How To Provide Effective Feedback To Employees
Providing feedback to your staff is a hugely important aspect of being a business leader - but it can also be a very tricky one, particularly when you’re raising criticisms.
However, with a clear and structured approach to delivering feedback, you can make the process much more constructive (and much less awkward) for everyone involved.
When you deliver feedback in the right way, you’ll find that it leads to more productive outcomes that benefit all team members, rather than feeling like a chore. Let’s take a look at how you can provide quality feedback that’s clear, valuable, and action-oriented.
Prepare specific points for discussion
Preparation is vital for a successful feedback session, so make sure that you’re coming to a meeting with clear talking points, considered recommendations, and plans for improvement.
Not only will rigorous preparation enable you to deliver specific feedback, but it will also help your staff to feel valued, which is extremely important for a productive conversation.
The key word here is ‘specific’. Vague feedback will be difficult for your employees to act on, so whether you’re discussing positive or negative points, always be as specific as possible when referencing events or observations.
Don’t overlook the positives
It’s very easy to become overly focused on negative talking points when providing feedback, particularly if something needs to be urgently changed or improved.
However, if you don’t want employee morale to drop, you’ll need to make sure you’re balancing constructive criticism with positive acknowledgement.
Praise your staff for specific projects, tasks, or responsibilities they’ve handled well. This doesn’t need to be over-the-top or patronising, but positive feedback can make a massive difference to the confidence and receptivity of your workers.
Lay out a clear roadmap for the future
Effective feedback needs to be action-oriented, so whenever you’re discussing performance with your staff, make sure that you’re very clear about how this feedback can be taken forward, implemented, and measured.
The first thing to do is highlight specific routes for improvement. Set out clear and realistic benchmarks/milestones that your employees can track to gauge how much they’re developing.
Secondly, always arrange for timely follow-ups with your staff. This will give workers something to aim for - it could be a formal performance review, or a quick check-in before the next appraisal to make sure that everything is on track.
Whenever you’re sharing a criticism or suggestion, always ensure that you’re making expectations clear, and providing employees with the information they need to improve.
Be open to responses, opinions, and questions
If you want your staff to feel engaged with your feedback and open to suggestions, make sure that the meeting feels like a two-way street.
Be ready to provide specific examples, answer difficult questions, and share honest recommendations.
Try not to overload employees with information - let them process what you’re saying, and encourage them to share their perspectives. By making a feedback session feel more like a conversation (and less like a lecture) you’ll instantly create a collaborative atmosphere, which is ideal for nurturing talent and motivating your staff to improve.
Delivering direct feedback to employees doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but following these best practices will make the process much easier.
Just focus on preparing effectively for feedback sessions, sharing clear and specific talking points, and helping your staff to flourish in their roles.
If you’d like more guidance on providing constructive feedback or managing your workforce, don’t hesitate to get in touch. At Barclay Meade, we specialise in helping employers to attract, retain, and nurture the best talent in their industries.
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