Employee Nourishment: Feedback
From an informal ‘well done’ to a performance review, feedback is the key to growth for your employees and ultimately your organization. Employees not only value feedback from their supervisors but, when it is given in a consistent, kind, and constructive way, it results in increased productivity and job satisfaction. So, how do you, as a leader or manager, best give feedback?
Studies reinforce the value of feedback and how employees respond to both positive and negative interactions with management. Employees react up to six times more strongly to negative interactions with their supervisors, and this is especially true when it comes to negative feedback. Employees appreciate feedback when it is given in a positive and constructive way but when that experience becomes negative it often impacts their perceived value in the workplace, their relationship with their supervisor, and their productivity.
Providing constructive feedback is no manager’s favorite part of the job, and it is often a balancing act between improving employee performance and ensuring every employee knows they are valued and respected. This can be challenging, but the best place to start is always in remembering your ‘people factor’. No matter the feedback you are giving, when employees feel respected, they are more likely to be open to feedback, making the experience more positive and empowering them to integrate it into their work.
One way you can create a more positive experience is to be aware of how you address positive and negative behaviors. When giving positive feedback it is best to do it openly, often, and in front of others, while the opposite is true for negative feedback. People appreciate being their work being highlighted and prefer to share the experience with peers, while negative feedback, however constructive, is more likely to be heard and appreciated in a more private setting. When negative behavior or mistakes are addressed publicly, it can feel as if you are pointing an employee out and is often perceived as a punishment or an attack.
In addition to considering where and when you give feedback, your approach to the feedback makes all the difference. It can be easy to get straight to the point, correct an employee and move on with the day, but the best way to ensure your feedback is heard is to facilitate a conversation. Be clear, concise, and conscientious with your feedback and allow your employee to be a participant rather than an audience. Go over the corrections together, express your desire to be ‘a second set of eyes’; allow them to be a part of the problem solving and creating a solution. Not only will this help your employee feel their opinion is valued but it will help you to ensure they understand the issue and the solution, making this a more positive experience for everyone involved.
Some suggest sandwiching negative feedback between positive feedback, but where there is a serious performance or conduct concern, it’s important not to dilute it. In these instances, it is best to be clear, direct, and constructive. Do your best to adequately explain your criticism and your desire to help your employee grow. If disciplinary action is necessary, explain why and what the employee can do to improve. In these situations, employees will appreciate your honesty and direct approach.
No matter the feedback needed, approaching your employees from a place of respect is key to ensuring that your feedback is understood and they continue to feel valued in your organization. Your approach to feedback, positive or negative, sets the standard for the office, impacting the environment and each individual employee. Keep feedback constructive, honest, and conscientious. This will empower your employees to be more productive and ensure they feel valued, respected, and successful.Tags: criticism, feedback, performance