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Regular, practical feedback is critical to employee growth and development. Feedback delivered in the right way can have a positive impact on the company through improved performance, increased employee engagement and increased trust.
Methods Of Providing Feedback To Employees
But constructive feedback still makes many of us uncomfortable. If your feedback is vague or too indirect, you risk confusing the person involved. And if it is too direct, it can come across as crude, destructive morality. Worse, giving feedback in the wrong way can make a person defensive and lead to embarrassment and confrontation.
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The secret to effective and empathetic feedback is recognizing that the point is to start an open conversation and help the person grow. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are five things to keep in mind to give useful feedback:
Make sure the employee is in the right place to receive feedback. This is especially important if your company does not have an established feedback culture.
To do this, just ask the person if they can discuss the situation or behavior you need to discuss. This helps avoid being caught off guard and gives the feedback recipient a sense of autonomy in the exchange.
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Help them understand the reasons for starting the conversation and what they can gain. The person receiving the feedback needs to know that it is well-intentioned, legitimate, and comes from a place of genuine concern.
Vague feedback that misses the "when" and "where" of the situation is ineffective; it can also be seen as judgmental and can make the receiver defensive.
Vagueness also creates a challenge for the host to incorporate feedback. Instead, describe what happened with specific examples and leave less room for interpretation.
🚀 Action: Follow the “4W” question model. This means that you need to specify who, what, when and where in your feedback, so that the recipient clearly understands what you mean.
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When you say what went well or didn't go well, it's crucial to avoid accusatory language, generalizations, and "you" statements.
You may not be aware of everything going on in your employee's life; so instead of saying, “You never show up for meetings,” start with, “I've noticed you've been late to our weekly meetings for the past few weeks. I was wondering if you could help me understand why you are late and if there is anything I can help you with (like rescheduling the meeting)?”
In doing so, you've made it clear that tardiness is not appreciated, but you've done it in an understanding and empathetic way that opens up the conversation – offering ways to solve the problem.
🚀 Action: Share your picture of an event or behavior and start sentences with the word "I". For example: "I believe", "I noticed" and "I feel".
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Give feedback by showing the recipient how you feel about the situation, rather than using accusatory language or generalizations
There's nothing worse than receiving feedback that doesn't give you tips for improvement. Follow the description of the situation and give practical suggestions on how the employee can improve.
For example, saying that you "need to give better presentations" will only leave the recipient confused and unsure. Instead, choose something like "to improve your presentation skills, focus on eye contact with the audience and speak more slowly."
🚀 Action: Show clear recommendations for next steps and ensure they are implemented within a specific timeframe.
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The feedback process is a two-way street and should be an engaging conversation – not a lecture. So, you end your feedback with questions that encourage discussion, such as:
This demonstrates your commitment to the development of your employees and creates an atmosphere of transparency and trust.
🚀 Action: Clarify the employee's understanding of the problem and ask follow-up questions to turn an otherwise intimidating process into an open conversation.
To make your feedback have an immediate impact, approach the situation with openness and empathy and end the session with a series of actionable suggestions for improvement.
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Constructive feedback is difficult to manage because it can easily trigger a stress reaction in the recipient. It is difficult for a stressed person to fully understand and absorb your message, and as a result, they feel unappreciated, misunderstood and less likely to improve their performance.
Would tomorrow afternoon be a good time to schedule a call with you to discuss some of my feedback?
It helps you build stronger relationships with your colleagues and team members and helps you grow as a leader in your company
, I get the feeling that you are not really engaged and that you seemed a bit busy. Can you shed some light on what's going on?"
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I understand that it's a busy time right now and you have a lot on your plate.
In order not to miss deadlines, I think it would be best to complete your tasks in order of urgency.
"I want to talk about something I noticed the other day when I was working with Matthias and Lara. Although the final presentation went smoothly, I noticed that he seemed a bit unsure about that part.
Sharing feedback is about much more than improving performance. It's about making your reports and colleagues feel valued and supported. The key to achieving this is:
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Constructive or positive feedback should not be reserved for performance reviews only. Implementing prompt feedback and praise practices fosters a culture of rapid improvement by ensuring employees receive frequent guidance and support.
For example, if you notice that a team member is struggling with their communication skills during a team project, it is much more beneficial to address the situation as soon as possible by arranging a face-to-face meeting or video call within a week. .
"[Because] by the time your quarterly performance review rolls around, you're dealing with a lot of issues that could have been avoided if they had been discussed earlier." — Judah Longgrear, co-founder and CEO of Nickelytics
A dynamic feedback culture creates an environment where employees actively work to support their colleagues and improve their own performance and skills.
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A people-enabled solution enables feedback and feedback on projects, goals and results, improving company culture and alignment.
Our platform allows you to share private and public feedback with anyone in your organization, help employees turn feedback into improvement, and access feedback analytics.
This way, you can use feedback to understand people, increase engagement, and clarify your most important goals.
Feedback plays a key role in guiding the direction and overall strategy of the company. It helps you have effective career development conversations with employees.
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For example, constructive feedback related to a company's onboarding process can become a goal to make onboarding smoother and more scalable. Or, with attention to detail, employee difficulties can be turned into training and guidance that helps professional development and performance improvement.
A bird's eye view of how feedback is processed or used to improve the workplace.
The "Feedback Sandwich" is an outdated feedback technique designed to soften the blow of constructive criticism.
This consists of opening the conversation with good feedback, then an actual constructive message and closing with another positive piece.
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However, this cookie-cutter approach often feels fake and affects the level of trust between managers and employees. Positive feedback is very important - but if it comes in a "sandwich" package, people will have a hard time believing the praise you give them.
Instead, opt for the "bruschetta" approach. Say what you need to say and mix the positive with the negative – all while focusing on growth.
⭐ Top tip: To make it easier for employees to implement, act on, and track feedback, consider including it as a personal development goal.
Effective feedback is a skill that, once developed, paves the way for both corporate and individual growth. In addition to improving performance, it aligns employee and company goals and keeps the business on track.
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So if you're concerned about developing that skill and building a culture, remember that people-enabling platforms like these are here to help you provide high-quality, actionable feedback without all the hassle.
🚀 Build a healthy and dynamic feedback culture with 🧰, which provides tools to increase employee engagement and improve performance! 👉 Book a demonstration
Written by the team at - an all-in-one people enablement platform that drives employee engagement, performance and learning.
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Feedback is a powerful tool for promoting employee engagement and is an essential part of performance management. But feedback doesn't have to be the formal annual review that many of us associate with practice. It can be done
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