3 Tips for Giving Effective Feedback in the Workplace
Effective feedback is critical to an employee’s development and in maintaining alignment between their success and the company’s broader business goals. Through feedback, positive behaviors can be reinforced and areas for improvement can be addressed to help guide employees towards optimal behaviors. Furthermore, in a recent survey conducted by Gallup, it was found that 4 out of every 10 workers are actively disengaged when they receive little or no feedback.
The response to this should be simple: managers should be building ongoing feedback into their routines. Yet, according to a poll commissioned by Interact, a whopping 37% of managers report being uncomfortable giving feedback to their employees. This discomfort leads to feedback not being shared with the employee, which turns into a missed opportunity for both the employee and the company. Providing effective feedback can be a painless task, if kept simple.
The three key components to delivering feedback effectively are to make it timely, specific and continuous.
The closer to the situation provoking the feedback, the better. If the situation is still fresh in the minds of both the giver and receiver of the feedback, it’s easier for both parties to connect the feedback with the actions. Constructive feedback should be provided immediately in order to reduce the odds that another problem will arise as the employee is likely unaware there’s a behavior they should correct.
Provide specific, objective feedback so there’s no confusion surrounding what’s being communicated. This holds true whether you’re delivering positive or constructive feedback. If an employee has done something well, you’ll want to detail what they did well to reinforce the desired behavior. If you’re providing constructive feedback, you’ll want to be as clear as possible, so the recipient can turn it into actionable next steps.
Feedback should be a regular, ongoing process between manager and employee. Having a continuous feedback loop supports the development of employees by providing specific, actionable feedback in real time. If the employee did something well, they’ll know how to handle similar situations to achieve another positive outcome. If you’re providing constructive feedback, it allows the employee an opportunity to correct or improve performance immediately, rather than allowing months of underperformance to go by unaddressed.
Giving feedback doesn’t just benefit the employee – it benefits the company, too. So next time there’s an opportunity to provide feedback to an employee on a job well done, or something that went awry, try applying these principles. You should notice a more engaged employee and an improvement in your organization's overall performance.
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