Information about a person’s performance, which is used as a basis for improvement.
As the dictionary definition above states, feedback is a great basis for improvement; and this is what most employers want: staff to continually improve their current skillset and develop additional skills. Usually, most employees feel the same.
If you want to help employees perform at their best, then giving them valuable feedback is critical. Not only can it correct any errors they may be making, it can improve their learning and, if done in the right way, can be highly motivating to employees.
It’s fairly common for companies to implement annual reviews, where managers sit down with their team individually, provide feedback and set new targets. If you’re not doing this already, then it’s a great place to start.
However, the benefits that these annual appraisals bring can soon wear off if it’s the only feedback employees get all year. In addition to the formal annual review, consider scheduling more regular, low key opportunities throughout the year.
- How about a mid-year mini-review? A fifteen-minute catch-up to discuss how the employee is progressing on their targets.
- What about a monthly one-to-one? A five-minute informal chat or phone call where the manager gives one piece of feedback and solicits the same from the employee?
However you choose to do it, the key is to make giving employee feedback a regular occurance.
You’ve probably heard the old Einstein quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Are you failing to give your employees feedback, yet hoping for different results?
Most, if not all, employees do actually want feedback, but there tends to be a reluctance among managers to give it. Some people find it awkward to give feedback, especially negative feedback, so we have compiled some points below that can help.
1. The Compliment Sandwich
The compliment sandwich is a more palatable way to give constructive criticism to an employee. As the name implies, you “sandwich” your negative feedback between two slices of positive feedback. It therefore softens the blow of the negative feedback.
This can be a great technique because it ends on a positive, but make sure you emphasise the importance of correcting the negative issue, so the employee doesn’t leave with the focus on the positive and forget the negative.
Your employees need to trust that their manager is giving them feedback in order to help them improve. Otherwise it could feel like they’re just having their limitations pointed out to them. Having a regular structured approach to giving employee feedback can help here, but ensure your managers are aware of the sensitivities involved.
By framing the issue as an opportunity to learn, it turns the feedback from a negative criticism into a positive opportunity.
Don’t do all the talking—listen, too. Allow them to discuss how they feel about the feedback. Ask them questions to see if they agree with your assessment, and how they think they can improve things going forward.
5. Be Specific
It’s important to be specific in the feedback you give. Make sure you’re clear on exactly which aspects you’d like to see improving, and what you’d like to see in the future. What does the improvement look like?
6. Agree Timescales
Agree timescales. Identify how long are you going to give them to improve, and agree that you’ll connect again at a future point to review their progress. Make it clear how much improvement you expect to see in the agreed timescales, and remember: be specific.