How to Use the STAR Model to Provide Feedback

Jun 26, 2017


Giving feedback to employees is a delicate matter – especially if you need to deal with problems. It is important to give criticism in a constructive way to ensure that employees aren`t demotivated, but are still made aware of issues or mistakes that have been made.

The way that feedback is being given is changing. Businesses are seeing more value in working and discussing issues together in a more relaxed atmosphere, rather than the more formal performance review scenarios.

STAR Feedback

The STAR feedback model is a great way to give valuable feedback, and it allows managers to give examples of specific situations where an employee has performed in a particular way. STAR stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

When an employer is giving feedback of a situation or number of situations, the STAR model for feedback involves breaking it down into these four categories.

Situation or Task

Start off by describing the particular situation or task that was appointed to the employee. Try to be as specific as possible, for example, instead of writing “Did an excellent job…”, write something like “We had a customer complaining about bad service”, or “We were down on our monthly sales figures”.


The STAR feedback method then involves writing down the action that the employee took – either positive or negative. Once again, try to be as specific as possible – avoid phrases like “sorted it out” or “messed up” and go with details such as “calmed the customer down by listening and offering a discount” or “didn`t manage to make the extra sales”. The highlighting of these actions makes it clear what was done and can help employees to correct mistakes or understand how they did the right thing.


The final stage of the STAR feedback model is the result – where you can specify the direct result of the action. Try to avoid phrases like “resolved the problem” and be more specific like “Having calmed the customer down, he still made the sale”.

With and Without the STAR System

Using the STAR system changes a phrase from:

“Jessica dealt well with a customer complaint – well done Jessica!”


“We had a customer complaining about bad service, but Jessica calmed him down by listening and offering a discount, and still made the sale – well done Jessica!”


“Sandra upset the customer.”


“When a new customer came into the shop, Sandra ignored them on a number of occasions so the customer walked out.”

STAR Feedback and 360 Degree Feedback

STAR feedback works well with 360 degree feedback because it is received (usually anonymously and confidentially) from the people around an employee – usually managers and peers.

The main advantages of a 360 degree appraisal are that businesses can get an honest idea of the strengths and weaknesses of an employee – both helping the employee to improve and helping managers in their employee reviews. Other advantages of the 360 degree appraisal are that it is cost effective compared to other methods and is an excellent way to help employees to develop their career in the direction that is best for them.

360 degree feedback is democratic in that it allows everyone who is working with a particular employee to give their opinion about situations that matter to them, diminishes the effects of personal grudges or favouritism and gives a good analysis of the needs of employees. Managers can`t always see everything that happens in the workplace and 360 feedback allows other employees to be their eyes and ears.

By incorporating the STAR feedback model into 360 degree feedback, companies can ensure that the information that they are receiving is useful and constructive – regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

There are many advantages to using the 360 degree appraisal with STAR feedback model for businesses, and we can make it easier and more cost effective.

For more information on our 360 degree feedback, get in touch or take a product tour.