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Inspire manager engagement through feedback

The Small Improvements solution

We intentionally designed the tool to be as user-friendly as possible. Proper training of the tool can be useful to managers. Here are some of the features you can highlight to ensure managers know how easy it is to get into the feedback loop with Small Improvements: 

Simplify conversations with Templates

Our platform comes with many pre-built templates that make it easy to start the feedback process. Instead of spending pre-meeting time wondering what to ask, managers can instead focus on building meaningful connections with their team members and providing the support they need.

If needed, these templates are highly customizable with different question types to allow managers to create specific feedback questions tailored to their team’s needs.

A great pre-built template managers can start off with is the Regular Check-in Template. It’s a template for weekly 1:1s to encourage consistency, tracking, and accountability. 

Create your own Templates

To support manager skill building, we strongly recommend using company templates for checking in with managers. Click here to start creating your own templates (If your account is in the EU, use this link).

Here are our example templates to use when checking in with managers:

Manager check-in

Purpose: Support managers and check-in on them on a regular basis


  • Quick updates: Discuss current projects and address any challenges
  • Manager’s well-Being: Inquire about their workload and stress levels. 
  • Team Dynamics: Summarize team performance and identify concerns related to team morale or conflicts.
  • Feedback Exchange: Provide an opportunity for the manager to share feedback about their team’s performance and needs.
  • Support and Resources: Discuss any support needed to enhance team performance.
  • Goal Setting: Collaborate on setting short-term goals and priorities.

Example questions:

  • How have recent projects been progressing within your team?
  • Are there any specific challenges you’re currently facing that we should address?
  • How are you feeling about your role’s responsibilities and workload?
  • Can you share any observations or concerns about team dynamics or collaboration?
  • What kind of support or resources would be helpful for you to achieve your team’s goals more effectively?

Peer feedback integration

Purpose: Facilitate the integration of peer feedback into performance discussions. 


  • Peer feedback review: Share insights from colleagues’ feedback and highlight recurring themes. 
  • Employee’s response: Encourage the manager to react to the feedback and provide their perspective. 
  • Strengths reinforcement: Discuss how the employee’s strengths can be further utilized and developed. 
  • Action plan: Collaborate on actionable steps based on the peer feedback to enhance performance.

Example questions

  • What are your thoughts on the feedback you received from your colleagues? 
  • Were there any points from the peer feedback that surprised you or provided new insights? 
  • How do you plan to leverage the positive aspects highlighted in the peer feedback? 
  • Are there any areas where you have a different perspective than what your peers mentioned?
  • What strategies can we implement to address the constructive feedback from your colleagues?

Feedback skill-building

Purpose: Help managers develop their feedback delivery skills. 


  • Feedback role-play: Practice giving constructive feedback in a simulated scenario.
  • Effective communication: Discuss techniques for framing feedback positively and empathetically. 
  • Handling reactions: Explore ways to manage different responses to feedback, both positive and challenging. 
  • Continuous improvement: Set goals for improving feedback delivery and agree on follow-up actions.

Example questions:

  • Let’s practice a feedback scenario: How would you deliver constructive feedback to a team member about missed deadlines? 
  • What strategies do you think can help frame feedback in a positive and empathetic manner?
  • How would you approach a situation where an employee becomes defensive or resistant to feedback?
  • Can you think of a real-life example where you effectively addressed a performance issue through feedback? 
  • What specific steps can you take to continually enhance your feedback delivery skills in the future?

Use Praise

It’s not obvious, but giving Praise can be an easy gateway to more feedback. 

When managers see their team members growing and achieving milestones, they should be able to give a pat on the back. Managers can acknowledge and reward employees based on their achievements, fostering a culture of praise and motivation.

Dive into the nuances of praise in our article Ready, set, praise

Holistic feedback with Peer Feedback

Our platform allows for peer feedback in our 360 Degree Feedback and Feedback Requests features. These tools enable managers to gather a comprehensive view of performance from different perspectives. 

