Constructive feedback is the key to professional development and optimized performance. While employees want more of it, managers are often hesitant to provide constructive criticism to their workers, and not without reason. Giving feedback is a delicate process. There is a fine line between helping employees grow and discouraging them. As an HR manager, you must understand how to provide constructive feedback. But don’t worry, in this blog post, we will be giving you tips to help your employees improve and grow.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Different Types of Feedback
Employees want to know if they are meeting expectations and are on the right track in reaching the organization’s objectives. Constructive feedback provides your staff members with insight that can help them improve. There are four types of feedback. You can use these to address a situation or behavior that needs to be praised or prevented.
- Negative feedback: You can use this type of feedback to evaluate a negative occurrence that has happened in the past. It will help prevent the same instance from happening again in the future.
- Positive feedback: You can use this type of feedback to praise a positive occurrence that has happened in the past. While it should not be overused, it will help continue these good happenings in the future.
- Negative feedforward: You can use this type of feedback to put a stop to negative behavior and actions.
- Positive feedforward: You can use this type of feedback to encourage positive behavior and actions.
How to Structure Constructive Feedback
There are different approaches to providing constructive feedback. However, the following steps are needed to ensure that the criticism or praise you are giving is helpful to the employee.
- Preparation: Schedule a one-to-one or team meeting and be clear about the subject of the conversation.
- Communication: Be specific when it comes to the constructive feedback you are providing. Whether the message is going to be positive or negative, you have to make sure that it is sincere and encouraging.
- Conclusion: Close the conversation on a positive note. Your employees should leave the meeting feeling confident and supported.
Regular Feedback is Vital
Feedback is the basis for personal and professional development and allows employees to be aware of what is happening around them. Connecting to their surroundings they can identify new opportunities and improvements in their day to day.
An employee with no feedback by their superior is a lost employee and will end up isolated from the company’s goals. If there’s one thing we know for sure, is that nowadays companies are in constant change and there’s nothing certain. The only way to remove this feeling of uncertainty from the employee is to let them know everything that concerns them and the company so they can change and adapt.
How to Give Feedback to an Employee
There’s no exact formula to this. We are talking about humans, not machines, and every person is different to the next. We are going to give you some advice based on our experience but you should always trust your instincts, in the end you are the one who knows your employees best.
These are our tips to how we maintain a strong and cohesive team in Factorial. Maybe not all of them will be of use to you, but we are sure they’ll help you to figure out the right path for you.
1. Focus on the problem, not the person.
This goes both ways, positive and negative. Focus on the actions of the employee not their personality. Feedback should be used to modify procedures not the person. You have the best talent in your team, you just need to help them achieve their full potential.
2. Make it something between you two.
Feedback can be given in public, but it would be better if you gave it on private one-on-ones or small meetings so it could be more personal. This way you can better understand your employee’s situation and will be able to deepen each point without the employee feeling pressured.
3. Back your words with data
The best way for a person to understand what you are trying to say is with data to confirm those ideas. When possible offer specific data and objectives to your employees so they can better understand the impact and scale of your feedback. Is the best way for the both of you to be on the same page.
4. Don’t focus just on the negative
There will always be things to improve, but perfection doesn’t exist. Don’t focus these one-on-ones just on the negatives, talk about the good things the employee has achieved and what has already improved.
5. Don’t digress
Feedback must be precise or it will be useless. Explain the situation you want to illustrate and why it is important for the company and the employee. If you can’t make the employee see your point and why it is so important you won’t have their attention nor their support. Success is a team effort.
6. The company has its goals, the employee has them too.
It is obvious you need people committed to the company’s vision but don’t forget your employees have their own goals. Professional and personal development, learning new things, gaining new responsibilities, etc. In these private meetings you can try to find common ground to achieve a common goal.
7. Feedback goes both ways
It’s good to always listen to the employee too. Ask for their own feedback and you’ll know what they think and how everything works for them. Without their input you won’t be able to really improve situations or solve any problems.
8. Get conclusions and answers
It’s important to summarize in key points each meeting and take the needed actions to solve and improve what has been talked about. If you can’t unlock a situation the employee may end up with no motivation and even end up leaving the company.
Some Final Tips
Create a Safe and Open Environment
To spark change, the employee must feel comfortable. It is essential to allow an open conversation where both parties can express their thoughts and work towards a solution. Additionally, you must find the right balance between providing positive and negative feedback. If your feedback focuses too much on the negative, it can cause an adverse reaction where the employee feels threatened and criticized. In the end, the goal of the conversation is not to attack but to encourage.
Body Language Matters
People are very perceptive and sensitive to the smallest details. Even if they can’t put it into words, your employees will pick up on everything you say and do. Sometimes the “how you do it” is even more important. This is why it’s important to know a bit about body language. Send a message of respect and openness with the way you position yourself during feedback. Sit facing your colleague with your feet flat on the ground and your face turned toward them. Don’t fidget with any distracting objects on the table. Last, but not least, make eye contact with your employee and listen actively to what they are saying.
Find the Right Time
While it is not necessary to micro-manage the daily work activities of your employees, it is advisable to give constructive feedback on a regular basis. If you wait too long, the problems will increase, and your feedback will become less effective. Make sure to plan reviews and meetings routinely to discuss performance and prevent issues.
Ask Employees For Feedback
Constructive feedback goes both ways. To create a level of mutual respect and trust, you must be open to receive criticism yourself. By allowing employees the opportunity to share their thoughts, you stimulate a culture of feedback. After all, there is always room for improvement.