Without feedback from you, your employees would never know how they’re doing. But how can you and your managers provide feedback in the most effective way? Here are 10 tips for giving employees feedback that gets results.
Tips for Giving Positive Feedback
- Provide positive feedback frequently. Don’t save positive feedback only for the annual performance review. The more often you provide genuine positive feedback, the more valued and engaged your employees will feel. Make a point to look for things your employees do right and praise them.
- Give employees positive feedback in front of others. When you praise someone in front of the rest of the team, it not only gives that person an ego boost, but also helps show your other employees what behaviors you value.
- Be specific about what the employee is doing right. When you give vague, general feedback such as “Good job,” employees may not know exactly they did right. Instead, offer specific feedback, such as, “I really like how you handled that angry customer by listening to her and remaining calm.”
Tips for Giving Constructive Feedback
- Always give constructive feedback in private. If you point out what they did wrong in front of other employees, people feel attacked and get defensive.
- Make sure you are calm. Don’t give an employee constructive feedback when you’re visibly upset.
- Show the person you care. Make sure the employee knows your feedback is intended to be helpful by phrasing it in a caring way. “Steve, I noticed something about your work at the register that I’d like you to do a little differently next time. Can I share that with you?”
- Explain the behavior you witnessed and why the behavior is a problem. To avoid seeming accusatory, focus on how the behavior affects others and the business as a whole. For example, “When you don’t make eye contact with customers while ringing up their transactions, they may feel like you’re not paying attention to them.”
- Share specific steps for improvement. What would you like the employee to do differently next time? What will that accomplish? “I think it would help if you could be sure to smile and make eye contact at the beginning of each transaction.”
- Confirm that the employee understands your feedback, and get his or her agreement to change the behavior. “Is that something you think you could do?”
- Follow up. Pay attention to the employee’s behavior in the days and weeks after delivering the feedback. When you see improvement, provide positive feedback right away. This helps the new behavior become natural.
Whether it’s positive or constructive, the timing of your feedback is important, too. Feedback is most effective when it occurs as soon as possible after the behavior you want to change or reward. If you wait too long, employees won’t remember what they did.