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Demystifying the Performance, Development & Feedback (PDF) Process

Growth is a fundamental human need, and many employees look to their work and careers to fulfill this need. In light of this, Qualtrics is committed to empowering every single employee to experience career-defining growth and development, perform at their peak, and find new ways to make a lasting impact everyday. This means not only enabling people to be successful in the jobs they were hired for, but also investing in their long-term growth so they have the skills they need to be successful throughout their entire careers.

So how do we do this? One way is by ensuring that each person is getting the frequent, actionable feedback they need to accelerate their impact and growth through our formal Performance, Development and Feedback (or PDF) process. The PDF process aims to assess, recognize, reward, and support the performance and ongoing development of our people in a way that is fair and equitable for all.

"I've used Feedback 360s with my team to support their growth and development. It's really empowered them to seek out multiple perspectives beyond me as their manager. By doing that it's really helped their self-awareness as well as also neutralizing the sting that critical feedback can have. Working with their manager it feels like it's more in service to them and useful.” –Mary-Kate Ryan


Just like the name suggests, there are three essential components to the Performance, Development and Feedback process. The first is performance, which includes a formal review of not only what each person delivered over the last six months (project deliverables, results, outcomes, etc.), but also how they performed (or the methods and behaviors they demonstrated along the way – how they regularly demonstrated our company values and leadership guidelines). These formal performance reviews are one part of an ongoing conversation between our people and their managers, where each person gives and receives specific, actionable feedback that establishes explicit expectations and provides clarity around which behaviors they should continue and where they should focus on improving.


Next is development, which goes beyond preparation for formal promotions to focus on ongoing broader conversations about each persons’ career aspirations and ways to learn, grow, and stretch in their current role so they can make tangible progress each and every day. Professional growth and career development is core to the Qualtrics employee experience and each person is encouraged to continually collaborate with their manager and others across the company so they can find new ways to grow, contribute, build skills and expand their potential for future impact.


Last, and maybe most importantly, is feedback, which is an integral part of both performance and development and serves as the common thread that ties the whole process together. Feedback should be given and requested regularly, focused on specific behaviors, and should help people know exactly what they should do more of, or stop doing, in order to improve their performance, grow personally, develop professionally, and amplify their impact. To make this easier, we offer the opportunity during the PDF process for each employee to participate in a Feedback 360. This allows them to spend some time reflecting on their own areas of strength and development needs, and get vital feedback from leaders and colleagues in order to identify blindspots and behaviors they may not have recognized as strengths on their own.

“Having the opportunity to receive regular feedback from stakeholders across different roles, departments and locations provided me with a holistic understanding of my impact and the value that I bring to Qualtrics! Feedback 360 gave me a clear direction towards opportunities for growth which has been invaluable for my development and promotion preparation/career progression.” – Lucy Chen

Together, the three components of the PDF process work to ensure that each person can make meaningful contributions to the collective success of Qualtrics while also accelerating their individual growth, development, and impact. 

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