Effective feedback is a critical component of any business, and you must provide your employees with the tools to deliver excellent service. When something has been done well, let people know about it – they will appreciate the praise and recognition. It’s also helpful to tell managers what they are doing well to be passed on to their team. However, you must provide feedback when something hasn’t gone so well to achieve great things for your customers and the business.
Giving Effective Feedback That Helps Employees Improve
Giving effective feedback to employees is an integral part of a manager’s role. However, giving effective feedback that leads to positive change can be tricky. This post will explore some tips for giving effective feedback.
What sorts of things should we be factoring into our feedback?
Before considering how to give effective feedback, it is essential to consider what we aim to achieve through the process. For example:
Are you trying to inform employees about their performance relative to other staff members? What does being “the best” look like?
Are you encouraging employees to develop their skills or consider new career paths? How do they currently measure up against the needed competencies for development?
Are you trying to convey dissatisfaction with some area of an employee’s performance, perhaps due to their failure to meet deadlines or deliver results to a high standard? What would be an alternative that you would like to see instead?
Are you trying to inform employees about their performance relative to the organization’s goals, perhaps by providing feedback on the success or otherwise of their initiative?
Once we identify what we aim for, it is essential to consider what difference this feedback hopes to make. For example, if it hopes to influence employees’ performance, we must ask ourselves what constitutes effective feedback.
How might feedback become ineffective?
Negative tone – Feedback with a negative tone is rarely effective at achieving positive change. Managers can unintentionally adopt a negative tone either by using language or expressions that are harsh, aggressive, or condescending or by using facial expressions that are consistently disapproving.
Poor timing – Feedback given too frequently can become annoying, with employees feeling like they are being micromanaged. A rule of thumb is not giving feedback more than three times in an hour so the employee has time to absorb and act upon it. Once again, it is helpful to consider effective feedback in this situation.
Insufficient detail – Providing vague feedback such as “you did well” or “it was great to see you at the meeting” isn’t helpful and leaves the employee unclear about the behavior you would like them to develop. Instead, try using specific examples of effectiveness and how it could be improved next time.
The feedback isn’t timely – There can be a gap between when something happens and when feedback is helpful. If the behavior is no longer occurring, giving feedback would be ineffective.
Also Read – 10 Employee Recognition Ideas: Ultimate List
What might effective feedback look like?
Be timely – Ensure you give your feedback after the behavior has happened as soon as possible. As a general rule, feedback should not be given more than three hours after the event so it is still fresh in the employee’s mind.
Be specific – Vague statements such as “good job” or “well done” don’t provide enough information for employees to know whether they did the right thing or how they might improve.
Positive feedback – It is essential to provide positive feedback alongside constructive criticism. Hence, employees know what they are doing well, and it helps balance out negative feelings.
Focus on behavior – Is there a specific area where you want employees to improve? Or are you satisfied with the current performance but would like to encourage them to develop skills for the future?
Focus on impact – It is essential to consider how employees’ actions affect other individuals, teams, and the organization. Businesses should aim to give feedback that leads to positive change.
By following these guidelines, you are more likely to communicate the feedback in a helpful way for both parties.
Here are some ideas that should help you to give effective feedback
Gather information to identify areas for change or development
Identify and clarify the behaviors and results you want to achieve
Be specific about exactly what you want to happen and when and where it should be completed
Set out how progress will be measured
Agree with any consequences if the behavior continues or recurs
Allow employees to ask questions and get clarification
Offer praise for good work, and refer back to agreed goals
Follow up regularly on progress
Find yourself giving similar feedback repeatedly. It could be that your training isn’t reaching the target audience, there are no consequences for poor performance, or you are not asking your employees questions to get feedback on how it’s working.
Gaining effective feedback ideas
Ask an employee what they think of a new project you’ve initiated
Adopt some coaching techniques by asking open-ended questions to find out what is going on
Allow an employee to reflect on their performance by asking how they think they are doing against agreed goals
Ask employees how their work links in with that of others
Challenge employees about ways in which they can improve processes
Ask employees what they would do in a situation you have identified as problematic
Ask employees how they think the team is doing against the agreed goals
Welcome constructive criticism – if an employee has ideas for improvement, ask them what they would do if they were the leader of the team/department
Give employees regular opportunities to tell you about their progress and achievements
Offer employees the chance to give you feedback on your management style
Giving Effective Feedback lets employees know what they are doing and improve. Remember that constructive criticism doesn’t have to be negative – in fact, most people want to do a good job and will appreciate the chance to make improvements where needed.
Effective feedback helps you give positive results for your business and employees’ motivation levels. It enables more profound learning, develops trust between team members, builds rapport with management styles that support more profound understanding, assists in career development, and boosts staff engagement. Simply put, giving Effective Feedback makes the workplace happier for everyone.