Having regular feedback from a superior can be very valuable. It’s almost like when a teacher hands back a paper with the final grade which can be really valuable in measuring how successful you’re being on a given project. However, there are no grades or nice stickers that show how well you did on a project at the workplace. Sometimes, there is actually no clear way of knowing how well you are doing until your quarterly performance review. Even in some workplaces, you receive no employee feedback at all.
One way you can ease the shock of going from continuous report cards to never hearing how you’re doing is to make friends with coworkers you trust but that doesn’t always work.
Providing your employees with constant feedback will produce fruitful results that will not only increase employee productivity but also their motivation and morale.
Employee feedback is painless, effective and will receive the immediate outcome you are looking for.
For a company’s culture to exist, they need to have a general idea of how happy, satisfied and challenged your team members are feeling.
Like a good therapy session, giving workers all levels of opportunity to express their opinions about the direction the company takes can have a positive effect. Show employees that you are interested in their opinions and they will be more likely to take a greater stake in the business. They will go from thinking that they work for someone to think that they are a part of the team.
“We do not recruit committed employees. Committed employees are created,” says Lisa Wojtwiak, customer relations manager for the company Opinion Research Corporations, part of Infogroup. “It is our job to involve employees from day one.”
To get started, we’ve gathered a list of how to give the best, most powerful and positive employee feedback, check them out to see which one might help you make improvements in your own team!
1. Actively listen to your employees
Before giving feedback on an action to be corrected, it is important to ask the employee on his or her view of the facts. If we don’t, we may be missing important information about how things happened and may potentially give incorrect feedback and the employee may perceive it as unfair.
2. Feedback breeds engagement
Finding and retaining top talent is the No. 1 challenge faced by agency executives, according to a survey from ClickZ, which is the main reason why so many corporations are renewing their focus to employee engagement and company culture.
For a company’s culture to exist and progress, management should focus on employee engagement and happiness. And sometimes, this isn’t an easy task. Deloitte indicated 20 engagement factors, where companies need to excel at keeping employees engaged.
To be an effective manager, you need to be skilled at giving employees constructive feedback, criticism, and praise. Be effective, crystal clear and go to the point. General and vague comments like “Your work needs to be improved” or “I wasn’t very much impressed with those reports; you have to do way better than that” will leave your employee confused, unsure and in the dark as to what expect of their work and to what needs to be corrected.
Meghan Jennings from Lumex Consultancy suggests that in order to be effective, feedback should contain three core elements:
- Context: some reference to the situation in which the behavior was observed or occurred
- Behavior: what the employee did or said (or didn’t say or didn’t do)
- Impact: how the behavior affected the individual’s and/or team’s ability to be successful
Unlike criticism, praise is easy to give. Managers should grant praise generously and especially at the end of a well-executed project. So, praise as often as possible, tell your employees how much you appreciate their commitment and hard work! You’ll see how engaged and committed they’ll feel.
3. Be fearless and give direct feedback
Silence at the workplace is such a mood killer and saying absolutely nothing is 10 times worse than giving negative feedback. According to these findings, 72% of employees think their performance would improve with more feedback. But that doesn’t really help when 50% of the managers fail to give constructive feedback because they’re too afraid of being the “bad person.”
Would you stay silent if an employee keeps making the same mistake over and over again? Be proactive when giving feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, feedback will always be the best option. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to give negative feedback effectively. And often, they end up doing more harm than good.
“Paradoxically, it is a selfish act to not give negative feedback to others because you’re afraid of how it might make you look,” says Dr. Christian Jarrett. “Put your ego to one side and stop worrying about being popular or trying to be nice. By providing justified negative feedback in an appropriate manner, the recipient benefits, and you will be a more effective colleague and manager.”
Delivery of negative feedback doesn’t have to be a cold and uncomfortable exchange of words, that could escalate to yelling and throwing things at one another. There are methods of pursuing a complicated conversation that ends well. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Build positive relationships over time
- Never make it personal
- Offer positive reinforcement
- Be available
4. Personalize your critique
All your employees are different and unique (unless you employ robots, then that’s another story) Tailor and customize your feedback to fit your employee’s career stage, skills, personality and age.
These findings point out that 70% of Gen Y want strengths-based feedback. On the other hand, 50% of older employees want constructive feedback to help them grow.
It’s important to recognize that our generation is slowly being conquered by millennials in the workforce and that we need to change our perspective because millennials are quickly becoming the primary working class generation, and soon will be leading or managing the majority of companies.
Tell millennials how to further improve what they already know. Millennials expectations are different from the older generations. Mentoring programs are one of the top two soft benefits millennials look for at an organization. Less than one in ten millennials think weekly communication is enough. In fact, 35% want it multiple times a day, while 25% think once a day is fine.
So, how to give millennials the feedback they need? Think Twitter – the online news and social networking service where users can tweet in 140 characters – how would you provide constructive feedback in 140 or fewer characters?
Another option millennials prefer is face-to-face interaction. According to Springer, millennials enjoy building relationships with their colleagues and team leaders. At the same time, they enjoy giving feedback just as much as they appreciate it. Millennials may or may not be as skilled or savvy in how they give feedback and therefore may require coaching.
With baby boomers, they require a bit more regular feedback and should be approached with it as a growth opportunity. When baby boomers are not receiving feedback, they look for it through behavioral signs and tend to assume the worse and typically negatively.
At the same time, Gen X prefers continuous feedback. According to Szakonyi, this may be attributed to their Baby Boomer parents who provided them with constant feedback. Generation Xs tend to take feedback better when they feel that their employers are flexible since flexibility is highly valued by the Gen Xer.
When providing employee feedback to Gen Xers, be sure to share with them how their progress related to the feedback will make a difference.
Some managers have shared that they have even found a very time effective way of providing feedback without staying late at work. They encourage their teams to ask each other for short, pointed feedback on specific behaviors, competencies, or work products.
We can never make assumptions about individuals within a generational group. Generational traits are useful guidelines, not hard and fast rules.
5. Employee Feedback goes both ways
When it’s about your own employees, you should encourage the dynamic of information exchange, so that you can also benefit from the advantages of having immediate and concrete information of your work.
Knowing the opinions of the workers around you will help you to direct your own boat, as we discussed at the beginning of this article.
6. Find the right timing to talk
Life is all about the right timing if we think about it. According to a survey by BLR, 75% of companies do employee feedback annually. And the problem is that so much can happen and change in 12 months.
But also keep in mind that one type of frequency doesn’t triumph over all — weekly isn’t better than quarterly. But there are certain frequencies that function better for other objectives.
Consider the workloads of both yourself and your employees before scheduling your reviews. You should start by asking the other person if they are available at a certain time. If you are busy, you should try to start the conversation later. This way, the person to whom you give feedback will give you the attention you need to communicate effectively.
On the other hand, to choose the scenario, you have to consider the type of information you are going to provide:
When it comes to positive employee feedback, you should choose to do it in public, so that the person has even more social recognition of the adequacy of their work.
In case you want to communicate some negative aspects, choose a private site so that the worker does not perceive that he is being embarrassed in front of his colleagues.
7. Set Goals and Expectations
An essential step in this process is that both you and your subordinate are aware and have clear goals and expectations for their performance. This will allow feedback to be more objective and realistic.
Make sure that the goals are specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and determined over a period of time, just as they are designed according to the job and aligned with the company’s strategic objectives. So your collaborators can know how your work contributes to the success of the organization.
Over to you
The purpose of providing employee feedback (pssst, there is a tool for that) is to improve the situation or job performance. You won’t accomplish that by being harsh, critical, or offensive. Instead, try to meet your team’s demands and work around them if you’re serious about listening to your employees.
As a team leader, you should also keep in mind that providing feedback is not a one-size-fits-all, even when considering additional variables such as generations.
We hope all of these tips will help you improve your communication with your co-workers and get a higher job satisfaction.
What methods do you find work best when it comes to providing employee feedback? Don’t forget to share in the comments below!