Shobha Tahilramani, Life Coach & HR Consultant in OD space

Shobha Tahilramani, Life Coach & HR Consultant in OD space

Shobha is a Life Coach & HR Consultant. She’s been in the field of HR for 25+ years and has done work across diverse industries – from IT to Manufacturing; Indian to MNCs; HR Business Partner to CHRO; Talent Management to HR Business Strategy. Her Corporate journey with organizations viz. Patni Computers, Rieter, Hella, NTL, and Siegwerk have enriched her experience in a multicultural environment which has widened her understanding of different segments of People and Business. Her passion to bring out the best in people gives meaning to her life.

She has done her MBA in HR & Marketing; a Coach from ICF & ICHARS, and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner Licensed by Dr. Richard Bandler (co-creator of NLP).

As a Life Coach, she mentors Young Entrepreneurs; Corporate Professionals, and People looking for happiness and Mental Wellbeing. Her coaching process is a combination of Cognitive, Hypnosis, and NLP. 100% of her clients have achieved their desired goal through my coaching and mentoring and have taken away thought-provoking yet actionable insights with them which are helping them achieve their greatest breakthroughs.

As an HR Consultant, she works on specialized HR Projects for Organizations, which include:  Organization Design, Selection & Interview – N-2 and above level, Designing HR Policies & Processes, Competency Mapping for Roles, Performance Management, Retention Interview to name a few.

In this Interview, Shobha shares her views on the impact of feedback in an organization:

What is your view on documenting/recording the feedback process as a part of an organization?

a. The first and utmost important is to have a transparent feedback process in place which can be followed by the Individual development plan.

b. If an organisation’s People Capability Maturity is high then in my opinion documenting/recording the feedback process does not hold very high value rather it may create mistrust in the mind of the employee.

c. Documentation of the feedback process may be required only in the cases where the Manager is putting someone under PIP (Performance Improvement Plan).  Only in such cases the documented feedback and further roadmap are agreed upon and signed by both the parties in presence of the HR representative.

What are the key identification points for good or effective feedback and bad or ineffective feedback?

a. Key Identification Points for a Good/Effective Feedback

  • Feedback should be honest
  • It should be timely, if something has happened today and if we are giving feedback after 5 months – it loses its importance
  • Feedback should be objective and supported by real examples and context
  • It should be goal-oriented – the receiver should know what action s/he should take or what is expected from him/her
  • Feedback should be focused on the future, which means we are looking for improvements/changes for the future.
  • Feedback should be based on the action/process and not on the person

b. Key Identification Points for a Bad/Ineffective Feedback

  •  Too many messages – all subjective
  •  Unclear – without defining the purpose
  • Poor timing/or location
  • Lack of respect for the other person
  • One way communication
  • Global information – not candid feedback

What are some ways to ensure that post feedback, negative feelings like vulnerability or frustration do not set in among the givers and receivers of feedback, in an organization?

  • Once a manager completes the feedback process with his subordinate, he should invite the subordinate for his/her turn to provide feedback to the manager, this is the first step.
  • Manager and subordinate should meet again after a week in an informal atmosphere for a cup of coffee or outside the office to chat, if there are any negative emotions left then that will come out in an informal chat and can be settled.
  • The idea is to have an open and transparent heart to heart communication.

What are some ways that you think we can ensure that past bias does not impact the quality of feedback?

First of all, if the performance management system has been designed focussing on the objectivity of the performance and value system of the organisation then a lot of biases can be handled at the design level.

  1. The performance review system should be designed based on the competency model of the role, it will cover all the functional and behavioural competencies required for the role.
  2. All the ratings and feedback are to be given based on the performance in each listed competency, also the facts/data to be supported for the given rating.
  3. The performance review should be done quarterly so that it is fresh in the mind of managers and subordinates and it can help to give proper feedback based on the facts.
  4. Every time there should be a refresher/orientation to be done for employees so everyone is well aware of the system and some ground principles.
  5. To remove any further biases, it will be good if HR can be involved at the time of feedback for high rates/low rates.

How should negative/critical feedback be approached in an organization? Any best practices that you would like to share.

Authentic feedback plays a very important role to create the right culture of an organization. Any feedback if it is an honest feedback (negative/positive) helps to grow the individual at a personal and professional level. Generally, people are receptive to the positive feedback but sometimes for a few people, it is difficult to take the negative feedback.

The best practice for sharing the critical feedback is simple and it works amazingly well in any organization –

  1. Prepare yourself wrt to the details/facts/data before the meeting
  2. Make a person comfortable first. 
  3. The next step is that ‘to ask’ the employee on the topic/area how s/he feels about her/his performance on that specific subject/task.
  4. Once you understand the person’s feelings on the specific task/behaviour, you want to give critical feedback, now ask what has s/he done to achieve that and why s/he has taken those steps to achieve what they have achieved.
  5. Listen very carefully and make important notes. Give enough time to the other person to complete his part.
  6. Now it is your turn, based on the notes you have taken and the facts you already have for feedback – please specify one by one objectively (given examples/share details) which supports your feedback
  7. After you complete giving him/her the feedback – please ask again if they have to say anything on that.
  8. In the whole process, you should be in your Adult Ego State which will help you to gather factual information and can increase your potential for success.
  9. If we try the above steps in our feedback process, that will definitely help the person to understand it and s/he will act on the feedback positively.

What are the key questions that an organization must ask its employees to get honest feedback about itself?

It depends on what an organization would like to achieve and why. If that is clear then it is easy to prepare the questionnaire.  For example – if an organization’s focus is to know about the culture then they can ask the following questions (open-ended) –

  1. On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend a job to your friends and colleagues due to the culture?
  2. Are you comfortable with your workplace culture? If yes, Why?
  3. Do you feel respected by your team and the organization?
  4. Does your manager provide you with timely feedback about your work?
  5. How would you characterize this organization’s management style?
  6. Do you understand how your work impacts the organization’s business goals?
  7. Are you satisfied with the overall job security in the organization?
  8. Does your organization have a safe working environment for all the employees?
  9. Does your manager/supervisor share decision-making power with you?
  10. Are you satisfied with the way performance reviews are conducted in the organization?