How Do I Provide Effective Feedback to my Employees?

effective feedbackIn a recent study by Officevibe on the  "Statistics On The Importance Of Employee Feedback" it was reported that 65% of employees wanted more feedback and that 14.9% lower turnover rates can be experienced in companies that implement regular feedback activities.

So, if feedback is truly that important how can you be sure that you are giving effective feedback to your employees that with motivate and engage them?

I'm sure you have either heard or uttered the following when giving feedback, we all have:

“If you don’t hear from me, then you are doing just fine.”

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

“A self-motivated employee really does not need any feedback.”

“If I provide any positive feedback, my employees will just slack off.”

You certainly are not alone. But here's some feedback for you: you could be creating an environment that will demoralize and demotivate your employees.

For a person to grow they need feedback; positive feedback to reinforce all the beneficial contributions and impact they have had as an employee and constructive feedback to redirect what is not working well.  If someone is working in a vacuum of “feedbacklessness” it is likely their flame of productivity will simply extinguish and any poor behaviors or sub-par performance habits will continue.

Providing effective feedback is critical for each employee's personal growth and the success of your team. 

As a leader, the growth and development of the people on your team is one of the most important roles you have and real growth can only happen if you are providing appropriate reinforcement and effective feedback.

Effective feedback should be:

  1. Intentional: You should be aware of the actions and behaviors of your employees to reinforce or redirect as needed.
  2. Specific: Specify the actions, behaviors and results you want to reinforce or redirect.
  3. Proactive: Schedule regular discussions to check in on issues and provide positive reinforcement. Also, provide on-the-job feedback to immediately resolve an issue or provide well-deserved praise.
  4. Sincere: Sincerity will build the trust that is required for feedback to be meaningful to an employee.

Effective Feedback should not be:

  • Vague: Being too general about what is being reinforce or redirected can only cause confusion and may make the issue worse.
  • Emotional: Maintain professionalism and don't let emotions get involved otherwise the employee may feel personally attacked.
  • Reactive: Providing feedback only when and because it is required (i.e. only during the annual review HR requires you to complete) is ineffective and will not provide benefits for anyone involved.
  • Artificial: Feigning sincerity inhibits any real intention to truly benefit the employee.

The following is an example of sincere, proactive, effective feedback from a manager:

“I regularly hear from your employees that they truly believe you always have their best interest in mind by regularly showing them genuine appreciation for their successes and contributions, but you are also willing to provide them “tough love” if they need to hear something they could improve on or should change.  Your team is consistently out performing others and I would like for you to help our company create and reinforce a similar culture with other teams. As a result I would to offer you a position of…"

As a manager and leader, establishing a culture of consistent reinforcement and constructive feedback in an honest, sincere and supportive manner is a gift that will significantly increase the development of your team members, along with their ability to positively impact the achievement of your organizational goals and objectives.

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