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How to Give Valuable, Effective and Constructive Feedback to Employees

Jill Wells

Did you know that 85 percent of employees take more initiative when they receive feedback in the workplace? When you pair that with the fact that 65 percent of employees actually want to receive feedback, it is easy to see why it is important to provide this in your business.

Providing employee feedback is not always easy, especially if there are negative issues to address. So how can you provide effective employee feedback?

Let us look a bit closer at some strategies that can help to ensure you know how to give constructive feedback.

How to Give Constructive Feedback: Be Problem-Focused and Specific

When you assume the employee knows what the issue is and why it is an issue, you are doing them a disservice. As this Seek article states, the employee may not have all of the facts of why their actions are causing a problem.

You want to give them an idea of why their actions are not helping the business and how they may be affecting you and other people. When you are specific and offer concrete examples, it will be easier for the employee to correct the issue.

Keep It Professional for Effective Employee Feedback

It can be tough to keep a cool head when an employee error may have cost you a sale or may have lost you a client, but it is essential that you offer feedback in a professional manner. You do not want to bring emotions to the table.

Never criticise an employee in public because it can be humiliating for them and can make it personal when you want to keep things professional. Never offer feedback when you are angry, but wait until you have an intellectual grip on the situation and can speak about it without outward displays of emotion.

When you offer feedback, stick to facts and not feelings. If you have an employee who is always missing deadlines, you do not want to focus on your frustration but on how it is negatively impacting the business.

Situational Conversations for Employee Feedback

When you offer feedback, you want to have a situational conversation and avoid mentioning the employee’s personal positive or negative attributes. When you centre the conversation on individual traits, the employee is likelier to get on the defensive and feel it is an attack on them.

Focus on the specific issue, instead.

Balance Negative Feedback With Positive Feedback

You want to make sure morale stays high among your employees. If you are only reaching out to them to criticise, morale suffers. Make a point of offering praise when appropriate.

During the actual feedback session, you want to also balance the negative with the positive. You need to reassure the employee you have not lost perspective on their job performance but that you have specific things you would like them to improve. Be sure not to overemphasise the positive, however, because it can make you appear insincere.

Give Feedback in Person

Sending feedback through an email or text can leave employees with more questions. You also want to give them the opportunity to ask for more information and that is easier when face-to-face. Since body language and tone can also communicate a lot, you do not want to send a cold and formal message when you can speak in person.

Do Not Wait for a Quarterly Review

If a situation has impacted the performance of the employee, negatively or positively, you want to address it right after it happens. When issues are not addressed, they tend to happen again and it can mean having lots of problems to address when the quarterly review does come around.

When you wait to offer feedback, you are letting the immediacy of the situation expire, making it more difficult for employees to learn from the experience while it is still fresh in their minds.

Listen to the Employee

When offering feedback, you want to allow the employee to speak. You want to offer them the respect of not just lecturing them on an issue. Talking at someone is not effective.

You want to let them ask questions, too, so that the issue and how you expect it to be resolved are addressed in a clear manner. This is not only good for the employee, but it can also alert you to underlying issues that might affect other workers.

Be Sincere

You want to match your tone and words. If you are giving positive feedback but have a subdued tone, the person can get confused and may not think you are being genuine.

The same thing applies to communicating negative feedback. If you do so while laughing and joking with the person, they may not realize it is something you really want to address and rectify.

Follow Up

You do not want to have a feedback session and then never reach out again to see how the issue progresses. If you see progress, let the employee know. They will feel appreciated and work even harder to address the concerns you had.

If there is little or no progress to address the issue, then you want to have another feedback session to see where the problem is.

Communication Is Key

When giving effective employee feedback, you need to communicate clearly. Giving negative employee feedback is not an easy thing to do but it can help the employee improve and your business grow. When looking at how to give constructive feedback, being direct and professional gets the results you want. At Wellsgray Recruitment, we can make sure you get the right people for the right jobs. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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