When it comes to effectively managing employees and getting the best out of them, there are several strategies you can adopt as an employer. Feedback is one of them. It’s a management tool that can motivate employees and encourage resolving long-standing challenges in an organization.
Several studies by various organizations show that employees thrive on the feedback from their managers and resent a lack of it. Beyond the annual performance review that many companies carry out on their workforce, giving regular feedback is necessary to pinpoint areas where employees need to improve.
However, as simple as this subject might look, it can be nerve-racking for many employers and managers. The reason for this isn’t far-fetched – they are often torn between getting their messages across and protecting the recipients’ feelings to avoid resentment. In most cases, they choose the latter, a decision that comes with negative implications.
While withholding feedback portends great danger for your company, delivering it also requires tact. How you provide feedback significantly determines the impact it will have on its recipient. It has to be a constructive one to achieve the desired result.
How to Deliver Constructive Employee Feedback
Feedback is an essential employee management tool required to foster employees’ professional growth, promote communication, and strengthen relationships within the workplace. However, it must be constructively delivered to achieve the desired impact. In other words, it must be fact-based and solution-oriented.
Constructive feedback is devoid of heavy criticism and targeted at the recipient’s growth. Read the following paragraphs to see five ways to provide employees constructive feedback.
1. Build Trust with Employees
One of the easiest ways to deliver constructive feedback that will be acceptable and effective is to build a culture of trust within the workplace. Employees need to trust the sincerity of their manager’s intentions; you need to show that you’re not trying to downplay their efforts. To achieve this, you have to be a true leader, one that listens, acknowledges their own mistakes, and carries their employees along.
Once they see these attributes in you, it’s easier for them to see you as a friend that means well for them, thereby making them receptive to your feedback and working on improving themselves where necessary.
2. Prepare for It
Feedback is an essential tool for workplace growth and long-term success. Employees see it as a way to appraise performance and productivity. Therefore, they take it seriously, and so should you. Like any other significant meeting on your schedule, delivering constructive feedback is a task for which you must prepare adequately.
Since it is fact-based and solution-oriented, you’re expected to do your research, align the figures, and check references before concluding. When you do this, you would have no trouble addressing issues and proffering solutions.
3. Avoid Focusing Solely on the Negative
Feedback is an avenue to let employees know what they think about their work, aspects that need improvements, and how they can initiate much-needed changes towards attaining organizational goals. While it’s bound to have a corrective tone to it at some point, you must not make that the sole point of focus.
Avoid stressing too much on tasks they didn’t execute well. Instead, create a balance by acknowledging their good performances and identifying areas where you think they would achieve better results if they revised their strategy.
4. Make It a Regular and Continuous Exercise
For employee feedback to be constructive and effective, it must be delivered timely and regularly. Many managers and employers often refrain from giving feedback until the end-of-the-year employee performance appraisal. This practice is wrong.
Problems are best tackled when they’re fresh and have not escalated. Waiting until employee appraisal to dish out feedback can be unproductive and create unnecessary tension in the workplace. It also promotes miscommunication between managers and employers, which is unhealthy for everyone involved.
5. Focus on the Performance, Not the Personality
Constructive feedback addresses the performance of a worker, not their personality. When reverse is the case, it becomes toxic. Understandably, things can be pretty tense when delivering negative feedback. However, it must remain what it is; feedback, not criticism. What should be a productive discussion about work should not degenerate into a battle of personal issues.
The discussion should be private and targeted at the employee’s professional growth and achievement of organizational goals. Anything short of that can be counterproductive.
Giving constructive feedback isn’t a walk in the park. It’s one of the most challenging tasks for managers and employers. It has to be delivered in a way that sends the message across without anybody’s feelings getting hurt, which isn’t easy considering the fickle nature of humans.
However, when approached correctly, providing constructive feedback is one of the most effective ways to ensure employees’ professional growth and the achievement of organization goals. It encourages good behaviours, boosts confidence, and enhance mutual trust.