How to give constructive feedback to employees? Giving employees constructive criticism regarding their performance is far more than just a typical staff management duty. One of the most beneficial things you can do as a manager is to provide feedback to your employees if you want them to take on more senior jobs within the company and achieve your succession planning goals. This article will give you some free tips on how to give constructive feedback to employees. Keep reading.
Meaningful employee feedback raises employee engagement, and that much is known. In fact, a Gallup study found that employees would rather get negative feedback than none at all. According to the study, an employee whose management ignores him or her is twice as likely to be actively disengaged at work as an employee whose manager pays attention to his or her shortcomings. Employee feedback may also provide insightful information that can help leaders grow stronger and more effective in their positions.
Your capacity to pinpoint specific areas for improvement and motivate your team to take charge of their own growth will determine how well you can assist staff members in moving on to the next level. And when you give your employees constructive criticism, it may inspire them to improve their performance and give them a greater understanding of what they need to do to thrive in both their employment and the company.
How to give constructive feedback to employees
Here are 13 pointers for giving relevant, actionable feedback, learn how to give constructive feedback to employees:
1. Be diplomatic
When giving employees constructive criticism, try to be nice yet direct. When discussing severe topics, especially, you don’t want to be excessively direct, but you also can’t afford to sugarcoat your thoughts.
If you use general wording, such as “You’ve been arriving a little bit late every day.,” the employee can shrug and reply, “So what?” Contrarily, concise wording (“I’m afraid your repeated tardiness is starting to affect your performance and reputation.”) provides no room for misunderstanding on the part of the employee regarding the nature of the issue and the urgency with which it has to be resolved.
2. Time it properly
While the annual performance review is often performed at a specified period set by the company, there are many additional chances for providing feedback that arises during the year. Seize them! Feedback is typically most useful when it is given shortly after an event or problem has just occurred.
One warning: Do not let your wrath out in the name of “giving feedback.” It is often advisable to give yourself enough time to calm down before meeting with an employee to guarantee a fruitful feedback session when negative emotions are running high.
3. Get ready for the conversation
When giving employees constructive criticism, it’s important to demonstrate that you’ve given the situation some serious thought. Making a precise and thorough sketch of what you intend to say is one method of preparing. Ask yourself these fundamental questions: What are the problems I wish to address, and how can I help this employee?
Feedback is taken seriously by employees, and you should too. As you would for any other significant meeting, give a feedback session the same amount of thought and planning. To support your references to especially remarkable work on the positive side or to problems that require attention on the negative side, use facts, examples, and figures.
4. Display the “big picture”
When you include context, your comment is more likely to be understood. As a result, as part of your planning, you should gather concrete examples that show how the employee’s performance affects your team’s and department’s capacity to achieve a certain set of business objectives.
Saying, “When you’re sluggish to complete your share of a project, everyone is affected since we all have to remain late to satisfy our duty to the customer,” could be a good strategy if an employee often misses deadlines.
5. Be precise and clear
Every criticism should be concluded by stating your belief in the employee’s capacity for growth. (The only exception to this guideline is if the employee has made no attempt to address prior criticism; in that situation, you might need to take more formal action.)
Your employee needs to leave the meeting with a clear understanding of their shortcomings and what they can do to turn things around. Additionally, they should feel encouraged by your confidence in their capacity for course correction.
6. Meet in person
Meetings with workers face challenges in the age of remote and hybrid working. So, if a problem emerges, you could be inclined to send an email.
This strategy may fail in a number of ways. For one thing, since you don’t have the opportunity to soften a written evaluation with body language and non-verbal clues, it could come out as being overly professional and chilly. You run the danger of starting a protracted back-and-forth.
A one-on-one video conference is a preferable option when you need to provide feedback to remote staff.
7. Give up using a “sandwich method”
The sandwich strategy, which was formerly a common way to soften the impact of receiving unfavorable comments, is currently out of style. This tactic, which involves sandwiching a critique between two compliments, has been exposed for the flaws it contains. Employees are the first to see right through it. Praise is watered down when it’s used to mask unpleasant criticism. Second, putting off the inevitable causes stress.
Be straightforward when giving a coworker unfavorable feedback: “Jay, as we both know, things haven’t been going very smoothly recently. Let’s try to solve the issue together. Make sure your feedback is genuine in order for it to be beneficial.
8. Focus on the solution
Don’t only mention the issue while providing comments; also provide remedies. Do all you can to assist the employee in resolving the issue promptly, whether it means giving them further training, more regular instructions, or streamlining a broken system.
9. Make it a discussion
Keep an open mind while giving staff feedback, and give your team members the opportunity to share their perspectives. You could find out about believable events that prevented the employee from giving their utmost effort. You could even come to see that the problem is really a symptom of a more serious underlying issue impacting other team members.
