To Avoid Giving Workers Anxiety, Corporate-Speak Is Replacing  ‘Feedback’ With ‘Feedforward’ 

woman presenting at whiteboard

Corporate-speak can sometimes go beyond even Orwell’s nightmares of doublethink and doublespeak, and this report proves it once again

A new concept called ‘feedforward’ is set to replace ‘feedback’ in corporate lingo, as workers, particularly younger Gen Z employees consider ‘feedback’ too harsh of a term.

A new report from WSJ shows multiple companies who have adapted ‘feedforward’ instead of ‘feedback’ in order to minimize employees’ anxiety, also pointing out some other versions.

From the report:

“At Microsoft, managers are encouraged to use the word “perspectives” instead of traditional feedback, according to current and former employees. Reviews, meanwhile, have been branded as “connect” conversations. 

The company also recently stopped including anonymous comments from peers in employee reviews, instead showing the names of the colleagues in question… 

Jennifer Solomon-Baum, a former Microsoft marketing director who left early this year, says she understands why the company chose to rethink its approach to feedback, which she feels may have made employees more open to giving feedback. On the other hand, she says Microsoft’s recent decision to put an end to anonymous peer feedback in reviews completely backfired. In the wake of the change, “we didn’t get the richness of constructive criticism,” says Solomon-Baum, who is now consulting and leading marketing for a new ballet company in Los Angeles. “It became a praise festival.”

According to the HR specialists quoted in the report, the younger employees support rebranding ‘feedback’. The HR specialists said that the reason for it is that the young entered the workforce post-pandemic, when expectations became more lax, and were accustomed to the less stringent grading in college due to remote classes, all of which means they are more sensitive to the concept of feedback or criticism.

Also read: Will Bots and AI in Employee Platforms Change the Way We Work

Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay

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