People Magazine

Tips on giving effective feedback to your employees

Employee feedback
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Both positive and negative feedback are critical parts of a business.

Asking questions and avoiding assumptions are a must for feedback sessions.

Establishing relationships before feedback help shape the conversation.

Remember that culture, language, and other factors play a role in feedback reception.

How is your employee feedback process?

For many managers and small business owners, feedback for staff is one of the most challenging processes. You want to give effective feedback to employees, but you also don’t want that feedback to feel too harsh. Whether it’s during an annual performance review or you need to address a recent issue, employee feedback can be a tough conversation.

Both positive and negative feedback matter

Fortunately, there are strategies for giving useful feedback while minimizing hurt feelings. It starts with considering the employee is receiving the feedback. Everyone gets these conversations differently. There can be challenges with cultural differences or language barriers.

Understanding the do’s and don’ts of communication with each employee is something your HR department can help with. In fact, annual performance reviews can be improved by incorporating HR into this event.

Employee positive feedback examples: How to Tackle It

What does positive employee feedback look like? Here are a few examples:

  1. The sandwich approach. Cushioning advice in a compliment sandwich can be a highly effective tool. For example, “You’re doing a great job at …” “You can improve on …” and “It’s great how you …” This is the framework for the compliment sandwich.
  2. Don’t feel the need to include a complaint if there isn’t one. Many employee feedback forms seem to demand at least one “issue” for the employee to address. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, an employee deserves to be commended for a job well done. A compliment by itself is a legitimate review if it’s earned.
  3. Focus on feelings, not just actions. If you relate how a co-worker or customer feels due to the worker’s actions, it puts things in perspective. For example, “Customer A told me she felt healthier and more energized thanks to your customized recommendation.” Everyone relates to positive feelings.

Build Relationships to foster feedback

Giving positive feedback is just as crucial as addressing issues. The worker might not even realize they’re doing something particularly positive. When you reinforce that behavior, they’ll likely do it even more often.

Negative feedback for staff: Be mindful of culture, languages, and other challenges

Giving positive feedback is relatively easy. It can be easy to forget to do sometimes, but giving compliments is a breeze. Correcting and addressing negative behavior is much more challenging. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Avoid putting the person on the defense. If your feedback sounds like an attack, the person won’t listen and will get defensive. This won’t help the situation at all. Instead, make sure the worker realizes you’re still on their side.
  2. Work through the situation with them. Tackle the issue as if it’s a problem for both of you—because it is. Ask questions. “Do you understand the issue?” and “What can we do about this?” puts you on the same team and makes focuses on problem-solving.
  3. Avoid assumptions. Assumptions are dangerous. Maybe the reason the worker is suddenly late every day is that there’s a problem at home. Ask questions, don’t assume, and be compassionate. This will make them much more likely to open up to you.
  4. Provide prompt feedback. When it comes to important matters, it’s best to give feedback right away. This can eliminate further complications or errors that could occur if feedback isn’t a priority. Managers don’t necessarily always need a formal meeting or scheduled performance review to give feedback. Ongoing communication is vital for growth and improvement.

Feedback is pointless if nobody listens. It’s a type of communication that requires everyone involved to participate. By being kind, offering concrete examples, and actively listening, you’re setting the stage for feedback that’s well received. Building professional relationships with your workers is also foundational for creating feedback-driven conversations.


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