Seven Tips for Providing Effective Employee Feedback

April 17, 2014
Providing Effective Employee Feedback - Williams Recognition
There’s a definite right way and a definite wrong way to give effective feedback to employees. When done right, good employee feedback can improve productivity, morale, and overall company performance. When done wrong, however, it can be stifling. Great managers take the time to provide considerate, constructive commentary to their team members, creating a supportive workplace and limiting stress and anxiety among employees. Here are seven tips to keep in mind when you’re talking with your employees about their on-the-job performance and conduct.

1. Talk About The Good As Well As the Bad

Some managers don’t give any feedback until an employee does something wrong. Eventually, they become known as a boss who only criticizes and never praises. Be on the lookout for great work from your team members as much as you look for areas in which they can improve, and let them knows when they’ve done a good job.

2. Use the Right Channels

Employee feedback, whether positive or negative, is almost always best when done in person. Sure, a quick email or phone call to tell an employee that their work is top-notch is fine, but don’t rely on impersonal channels for all of your comments. Also, the rule of thumb for most businesses is “praise in public, critique in private.” This allows good work to be recognized by your entire office, but doesn’t embarrass employees who need improvement. The only caveat is if you are praising an employee who becomes uncomfortable when foisted into the spotlight; in that case, one-on-one might be better. Getting to know your employees’ personalities will be helpful in determining how and where you should offer praise.

3. Be Specific

This is especially important if you don’t like how an employee is handling a part of his or her job. Explaining exactly what’s wrong increases the likelihood that the offending behavior won't be repeated. For example, instead of telling an employee that he or she is not very good when interacting with clients, you might say exactly what is bothersome. Is the employee negative? Too talkative? Too curt? Make sure you can explain what the lackluster behavior is.

4. Offer Suggestions for Improvement

Piggybacking on the previous tip, once you are specific about what an employee is doing wrong, give pointers for how he or she might make it right. Offering training opportunities, if warranted, is a perfect way to groom an employee to work in a manner more consistent with your expectations. It also lets the employee know that you are willing to invest in him or her as a valuable asset as the company moves forward.

5. Be Timely

If you’re the non-confrontational type, it may be tempting to let bad feelings (or any feelings) simmer until it’s time for a formal review, but this is a mistake. If an employee reaction requires feedback, offer it within a day or two. If it’s positive, your timely comments will reinforce good behavior. If it’s negative, you’ll help to prevent repeat offenses.

6. Focus on Performance, Not Personality

This is so important because it lessens the likelihood that your employee will take your comments personally. For example, rather than saying something like, “You’re so careless” to a team member, which is an attack on their personality, you might offer feedback on their performance, like, “I appreciate that you turn in reports so quickly, but they often contain many minor errors. I know that if you could take a bit more time to proofread before turning them in, they would be much better.”

7. End Well

Find something good to say. Even if your sole purpose for giving an employee feedback is to get him or her to improve in one or many ways, end your comments with something positive that the employee has done. This helps foster feelings of recognition and appreciation, even if there’s lots of improvement to be made in other areas.
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If you’re interested in setting up a Williams Recognition program at your office, or if you'd like to find out more about what Williams Recognition programs can do for your company, call them toll-free at 1-877-562-6501.
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