#SHRM19 Speaker Spotlight: Brad Karsh, JB Solutions


I had an opportunity to visit with Brad Karsh of JB Solutions about his upcoming session at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference Exposition (#SHRM19), "Good, Bad and the Ugly: Creating a Culture of Feedback" session scheduled for Monday June 24, from 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. in Westgate Ballroom A.

Many organizations are moving away from annual evaluations and toward creating a company culture of ongoing, informal coaching and feedback. How do we make the transition so that employees embrace the feedback as feedback - and not criticism?

Annual performance reviews are becoming a trend of the past, as new generations demand constant communication: for instance, 60 percent of millennial employees want to hear from their manager at least once a day! The first step in making the transition is to build trust among your organization. Setting up a framework which prepares individuals for feedback discussions will help them build a common practice that can be repeated on a quarterly (or monthly, or weekly, or daily) basis.

Can giving feedback be a skill which is learned? What about receiving feedback? Do we need to coach and inform employees about how to receive the feedback? How can we do this?

Just like riding a bike, delivering feedback must be learned and practiced. The same goes for receiving feedback. Things can go sour if you use the wrong tone or chose the wrong setting. We see employees thrive when given the opportunity to practice, such as in a role-play situation in a workshop-style training. I’ll share some tools on how to foster these scenarios in my session!

It used to be recommended to give a "feedback sandwich" - layer the positive statements and sandwich them between the negative or constructive feedback....It is a way of giving feedback that goes like this: say something nice; then say the critical feedback – what you actually want to say; then say something nice again. Does this work? Why or why not?

Throw the feedback sandwich away! I personally don’t recommend this method, because the purpose of your conversation is buried in compliments and suddenly you walk away without having a concrete plan of action on your constructive feedback. It’s appropriate to give a small buffer of positive feedback, then state your intention for the conversation and jump right into it. 

Is there a one-size fits all approach or script to use when providing feedback? Why or why not?

While there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to a conversation, we do recommend planning out your conversation in advance. Jennifer Lee introduces my favorite tool – the 6S model - in her session “You Can’t Handle the Truth: Resolving Conflict” on Tuesday, June 25 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Westgate Ballroom C.

Is it possible to learn how to give effective feedback to drive positive organizational change? How can we as HR Professionals train our managers and staff? Or is it required that senior leadership (C-Suite) buy-in to the philosophy?

Establishing a culture of feedback where all employees are comfortable sharing positive and constructive feedback in the moment, is one of the most effective ways to drive organizational change. This direct feedback will provide the encouragement or course correction needed to ensure positive change is progressing in the right direction each and every day. With any organizational change, there will be challenges and obstacles, and it's the constant communication and feedback across all levels and employees that gets the organization through those roadblocks. The best way to instill this culture of feedback is for HR professionals and senior leadership to lead and model the way. If they are taking the time to deliver feedback, then their people see the value, and this trickles down to all employees - and that's when you see the ROI as positive change ripples throughout the organization.


Brad Karsh is CEO and Founder of JB Training Solutions, a company that simply makes work better for organizations throughout the world. Brad is the author of three business books including the critically acclaimed "Manager 3.0: A Millennial's Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management.” Brad travels the world speaking at major organizations including: Marriott, Google, Harvard University, Discover, and The Chicago Blackhawks, among many others. Brad is a SHRM fanatic and was rated No. 1 out of 214 speakers in 2016.



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