The process of giving employee feedback is one of the most important tasks in your role as team manager. Doing it in an effective way in terms of the impact of the message but also in terms of the general work environment is not easy, and requires different types of skills from both the manager and employee. In this post, we outline some key points to keep in mind when it comes to giving employee feedback to your team members.
Why is employee feedback important?
Giving feedback at work is not just a matter of passing on comments as if we were giving an opinion out loud without paying any attention to what we are saying. On the contrary, it is a relatively complex exchange that has to do with the type of communication between managers and employees as well as with the needs and expectations of the latter. In other words, it is something that speaks of the relationship between two people who have to work together in the best possible way.
Therefore, employee feedback has at least three important advantages that you should take into account if you are in charge of leading it:
1. Performance enhancement
It is your number one objective and also the first point at which the task of giving employee feedback can fail. Not only do people need to be complimented, but we also need to be told what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong in order to have a guide on how to behave at work and what practices to keep or discard. Giving feedback to your employees is not about bringing them down or exerting power over them, but about helping them work better.
2. Improves the relationship
Perhaps there are times -especially when the feedback given to employees is negative– when certain conversations are tense and uncomfortable.
However, if you are serious about employee feedback and are fortunate enough that they take the message for what it is, it can be an opportunity to get to know each other better, bring people closer together and exchange messages that can enrich the connection between the two of you.
3. Strengthens employee engagement
When employees receive useful and well-expressed feedback from their supervisor, they also implicitly receive the message that their way of doing things matters and that the company has confidence in their ability to carry out the duties assigned to them.
This can have a positive impact on the level of commitment employees establish towards the company.
What is the most effective way to give feedback to your employees?
There is no magic formula that can be applied one hundred percent of the time to one hundred percent of the people in one hundred percent of the companies when it comes to giving employee feedback.
However, those who are in charge of this task can take into account some general suggestions that they can apply to the process of giving feedback to the people they work with. For example:
1. Give specific examples
Vague and ambiguous statements generate mistrust and insecurity among employees and are not a useful tool when giving employee feedback.
On the contrary, concrete examples help clarify the message you want to convey and prevent employees’ imagination or susceptibility from giving rise to inappropriate interpretations of the feedback they are receiving.
2. Don’t get personal
We know that there is no real distinction between what we call personal and what we call professional. Still, when giving feedback to your employees it is important that your language is directed at the nature of the facts and results rather than the nature of the person who produces them, especially when the feedback is negative.
Honest praise for who we are never hurts, but an attack on who we are (“you’re irresponsible”, “you’re immature”) can be received in a very hostile manner and is never helpful, but damaging to the employee’s emotional well-being and to what we intend when we give them feedback on their performance.
3. Use a cordial and didactic tone
A good leader does not need to scold or be unfriendly when giving feedback to employees. On the contrary, it is much more effective to seek the attention and cooperation of these people if we really want to give them comments, instructions, or opinions.
4. Use praise well
Do not give empty or excessive praise, as it loses strength. Praise is fine, whether it is directed at performance or at personal qualities (responsibility, commitment, good skills, good ideas, speed, etc.). However, if they are offered in a decontextualized, exaggerated, or frequent manner, they lose strength and end up being counterfeit. It is therefore important to know how to use them, especially when we use them to complement less favorable feedback.
5. Offer alternatives
When giving feedback to your employees you must not forget to provide them with correct alternatives when you point out defects or errors in performance. Tell the employee what to do, what would have been the right thing to do, not just what went wrong.
6. Do not give negative feedback in front of others
Giving feedback to your employees sometimes means that one person gets criticized while others get praised. In neither case is it entirely comfortable to receive feedback in front of colleagues, but be especially careful when giving negative feedback to a particular employee. Doing so in front of other team members, especially if it is a harsh comment, can be humiliating for that person and generate vulnerability, as well as make others uncomfortable. Try to use discretion when giving feedback at work.
Emotional well-being for companies
At ifeel, we understand that it is not possible to take care of the company without taking care of the psychological well-being of its employees. To do so, we have an emotional well-being program for companies, designed by our team of occupational well-being psychologists with one main objective: to help companies place employee health at the center of their strategy to build their mission statement.
Thanks to this partnership, the people in charge of HR departments can receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to make good decisions in a company to get the most out of the teams they are in charge of and take better care of the psychological well-being of the people in them.
Moreover, this program offers employees a holistic mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. This service includes, if required, online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases like theirs. Try our program today so you can see how it could help you.
We hope you have found this post about how to provide effective employee feedback useful. If you want more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible.