Over the years, feedback has developed a negative image. Most people who think of feedback automatically imagine negativity or criticism. However, feedback is essential in most people’s everyday life, not just at work. From a routine dental checkup to an annual job review, feedback is a neat little way to determine if we are doing a good job or need to work on some things.
Though most of your employees might dread hearing the words “I need to see you in my office” or “Your annual review is coming up,” the information they receive from you is of the utmost importance to them. Employers must try to combat the negative image and reputation of feedback and try to make it seem like what it should be – a tool for growth.
Remember, there are good ways to give feedback and bad ways. This article will provide you, an employer, with a few tips and strategies you can implement when you are handing out your feedback. It is important to compare your feedback strategies with the ones listed here to help reveal any potential bad habits in delivery. Your feedback will make or break your company, so it must be in tip-top shape.
Give Constructive Feedback
Frequently confused with the evil twin, constructive criticism, constructive feedback does not have to be bad. It is a way for the employer to reveal to the employee any job weaknesses they are showing in hopes of helping them become a more effective worker. Strategies for improvement should accompany this type of feedback. An employer must call someone out on their flaws to help the employee grow.
Constructive feedback without suggestions for growth or corrective actions turns to criticism. Many employees fear criticism, so make sure you pair your feedback with tips and advice to correct their weaknesses.
Use SMART Goals
After your employee knows about their weaknesses in the workplace, they must be able to fix them. The best way to help them is by developing S.M.A.R.T goals with them. These goals should be Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T…). You should establish these goals with the employee and figure out a way to measure progress.
Think of a student trying to improve their class work. Quantifiable data like grades, attendance, and extracurricular activities allow the teacher to determine if the goal is being met. Without those metrics, students would never know if their class work has improved.
Your employees are much like that student. They need to see those metrics to show them and you that they are meeting their goals. Be sure to include the Agreed Upon aspect to the goals. You must make the employee feel like a part of the team. There is no better way to do this than to listen to their ideas and incorporate them into your strategies. An efficient and effective employee is going to do wonders for your company.
Provide Positive Feedback
Your feedback should not always point out weaknesses or flaws in your employee’s work. It would help if you also took a moment to call in that employee that has impressed you. This will help remove the negative image that is associated with feedback. When you are congratulating and praising your employees and not just pointing out issues, the words “Come into my office and take a seat” will not seem as scary.
How Can Employers Combine Positive and Constructive Feedback?
A good strategy for employers to utilize is combining positive and constructive feedback. This will give them a better sense of who they are as employees, the good and the bad. As an employer, you now have a good grasp of what types of feedback to use, what types not to use, and why delivery matters.
Here are ten tips you can use when sharing your feedback to help make it more compassionate, authentic, and, most importantly, effective.
Tip 1: Word Feedback as Observations
Rather than just pointing out the flaws and weaknesses of your employees, try wording your feedback to appear as observations. This means using “I” statements like “I noticed that you have been a little late on a few assignments” or “I see that your sales are not meeting quota.” Avoid “you” statements as they seem to attack the employee’s abilities. This will help the employee feel like they can make a change rather than just doing a poor job.
Tip 2: Make Feedback Sound Less Harsh
If your employees are not meeting company standards, they must know about it. You might try and make the feedback less offensive or harsh, but make sure that you do not go as far as not being direct with them. They must not leave the meeting without a clear picture of their goals and your expectations.
Tip 3: Always Give Feedback in Person
Company email and phone lines make life so much easier when communicating with your employees. However, when giving your feedback, it is best to do this in person. Take a walk to their office to discuss your observations, or call them into yours to make this feel more personal. This will let the employee discuss the issue with you, making them feel like part of the team.
Tip 4: Make Feedback Sincere
Make sure that you sound very sincere in giving your feedback. With feedback so often mistaken for criticism, many employees feel down and vulnerable when given yours. Showing them that you care with a sincere tone will help ease their worries.
Tip 5: Be Empathetic with Employees
Be empathetic with your employees when you give them feedback. Let them know that you see their potential and are confident they can improve their weaknesses. This also goes a long way in building inter-office chemistry and trust.
Tip 6: Always Provide Guidance or Suggestions
Constructive feedback is only criticism if you do not provide any sort of suggestions or guidance along with it. As an employer, you lead your company and employees. Help your employees by guiding them on how to best remedy any shortcomings in their work.
Tip 7: Explain Why the Feedback is Important
Feedback and guidance can only go so far if the employee does not see why this particular area of their work needs to be improved. Ensure you inform them of why it is crucial to fix the issue. This will also open their eyes to just how important their role to the company is.
Tip 8: Notify Employees of Feedback in Advance
When calling your employee to your office for the conference or review, let them know you will give them feedback. This will allow them to prepare mentally for the information.
Tip 9: Don’t Forget to Provide Positive Feedback
Leaders do not only point out the bad. You must lead your company by giving positive feedback along with constructive feedback. This will also help your conferences seem less gloomy or scary. Feedback is the only way we can grow. As an employer, you must help change that negative view of feedback by practicing good implementation strategies.
Tip 10: Listen to Employee Concerns
After giving your feedback, make sure to listen to your employee. They might be there by some misunderstanding that needs clarification. Always allow for follow-up questions from the employee. You hired them for a reason, so chances are they might have reasonable solutions or ideas on how to improve performance.
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