360 Degree Feedback

This feature acts as a panoramic lens, enabling managers to view  performance from multiple angles. By soliciting feedback from colleagues, direct reports, and other stakeholders, managers gain insights that go above hierarchies. 

This broader perspective paints a more complete picture, allowing managers to recognize strengths, identify areas for growth, and tailor their guidance and development accordingly.

For more information behind the power of 360s for managers, take a look at our article on How leaders can get the most out of 360-degree feedback.

Feedback Requests

Our platform facilitates more informal feedback outside of formal processes through Anytime Feedback Requests. Managers can initiate this process, inviting team members to provide input on specific projects, initiatives, or skills. 

This approach not only encourages open dialogue, but also cultivates a sense of shared responsibility. By actively seeking peer feedback, managers create an environment where diverse viewpoints contribute to individual and collective success.

Need some additional help? 

Build habits with Automations: 1:1s and Reminders

Automated 1:1 Meetings

To reinforce the importance of frequent communication, managers can set up automated check-ins with their reports. Automated 1:1s can be set up by both managers and HR admins.

More meetings mean more support and guidance, leading to improved alignment and happier teams. Reports can look forward to a consistent space for ongoing feedback, progress updates, and addressing any concerns. This also takes planning and scheduling out of the equation, making it easier to form long-term feedback habits.

Want more information on how to set up Automated 1:1s? Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Automated Reminders

As an HR admin, you can nudge positive Managerial behaviors with the help of Automated Reminders.

Here are some ideas to encourage managerial behavior:

  • Reminders for managers to give feedback: Set up an Automated Reminder to prompt managers to share feedback with their team members. Regular reminders ensure that feedback is not overlooked and becomes an integral part of the team’s communication. 
  • Reminders for managers to conduct regular 1:1s: Consistent and effective meetings are simple with Small Improvements. Remind managers that regular alignment is an important part of their role.
  • Reminders for Praise: Acknowledging and recognizing employee achievements is vital for motivation and engagement. Encourage managers to share positive feedback and praise for their team members’ exceptional work.

Want to learn more about Automated Reminders? Learn how to Cultivate feedback habits with Automated Reminders.

Things to keep in mind

Meeting frequency

People are creatures of habit. We recommend a weekly or bi-weekly check-in with every report. This creates a stable expectation of a space where reports can address issues promptly, acknowledge achievements, and maintain a strong feedback loop. 

Anonymized vs. visible feedback

Managers have the option to choose between anonymous or visible feedback on the Small Improvements platform. There’s a lot of discussion around what type of feedback truly encourages a healthy feedback culture. We encourage you to read up on some of the viewpoints and find out what best suits your organization’s needs. 

Find out which type of feedback works best for your organization in our article on Transparent vs. anonymous feedback: Which should you choose?

Managerial training: Managers need to learn too

Outside of the platform, there are other factors that will affect how readily managers champion feedback culture at your org. As mentioned in the previous sections, some managers simply shy away from feedback due to fear of it backfiring or underdeveloped communication skills. 

As your organization’s HR go-to, it’s important to recognize when particular knowledge and skills are needed. In doing so, you can take the next steps into bridging that gap. 

Once you’re aware of any areas for improvement, consider opportunities for education and training. There are plenty of workshops, coaches, and courses that cover feedback topics on a much deeper level and offer participants a chance to practice and gain confidence in those skills. 

Here are the topics that we believe will help unprepared managers take charge of feedback: 

Radical candor vs ruinous empathy

We emphasize the significance of radical candor – a direct and honest approach to feedback – while also raising awareness about the potential pitfalls of ruinous empathy, which can hinder constructive conversations.

Non-violent communication

People have an automatic fear around critical feedback. Even with the best intentions, poor communication can hurt feelings, shame, and ultimately, resistance. 

So, how can you ensure managers deliver critical feedback to get the best results for everyone involved? Nonviolent communication techniques can help you make sure that you are providing the most effective critiques.

To learn more about NVC, take a look at our article on Nonviolent feedback: How to criticize without hurting feelings.

Updated on August 21, 2023

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