The AIM model provides three different types of feedback that are applied to our performance target.

A  is for Acknowledgement. I  is for Improvement. M  is for Measurement.

AIM Performance Feedback Target

Each type of feedbackhas a specific use. A key for their use is to ensure that you use the correct type of feedback in a given situation. A common error in the feedback process is to provide the wrong type of feedback to a given situation. When this occurs our intentions are usually good, but the outcome is not.

A is for Acknowledgement

This is feedback that is based mostly in positive feedback, expression, and emotions. The purpose is to build relationships, human connection, and personal satisfaction. This type of feedback includes but is not limited to:

  • Encouragement, validation, and support
  • Appreciation, gratitude, and thanks
  • Connection, acceptance, and belonging
  • Complements, recognition, and honoring
  • Being fully present, aware, and responsive
  • “Good Catches”

The Case for Acknowledgment

  1. Acknowledged employees are more likely to be engaged employees.

– Achiever, Recognition to the Rescue. 2013.

  1. Acknowledged employees have higher job satisfaction

– Globoforce, The Value of Thanking Employees.  2012.

  1. Acknowledged and engaged employees lead to 2.5 higher revenue growth rates than employees who are not acknowledged and engaged.

– Hay group Insight (2009). Engaging and Enabling Employees to Improve Performance Outcomes

  1. Highly Engaged employees saw significantly lower turnover (25% in high turnover organizations, 65% in low-turnover organizations), shrinkage (28%), and absenteeism (37%) and fewer safety incidents (48%), patient safety incidents (41%), and quality defects (41%).

– Gallup Releases New Insights on the State of the Global Workplace. (2013).


I is For Improvement

The purpose of Improvement feedback is to improve our day-to-day work. It can be directed at job duties, attitudes, skills, habits, talents, behaviors, and interactions. It is aimed at learning, growing, improving or changing to meet our job expectations. Improvement includes but is not limited to:

  • Tweaks to redirect efforts
  • Recommendations and suggestions for improvement
  • Nice to do, need to do, must do priorities

As employees, we are accountable to provide feedback to each other. This includes giving feedback to peers, leaders, and direct reports we encounter. Improvement feedback is usually based upon things that we directly observe (for example, a quality error) or things that we put together based on our experiences (I think something must be going on since this person is coming in late often). There are certain situations that require the feedback to be provided by the direct manager instead of a peer.

The Case for Improvement

  1. Employees who receive coaching show a significant increase in job performance.

– Achievers, Great Managers are Great Coaches. 2012.

  1. 65% of Employees feel that they don’t get enough feedback at work from their managers.

– Rypple, The Feedback Gap. 2011.


M is for Measurement

This is feedback that is quantitative by nature. It is based in data, evaluation, examples, reports, goals, and interpretation. First, we set expectations. Then we provide on-going feedback. Then the capstone of this process is the year-end evaluation. It is critical to understand the feedback delivered during a year-end evaluation shouldn’t be the first time an associate is hearing it.

1st Step:  Setting Expectations Discussion:

  • Specify results that need to be achieved
  • Specify the behaviors that should be demonstrated in order to achieve results
  • Identify tracking methods you will use to monitor progress
  • Agree on when you will review progress

2nd Step:  Ongoing Tracking and Feedback:

  • Track performance relative to the plan
  • Provide balanced feedback (either informally or in scheduled interim discussions)

3rd Step: Reviewing Progress Discussion:

  • Formal Review of progress for the entire performance period

The Case for Measurement

  1. 70% of Employees say managers do not provide clear goals or directions and performance expectations are not clearly defined.

– Reviewsnap, Employee Performance Reviews: Bridging the Gap. 2014.

  1. 70% of employees feel that reviews should help them develop and grow in their careers.

– Globoforce, The Startling Truth about Performance Reviews. 2013


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