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5 Tips to Make Feedback Better

by Jody Ordioni

Feedback is often interchangeably used in place of constructive criticism. This method of employee engagement praises the employee for a job done well, while also suggesting methods of improvement in the future. Continuous improvement finds its basis in the fact that there is always something to be improved for the next task. However, constantly reminding employees that they should improve is bad for morale. The mark of positive and good feedback is that it incentivizes the employees to put in their best efforts, instead of discouraging them by sounding reproachful. Some key strategies are:

Learn to Listen First

Since the experience of approaching feedback is not the same for everyone, start by asking your employees about their preferences. There is a possibility that some might not be able to articulate their need well because they have never been asked before or don’t know due to their inexperience. Ease your employees into the process by providing them a template wherein they can fill in their preferred mode of feedback, such as formal or informal, impromptu or scheduled. This allows HR to properly craft feedback conversation and learn how employees process the feedback they receive.

Balance the Positives and Negatives

Delivering not-so-positive feedback is a joy to no one. While constructive criticism is not bad, there should be a greater focus on constructive conversation or constructive coaching. Even if there are problems to be discussed, the feedback should highlight the positives and emphasize the strength of the employee. A balance should be struck in the ratio of positive and negative assessment. While there is no specific formula to a positive review, it is seen that higher performing employees are tuned to listen to more positive comments in their feedback reports.

High Performers Should Not Be Ignored

It is tempting to focus your efforts on employees who seem to need coaching for improvement in their job. Often underperforming employees need help in juggling deadlines, meeting their personal goals, or require support in challenging situations. However, high performers, even if they consistently produce exceptional results, benefit from the feedback of their leaders. Even the employee who performs well and sets the bar for others to match requires recognition and encouragement. They deserve to be motivated through positive conversations and feedback too.

Feedback Delivered in Time

Suppose after a theater performance ends, the audience waits 5 minutes to break into applause. The cast members are left wondering about their performance. Feedback on job performance works in the same manner. If the delivery takes too long, then it is natural to assume that something is amiss. The employee might start feeling that their performance was not good enough. The buffer time should be avoided whenever possible and the feedback should be provided immediately. Real-time feedback is not only important to employees, but it is also necessary for the managers as they can communicate the critical areas for improvement without forgetting any relevant detail.

Concentrate on the Team

The success of the managers depends upon the success of their team and helping their team to achieve the assigned goal. Working for the team first implies that a leader has to help the employees understand how their individual efforts connect to the overall objective of the company. The company strategy has to be explained to the departments and subordinates and personal efforts have to be aligned with it. To be successful in these efforts, it is important to understand how feedback motivates the employees. Earn the trust of your employees by lending them a hand to improve their learning and career growth.

The Bottom Line

Giving feedback to employees contributes to their personal growth as well as the organizational growth. The managers should treat every employee as a distinct individual and should plan the delivery of feedback accordingly.

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