How to give feedback to get better results
August 15, 2019
What is the one thing that would make most managers better? The ability to provide effective feedback to their employees.
We know employee feedback is important, but there is a proper way to provide feedback that will produce better business results. First, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Does the phrase "performance review" put your stomach in knots?
- Are there particular employees you know will be more difficult to provide feedback to than others?
- Do you dread offering criticism?
Honestly, if you answered YES to any of the above questions, you’re already in the wrong frame of mind for providing feedback that will actually offer value to your employees. Accurate feedback is the key to engaging people and keeping them on track. Feedback, when done right, with the right intentions, can lead to better business results by helping motivate employees to meet professional goals. Business success is the result of aligning professional goals with the overall goals of the organization.
So, what’s the trick to providing effective feedback? Here are a few tips to consider:
Criticism isn’t always easy to take, let alone deliver, but if done appropriately, with enough thought, and the best intentions behind it, the benefit is that it should help to increase the productivity of the worker receiving the feedback. The constructive part of “constructive criticism” is in the plan to do better. It gives an employee an objective to work for. Non-constructive criticism, or griping if you will, will have the immediate and opposite effect. Nobody likes to be criticized but if it leads to growth it’s easier to handle and easier to convey.
Focused attention on particular feedback will have greater results than when combined with other issues. If the feedback you are giving to an employee is negative you may be tempted to start with a compliment, thinking it will help soften the blow of the criticism. This just muddies the waters of your message. If your intention is to provide feedback with the objective of changing a particular behavior or motivating for better performance, then the focus should be placed solely on that topic in your discussion, and on that topic alone. The same goes for a compliment. Praise goes a lot further and provides more value when not combined with any other motives.
Quarterly and annual reviews are great! They can provide valuable insight as to how an employee is performing and meeting business objectives. They can provide areas to work on moving forward to the next quarter, or year, and offer benchmark data for overall employee performance. However, feedback that provides the best results is offered in the immediate. Issues need to be dealt with as they arise. Wins need to be celebrated as they occur!
Know your audience
Depending on the type of feedback your managers are offering, and the personality type of the employee, you must be mindful that there’s a time and a place for everything. Never criticize publicly. Studies have suggested that public disapproval, or putting someone on the spot with negative feedback, can alienate and embarrass the employee. This will only lower their ability to process the feedback constructively. Subsequently, caution should be exercised in sharing positive feedback publicly too. Congratulations and acknowledgment for a job well done in a public setting is something to be left to your discretion. Some employees LOVE public acknowledgment when some loathe being the center of attention.
Stick to performance
This is one of the hardest things to keep in mind when providing feedback to employees. We discussed remaining constructive, but more than that, stick to words that don’t discuss the personality traits of the employee. Focus on discussing “things they do,” rather than, “who they are.” The best way to help an employee acknowledge and be responsible for their habits or behavior is to discuss them, openly and without personal judgment. As soon as you start discussing overall personality you’ll lose their attention and worse, they could become resentful. Example, instead of saying “You’re a lazy team member, you’re always late!” try, “Your being late hurts our team performance.”
Observe peer recognition
Do you have employees who are loved by their co-workers? Let them know it! Morale and engagement levels in any workplace strongly depend on how well people get along. It’s true that one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Praising positive team spirit can encourage staff to share that behavior and affect your overall company culture.
Can you think of any other tips to help managers provide better feedback to their employees?
Employee recognition software can be a valuable tool for managers when providing feedback. Using software like Qarrot, employees can recognize one another and be awarded points for meeting or exceeding sales quotas, goals and objectives. These peer-to-peer and manager recognitions are immediate and favorable to the employee. Employees can turn in points as they earn them for gift cards or other prizes set by the company.
More than that though, managers can view, in real-time, as employees engage with each other. In the company feed managers can see as employers reward points, as well as comment on the achievements of others as they are earned in the system.
Managers can also quickly export reports to see who earned, or rewarded, points for a selected time period. The nature, and frequency, of an employee’s engagement with company programs, such as Qarrot, is a strong indicator of the overall engagement an employee has with their team, to their goals, and to their job overall. Nothing can better indicate a need for feedback, and coaching, than disengagement. Just remember to use the tips we provided above!