has not worked well in my case is that part, there are times, that the feedback is communicated without communicating the context and causes misunderstandings. In other cases no alternatives or solutions are proposed, the feedback is not closed.

This part has been practiced a lot to offer from the feelings shown, constructive solutions, even accompanying the dynamics with non-violent communication techniques, ¿how the person who received the feedback regarding that feedback has felt?



The dynamic has helped me change the way I give feedback to people, both in my team and in the organization and clients, even in my personal life with family and friends.
I consciously apply the 5 steps in professional development conversations with my peers and ask for feedback on my own feedback. What do you think? What have you felt? how could i improve? How have you felt throughout the feedback I have given you?

Initially, it often provokes feelings of surprise in them, but as the conversation progresses and you ask again how they feel, they feel grateful to see you nearby, helping with complicated issues such as giving people feedback (be it positive or negative). It is something that fills you with gratitude for being able to contribute to generating solid interactions and relationships with people. If in any case expressing emotions or feelings causes discomfort, we talk about it to give the importance it has in the context of the feedback to be given, of the benefits and above all of the plan of improvement, evolution and strength; because many times showing your emotions or feelings is perceived as weakness and not as strength. I try to help in this part as a symptom of learning, of improvement as a person, which is well received by them.
Many of these people have to later have development conversations with more people and in this way they enter the wheel of change, seeing you change, experiencing the change and asking for continuous feedback. I teach them the steps, and I even ask for reciprocal feedback on myself, in this way they apply the technique with me, in a safe and learning context, so that later they can apply it with their peers.




We have introduced the feedback wrap in the development conversations, those quarterly and semi-annual "performance" review periods between manager and subordinate, but in a reciprocal way. In this way, the manager gives constructive feedback and the other party also gives constructive feedback to the manager, about how he sees his feedback, evaluation and interaction process with him. We are having very good results in most cases and it is serving to learn to understand each other better between managers and teams.

It has started as a pilot in a unit where we have 40 managers and the idea is to continue incorporating it quarterly unit by unit until reaching the 150 existing managers.