What Is The Difference Between Formal And Informal Subordinate Feedback?

Formal vs Informal Subordinate Feedback

Brief Overview:

Formal subordinate feedback refers to structured feedback processes within an organization, such as performance reviews or 360-degree assessments. Informal subordinate feedback, on the other hand, is more casual and spontaneous, often occurring in day-to-day interactions between employees.

5 Supporting Facts:

  1. Formal subordinate feedback is typically scheduled and documented, providing a formal record of performance discussions.
  2. Informal subordinate feedback is more immediate and can be given in real-time, allowing for timely adjustments and improvements.
  3. Formal feedback often involves specific criteria and performance metrics, while informal feedback may be more subjective and based on personal observations.
  4. Formal feedback is usually conducted by supervisors or HR professionals, while informal feedback can come from peers, subordinates, or even customers.
  5. Both formal and informal feedback are valuable for employee development and performance improvement, but they serve different purposes and should be used in conjunction with each other.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are some examples of formal subordinate feedback?

Examples of formal subordinate feedback include annual performance reviews, 360-degree assessments, and goal-setting meetings.

2. How is informal subordinate feedback different from formal feedback?

Informal subordinate feedback is more spontaneous and can occur at any time, while formal feedback is usually scheduled and documented.

3. Who typically provides formal subordinate feedback?

Formal subordinate feedback is usually provided by supervisors, HR professionals, or other designated individuals within the organization.

4. Can informal subordinate feedback be just as effective as formal feedback?

Yes, informal subordinate feedback can be just as effective, if not more so, as it allows for immediate adjustments and improvements.

5. How can organizations encourage more informal subordinate feedback?

Organizations can encourage informal subordinate feedback by fostering a culture of open communication, providing training on giving and receiving feedback, and recognizing and rewarding feedback-giving behaviors.

6. What are the benefits of combining formal and informal subordinate feedback?

Combining formal and informal subordinate feedback allows for a more comprehensive view of an employee’s performance, leading to more targeted development plans and improved overall performance.

7. How can organizations ensure that formal subordinate feedback is effective?

Organizations can ensure that formal subordinate feedback is effective by setting clear expectations, providing training for supervisors on giving feedback, and following up on feedback discussions with actionable steps for improvement.


Both formal and informal subordinate feedback play important roles in employee development and performance improvement. While formal feedback provides structure and documentation, informal feedback allows for real-time adjustments and personalized insights. Organizations should utilize both types of feedback to create a well-rounded approach to employee feedback and development.

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