Making the meeting into a dialogue will also make the employee feel more at ease all around and more open to your criticism. When given the chance to speak with you one-on-one about their struggles or hurdles to success, employees may be more motivated to make a change for the better in some circumstances.
10. Recognize the impact of negative feedback
According to research by Professor Andrew Miner and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota, employees react to a negative encounter with their supervisor six times more strongly than they do to a favorable contact. Positive feedback clearly has far less impact than negative input. Leaders must thus be aware of how it affects an employee’s productivity and well-being.
When giving unfavorable comments, try to do it in person whenever you can (versus via email). Explore the causes and potential remedies as you approach the problem as a challenge to overcome together. The probability that the talk will feel like a personal assault will reduce with a less harsh tone, and it will probably produce better outcomes.
11. Everyone doesn’t want good feedback
Don’t assume that everyone wants just good feedback; research shows that once someone becomes an expert in a field, they prefer negative input. Novices prefer positive comments.
The explanation: Encouragement from positive comments boosts beginners’ confidence when they launch a new project (in the study, subjects were learning to speak a foreign language). Those with higher knowledge, however, were already engaged in the project and thought that negative criticism was more helpful to their development.
12. Abstain from gender (and other) prejudices
As advanced as we like to think we are, gender prejudice still exists, particularly in employee feedback. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies at Stanford University has performed research demonstrating that men and women are treated differently at work.
The study found that women were substantially more likely than males to get criticism from supervisors for being overly assertive and for their successes being the product of group rather than individual efforts. Effective employee feedback is built on applying fair and equitable criteria to all genders, age groups, and ethnicities.
13. A follow-up
Consider setting up a follow-up meeting, but make sure to provide the employee enough time to implement concrete improvements. Your staff person may require a few weeks or longer to analyze your remarks and implement your advice into their daily routine, depending on the kind and quantity of constructive criticism you provide.
Once more, careful planning may make all the difference in how effectively your words are received. However, be aware that some employees may feel ashamed or even outraged to learn that their professional performance is subpar. Therefore, be sure to emphasize throughout the entire process that you are spending the time to provide feedback because you want to see them succeed.
Directives For Presenting Constructive Criteria
Constructive criticism is a common kind of negative feedback. Gregg Walker, a professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Oregon State University, describes how, when used properly, critical criticism may encourage positive growth in people and relationships. His suggestions for providing constructive feedback are as follows:
- Recognize the rationale behind your critique. (Is it suitable/productive?)
- Take a different stance or switch roles.
- Provide feedback on the person’s actions, not on the individual.
- Instead of focusing on general or abstract behavior, concentrate on a specific scenario.
- Instead of criticizing the past, focus on the present.
- Refrain from “critical overload.”
- Focus your criticism on actions that the target of the criticism can change.
The feedback loop works both ways.
Leaders can also benefit from getting feedback since they can learn important lessons from their team members. Turning the tables may feel unpleasant, but getting feedback from your team members on how you’re doing as a leader might actually help you improve.
Asking: “How can I make your work easier?” is one approach to this query that won’t make anyone feel awkward. or “How can I support you so that you can do your work more effectively?” Another is to administer an anonymous survey to your team members (let’s face it: few workers would be confident enough to voice a grievance if their name was tied to it).
When someone gives you feedback, pause and give it some thought before letting it affect you negatively or reacting defensively. Always keep in mind that the goal is to help you develop, not to belittle you or be mean-spirited. Have other folks made remarks along those lines? Do you have any examples of when this statement could be accurate?
How can you make use of something that is negative in a positive way? It’s crucial to control the temptation to quarrel while receiving feedback during a spoken dialogue. Instead, express gratitude for their input. Their feedback is based on their perceptions, whether or not you agree with them.
Feedback may inspire people and groups, help a problem be solved, improve communication, support professional growth among staff members, and boost engagement. The effectiveness of your feedback to employees greatly depends on how you provide it. You can use these techniques to provide powerful and useful feedback.
Authentic communication is at the core of good feedback, both in giving and receiving it, despite changes in methods and strategies over time. High emotional intelligence leaders will be in a good position to conduct feedback sessions with subtlety, empathy, and active listening abilities. The bottom line: One of the most effective methods for a leader to have a positive impact on employee engagement, performance, and satisfaction is through effective feedback.
Honest feedback is one of the finest gifts you can offer your team as a leader, and despite what you might believe, it doesn’t always have to be good. According to studies, an employee’s preference for receiving positive vs negative (or constructive) criticism may change with their degree of experience. Positive comments can promote self-confidence, while individuals with more experience who want to improve could find critical criticism more useful.
I hope this article on how to give constructive feedback to employees will be interesting and informative for you.
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