HR Management Performance management

Tips and tricks for providing constructive feedback at the workplace

Organizations that value and work on feedback are known to thrive. Employees are the biggest asset of an organization, and maintaining and tracking their performance and productivity ensures that the processes run smoothly. Employee feedback is an incredibly powerful tool. 

A 2014 assessment of employee attitudes towards “positive” and “corrective” feedback by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman revealed that 57% of respondents preferred receiving corrective feedback. 

If provided correctly, feedback is a powerful mechanism that can transform employee journeys and align them to the company goals and mission. It improves the level of trust and communication and strengthens bonds between employees and managers. Regular and constructive feedback is essential in aligning the team members towards a common goal. 

You must take the appropriate steps to make sure that your comments are received well. Here are a few steps that you can follow to offer constructive feedback to your employees and team members:

  • Schedule a one-on-one feedback session

When providing feedback to your employees and team-mates it is necessary to schedule an individual session with each employee. Giving someone feedback, however constructive, in front of colleagues can undermine their confidence and put them on the defensive mode. A one-on-one session is more comfortable and much more conducive for finding solutions to the problems. It gives individuals a better chance to explain their issues and find plausible solutions to the same. Ensure that the employees are provided with the platform to express their viewpoints and are given a fair chance to speak.

  • Be specific

Employee performance reviews can be an unnerving situation if not handled smartly. When providing feedback, be problem-focused and specific. By beating around the bush you are doing a great disservice to the individual and the process in general. For eg., if there is an issue with employee punctuality that is, in turn, proving to be detrimental to customer service, then address these issues with the individual and look for possible solutions to their punctuality. Provide them with a sense of how the process is affecting the bottom line. The more specific you can make your feedback, the more actionable it will be. 

  • Correct your tone and delivery

When delivering feedback, it is important to correct your presentation and work on your delivery. Start on a positive note, by talking about their strengths and other positive aspects. Explain the specific points as to how their performance might be lagging, and sit with them to find the solution to their problems. Frame your feedback using a growth mindset and focus on areas that will help them grow and expand on the skills that eventually improve their performance.

  • Provide empathy

Delivering feedback requires an extra level of sensitivity to the entire situation. Feedback can come as a surprise to many, putting them on the defensive and things can spin out of control pretty fast. Therefore, it is essential to establish decorum by providing a comfortable environment and expressing empathy with the colleague or employee. If you’re someone who bores the brunt of your colleague’s difficult behavior, be sure you can set those frustrations aside in favor of the empathy you’ll need for this conversation.

  • Provide due praise

Feedback should never be a negative experience that focuses on just the improvement points of an individual. Acknowledging the positive aspects and ensuring to provide praise where it’s due is essential in reassuring them that you haven’t lost perspective. A balanced review can motivate workers to put their best foot forward and work on their negative aspects to further improve their performance.

  • Be timely

Conducting a yearly performance review exercise is an outdated process. Organizations today are fast-evolving and moving ahead of the times. Providing yearly feedback derails the entire process by slowing things down and taking longer to align employees with a common goal. If issues are left unaddressed, they may multiply by a domino effect. So by the time the quarterly performance review comes around, you’ll be confronted with a host of issues that could have been avoided if mentioned earlier. Being timely avoids any rude surprises, provides ample time for employees to improve their weak points and propels productivity in the organization.

  • Make it a two-way process

Feedback is not about lecturing someone on the points of improvement and leaving things at that. When providing constructive feedback, ensure that your employee has a fair chance to present their views. This shows that you’re prepared to listen to their concerns and their interpretation of events. Ask them for their ideas of improvement, and provide the necessary support to help them excel. Let the receiver respond to your feedback and allow them to ask follow-up questions. The ultimate goal of feedback is to improve employee performance, and a large part of it constitutes removing the obstacles to work. 

When providing feedback, it is important to keep the organizational goals in mind. The focus should be on motivating the employee to perform better by identifying areas that need to be worked on and providing the necessary support and resources. Feedback should not be detrimental to employee productivity or mental health, but encourage them to improve. Avoid unsolicited advice and be specific in your feedback. Providing staff with ongoing feedback is one of the most important and powerful employee development tools in your arsenal. These tips can help managers and leaders deliver it more effectively, which will lead to more collaborative, communicative, and higher-performing cultures. 

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