If we told you that feedback is a skill that needs to be learned, would you believe us? Truth is, it is! Giving proper feedback implies being detailed and specific. And it also means being resourceful and helpful towards the person receiving feedback. Ideally, your feedback should be specific, clear, and offer good reasoning on why the behavior or action should be improved. And that’s why you should implement the SBI feedback model for a good feedback culture!

Now you may ask: what’s the SBI feedback model? Well, we’re here to explain everything about it and how to use it to give effective feedback.

The SBI Feedback model

The SBI feedback model is an approach to giving feedback. It breaks down feedback to make it more specific and descriptive, and therefore ease the employee improvement process. The SBI feedback model consequently makes feedback more effective.

SBI feedback is broken down into 3 parts:

  1. The Situation: Time and place where the action happened.
  2. The Behavior: The actions we’re giving feedback for.
  3. The Impact: The ways in which the behavior impacts us, the team, or the organization.

The Situation

When giving feedback using the SBI feedback model, firstly we need to set the context. This means defining exactly when and where the situation happened so the person has a clear understanding and can visualize it. Be as specific as possible!  We’re only focusing on facts here.

  • “During yesterday’s team meeting…”
  • “When you analyzed the results…”
  • “When you spoke to the client…”

The Behavior

After setting the context, we need to describe the behavior we are giving feedback for. We should only communicate the behaviors that we perceive directly, and not make assumptions as to why or how they happened.

For example, if someone doesn’t know how to answer a question during a presentation, don’t assume they didn’t prepare.

  • “During yesterday’s team meeting, I noticed your calculations for the social media report were incorrect.”
  • “When you analyzed the results, I saw your predictions were unrealistic.” 
  • “When you spoke to the client, you weren’t able to respond to their questions about the marketing expectations.”

The Impact

The final step in the SBI feedback model is describing how the behavior has impacted their colleagues, the team or the organization. We recommend you use statements with “I” or “We” to make your point.

  • “During yesterday’s team meeting, I noticed your calculations for the social media report were incorrect. This meant the full department results were inaccurate. I’m afraid not having the right numbers might delay the project.”
  • “When you analyzed the results, I saw your predictions were unrealistic. This could give false hope to the client and therefore cause disappointment if the results don’t go as expected.”
  • “When you spoke to the client, you weren’t able to respond to their questions about the marketing expectations. It could damage our reputation and give our client the idea that we don’t know what we’re doing.”
2 employees discuss feedback through videocall.

How to give feedback with the SBI feedback model

The SBI feedback model helps you deliver more effective feedback by explaining the situation clearly. In this case, the employee will understand what went wrong and the impact they had on the team, which eases the process of improvement.

Here’s an example: You’re Head of HR. During the morning meeting, you notice your report giving inaccurate feedback about a candidate to the Hiring Manager. What could this mean? The Manager won’t have all the necessary information to understand whether the candidate has potential, which could consequently hinder the hiring decision.

So, how do we approach this situation using the SBI feedback model?

  • “During our morning meeting, I noticed the feedback you gave the Hiring Manager wasn’t accurate. I’m afraid this could hinder the hiring process as the manager won’t have all the information to decide whether the candidate has potential.”

Here, the Situation (“our morning meeting”) places your employee in the right context, and then the Behavior (“the feedback you gave the hiring manager wasn’t accurate”) lets them know what went wrong. Finally, the Impact (“this could hinder the hiring process”) helps them understand the impact their actions have, and motivates them to improve.

Why use the SBI feedback model?

Surely you’ve found yourself at times receiving feedback you don’t understand what to do with. For example, your manager tells you they didn’t like or agree with something. However, you can’t see the situation from their perspective so you don’t understand the impact or the reasons why they don’t agree. And so, you don’t know what you can do to improve or change your actions. Well, the same happens to your employees!

Another example: you gave your report feedback two weeks ago, but you haven’t noticed any improvement. Could it be because the feedback wasn’t clear, or they don’t understand how to improve?

And so, that’s why the SBI feedback model was created: it forces us to be more specific and clear in our feedback delivery. With a clearer understanding of the impact of their actions, your employees will feel more motivated to improve. Besides, the SBI feedback model also gives a push for the employee to ask for help if needed, or the manager to offer assistance or advice. 

Finally, the SBI feedback model also avoids conflict by maintaining emotional intelligence. When there’s a clear understanding of the actions that happened and the impact they’ve had in others, there is no room for subjectivity. The model focuses on finding a positive solution that works for everyone involved.

2 employees sit outside and discuss feedback on their laptop.

Create a feedback culture that works for you

So, are you already thinking about incorporating the SBI feedback model into your workplace? Build your feedback culture around this model and you will quickly see amazing results. By offering options to understand each other’s perspectives, feedback will become easier, and eventually a habit. And that’s how you create a great feedback culture!

You can also use the SBI feedback model to give employee recognition! Using the same steps, find a situation where your employee excelled and make their day. Remember: positive feedback is as important as constructive feedback.

The better your employees’ understanding of feedback is, the better your team will work together. So why not incorporate feedback into your day to day? Implement regular feedback loops and weekly recognition processes with Nailted. Book a demo with one of our experts so your team can help each other grow!