Feedback is the most cost-effective, yet most under-utilized management tool that any organization have at its disposal. Feedback serves as a guide to get employees back on track, and as a way to suggest improvements in the process or the work they do.
There are many benefits to giving feedback. When employee feedback is given regularly, it improves the level of trust and communication between employees and managers. It also fosters regular interactions, which helps to build a stronger relationship as well. With a stronger bond, it improves the level of employee engagement, and thus the productivity levels of employees as well.
Delivering feedback might be scary, but it need not be. Here are 7 ways you can provide employee feedback to your team:
1. Be Specific
Feedback has to be solutions oriented and specific in order to be constructive for your employees. General comments such as “Your work needs to be improved” does not give any idea to what aspect of their work that needs to be corrected. This will only confuse your employees.
Instead, go straight to the point on areas your employees can improve on. For example, “I noticed you were struggling to hit deadlines last week. I would like to work with you on your time management so that you can complete your tasks in a timely manner this week.”
In this case, you are providing your employee guidance on areas they need to work on. Your employee will be able to apply your feedback more readily as they are now aware on what needs to be corrected.
Delivering feedback requires sensitivity. When done harshly or in a nonconstructive way, it only elicits negative emotions and results in more resistance from employees. Instead, empathize with your employees. Understand why they made the mistakes and find ways to help them if possible.
As a leader, it is important to give feedback effectively to inspire and motivate, and consider employees’ feelings when making decisions. Employees will be more receptive to your feedback, and be motivated do their best. This helps to cultivate positive change and engagement in your workplace.
3. Time it Right
Giving an employee feedback immediately after an event has the greatest impact on performance. Feedback are more effective as the event or issue is still fresh in both parties’ memory. This also prevents problems from stacking up and leaving it unaddressed until the next quarterly performance review comes around.
In addition, addressing it immediately also makes tracking and analyzing employees’ work much easier. Feedback becomes more valuable as changes can be made right away after the timely feedback.
4. Keep it Private
When it comes to feedback, it is important to keep it private. Employee feedback should always be given on a one-to-one basis in a place where there are no interruptions. This way, employees can really listen and understand the feedback given to them.
In addition, negative feedback might be uncomfortable to give and receive, hence keeping it private helps to reduce some of the pressure for both parties. Likewise, for positive feedback; some employees might not like to be in the center of attention, hence it is better to give it in private.
5. Ditch the “Sandwich Approach”
This approach is a technique used to cushion the blow of delivering negative feedback. It works by slipping a criticism in between two compliments. While it may sound easier to deliver negative feedback to employees, it does not work well.
It reduces the value of the positive feedback given, and decreases the level of trust that employees have as well. It is better to be authentic and deliver the negative feedback directly, this builds trust and honesty in the workplace.
6. Feedback According to Needs of Employees
As a leader, it is important to understand the type of feedback to give your employees, as feedback have an effect on employees’ well-being and their productivity. Positive feedback provides encouragement to employees who may lack confidence when starting a new project or learning a new skill.
On the other hand, negative feedback is more effective for employees with greater expertise in an area or skill. In this case, negative feedback helps them to improve themselves, while positive feedback does not help in providing value to their progress. Hence, it is crucial to give feedback according to the needs of your employees.
7. Follow up Feedback with Evaluation
After providing employee feedback, it is important to follow up with them and show appreciation when you see improvements along the way. This shows that you care about their success, and it helps motivate them to do their best.
When employees feel appreciated and cared for, they will take feedback more seriously and strive to improve themselves readily. This kick starts a positive change among employees and ripples throughout the organization.