The Good & The Bad: How to Give Employee Feedback

Seven tips to help you give better employee feedback.

Giving Employee Feedback

According to a study by officevibe, 96% of employees feel that regularly receiving employee feedback is good. In another study, 19% of employees said would leave their job due to a lack of recognition.

Giving your employees feedback about their performance allows them to improve or continue doing well in their job. However, the delivery of feedback - whether it is done in a positive or negative way - is what makes or breaks work relationships. Phrasing feedback badly has the power to compromise how well your team performs.

So how should managers give an employee feedback? Should you share positive feedback differently than if it is negative? Here are seven tips to use for your worker feedback strategy.

7 Tips for Giving Your Employee Feedback

Giving your team feedback usually happens during performance or job reviews. But you don’t have to wait for these occasions to do so. You can make feeding back an active part of your employee engagement and development strategies.

Use these tips to ensure you uplift your team, help them perform better, and continue building great work relationships.

One-on-one employee feedback

Focus on the Job

Technically, you are not reviewing the person; you are reviewing their performance of the job. As such, remember to focus on the job during the performance review, not the person. People are more than just their job, and character-related judgments have no place in job reviews.

Rather than saying “You’re too authoritarian as a manager,” say “Your team has shared that they would appreciate more autonomy on their projects.”

Ask More Questions

Managers should want job performance reviews to be more than merely a review. You are actually investing time to help your team perform better and succeed as a whole.

Thus, instead of merely focusing on statements during the review, ask questions too. Including questions in the performance review allows your employees to drive the discussion. The benefit of this is that the worker is, at times, better able to address the issue. They provide valuable insight into their job and company processes.

Moreover, questions help facilitate a culture of honesty and feedback. If you ask about management, the company, and the team, your employee feels that you care and value their input.

Be Specific

Managers should provide clear, actionable feedback that employees can act on. Base your employee feedback on facts, not interpretation, and be specific. Include examples if that’s relevant and appropriate.

Specific and clear feedback

This goes for both negative and positive feedback. For example, “You’re doing so well” doesn’t really tell the employee anything. In what specific area are they doing well? How is “doing well” measured?

Instead, use specific statements, like “You really took initiative with organizing the sound equipment and catering for the product launch.”

Stick to Process and Progress

When you share negative feedback with an employee, focus on progress or results. With an emphasis on progress, the worker can see how far they’ve come and how they can move forward. This helps ensure they stay engaged and don’t lose hope.

For positive feedback, which helps keep an employee engaged, you should rather target their processes. Point out ways they can improve certain actions to further boost their great performance. If you focus on the progress or results here, the employee may just sit back, relax, and make no further effort to improve.

Be Authentic

Being authentic helps you connect with the employee during a job review. This humanizes you and makes the feedback more meaningful.

You can share personal experiences to show empathy and build a personal connection. However, there are some caveats to avoid. It is easy to get so “lost” in trying to connect that you may overshare, tell a long-winded unrelated story, or make the whole review session about yourself.

Understand That Employees Respond Differently

Not every employee will react to employee feedback in the same way. An important aspect of giving feedback is how you deliver or share it, tailoring this to the specific individual.

Tailor feedback to employee

Some people prefer blunt feedback, while others appreciate a softer, more subtle review. Learning which approach works best for which employee helps ensure that the job review is successful and fruitful.

Use the Sandwich

The sandwich approach to giving feedback includes using positive feedback as the bread and negative feedback as the sandwich filling. So like a sandwich, you start with praise or a compliment (bottom slice of bread) and follow with the negative feedback (the filling). You can then add some more positive feedback (the top slice of bread) to finish things off.

Using the sandwich compliment approach helps create a supportive, positive atmosphere during a job performance review.

Final Thoughts

Giving employee feedback isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you need to share negative feedback with them. To help reinforce good behavior, eliminate bad habits, improve mutual trust, and boost confidence, you should aim to give an employee feedback in the right way.

Sign up to &team’s Pulse feature to gain powerful metrics and reporting features that you can use while sharing feedback with your team.