Effective feedback is highly beneficial to business. Delivering feedback however is not something everyone is comfortable with.
Studies have shown that effective feedback not only benefits your bottom line but also keeps employees more engaged with their work, removes complacency, increases retention and improves performance.
So when delivering feedback, what are the most important points to remember?
Make it regular – by making it part of your process and setting a regular time to meet, you are establishing an open culture and creating a space for feedback to be given and received. This will also make it far less of an issue should more pressing points have to be raised.
Keep it brief – don’t reserve your feedback for quarterly/annual reviews, it is far more beneficial to offer bite-sized chunks which will make the process less painful for both parties, thus addressing any issues as soon as they arise. The only exception to this is when emotions are running high and you may need to leave a suitable amount of time before communication can begin effectively.
Be specific and task-focused – providing specific feedback not only makes it easier for your employees to understand, it also makes it easier for you to measure if the feedback is being actioned. Examples are much more helpful than generalisations, so rather than telling someone ‘You need to speak up more in meetings’ offer positive and specific advice such as ‘Your input is valuable. I want you to voice your opinion at least once in the next meeting.’ Or ‘You haven’t been performing well lately’ should be ‘Your performance was lower than normal and I know you’re capable of producing better results, let’s discuss how we can improve your performance and put measures in place.’
Put yourself in their shoes – think about how you would want to receive feedback. Give feedback during a one-on-one meeting and don’t criticize publicly. Make it honest and fair and be as straightforward as possible. It’s okay to be tough, but don’t be mean.
Follow up – after you have given feedback always follow up to see if the employee is meeting the goals that you have set. This will help keep track of any progress and can be used in future performance reviews. Just because you have had the conversation, don’t assume you’re done!
Mastering the art and process of conducting difficult conversations whilst delivering meaningful praise is an important part of a manager's job and when done well both you and your business will reap the rewards.
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