3 min read

How to Use the SEEN Feedback Model (+Template)

How to Use the SEEN Feedback Model (+Template)

How am I doing at work? Where can I improve? Employees desperately want to know where they stand with their direct supervisor, but unfortunately for the majority, they’re not getting the feedback they want (or need!). In a 2023 study by Leapsome, they uncovered that 73% of employees want more feedback, and 79% of employees agreed that constructive feedback helps them be more productive.

Yet, many people leaders feel nervous instigating feedback conversations at work, especially when they have to give constructive feedback, as they’re worried it will erode their employees' motivation. Francesca Gino, a Professor at Harvard Business School, explains, “People overestimate the negative consequences of giving feedback for themselves, as well as underestimate the benefits for the other person.”

To overcome fears of delivering feedback at work, you must have a strategy and be prepared. To help you, in this article, you’ll learn the four-step process for preparing for a feedback conversation and try it out for yourself using the editable giving feedback template.

 

Have feedback for someone? Plan it out first using the Giving Effective  Feedback Template. >>

 

How Do You Prepare To Give Feedback?  

Before any feedback discussion, whether positive or negative, taking the time to reflect on the situation will ensure the feedback is clear, specific, and helpful. Using the SEEN feedback model, those giving feedback move through a systematic process of reflection, gathering examples, evaluating the impact, and creating action plans. The aim of preparing is to have a feedback conversation in a constructive, positive manner that emphasizes growth and accountability over criticism. 

 

The SEEN Feedback Model

The SEEN feedback model, created by the Niagara Institute, is a simple feedback planning process that uses an easy-to-remember acronym - SEEN. We chose this acronym because for feedback to be good, you must have witnessed or seen a behavior or action for yourself. The SEEN feedback model stands for Situation, Evidence, Effect, and Next Steps.

The goal of preparing to give feedback using this model is to clearly evaluate with evidence what happened, the results of those actions or behaviors, and whether those actions or behaviors will be reinforced or changed. Here is a breakdown of each step of the feedback planning process using the SEEN feedback model.

The SEEN Model for Giving Feedback in the Workplace - Niagara Institute

 

Situation

The first step in preparing to deliver feedback is reflection on the situation(s) you’ve witnessed. In this section, you’ll determine the behaviors or actions you want an individual to keep doing or the ones you want them to eliminate to improve a situation at work.

The key here is to be as specific as possible. Describe what you witnessed, what the individual said or did, and the impact (positive or negative) of their current behavior. Be sensitive in the language you choose. Using language that is vague or biased, like “poor cultural fit” and “negative attitude,” will make the receiver defensive. Instead, ensure your feedback is directly linked to a specific behavior you witnessed.



Evidence

Next, prepare your thoughts around specific incidents and examples of the behaviors you witnessed. The key here is you witnessed. Feedback must be seen; it cannot be hearsay.

Having clear and specific examples or data prepared will help the individual receiving the feedback understand what they should keep doing or what they need to do differently. When delivering your evidence in the feedback conversation, open up a dialogue by inviting the receiver to explain what happened from their perspective.



Effect

The third step in preparing your feedback is evaluating the impact or effect of the individual’s behaviors or actions. Organizing your thoughts on the impact solidifies for the individual why the feedback you’re delivering is important and worthwhile for them to acknowledge. The goal here is to be objective and supportive. Avoid exaggerations or hyperbolic statements like “You have to start over” or “You’re putting the company in jeopardy” to make a point.

For individuals to understand why changing or continuing a behavior is worthwhile, link your feedback to a precise impact on the business and them directly. When individuals have a direct line of sight of their actions to outcomes, they will be more willing to improve their behavior or amplify it if it is positive.



Next Steps

The final step in preparing your feedback is planning for growth and development. Here, in the case of constructive feedback, you’ll identify the alternative behaviors and actions you want to see. It’s best to work collaboratively with the individual to determine the new behaviors needed, as they will be more committed to changing and to the plan if they help develop it.

In addition, if training, coaching, or mentoring is needed to acquire the desired behaviors, in your conversation, you should be prepared with a few ideas of your own on how you can support their development.

In situations where the feedback is positive, come prepared with ideas to reinforce these behaviors to ensure they continue. Consider brainstorming different development opportunities to continue to support their strengths and grow their capabilities.


Preparing to Give Feedback Template

Now that you understand the steps for giving feedback using the SEEN feedback model, it’s time to try it out for yourself. Think of a recent situation at work where feedback was needed. Use the Giving Effective Feedback Template to collect and analyze your thoughts, working through steps one to four. By the end of the process, you’ll feel more confident and prepared to reinforce or redirect a behavior or action to improve a situation in the future.

Download Your Copy of the Giving Effective Feedback Template

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