When you are the manager, HR, or Recruitment officer, one of your fundamental responsibilities is to give feedback to your team of employees. Feedback is vital for the success of any business. However, giving feedback, whether positive or negative, is not an easy task. It requires creativity and a specific set of skills for it to be received well by the employees. It helps them to recognize their mistakes, know how to make amends, and encourage them to reach their full potential.
Below are some creative ways to give feedback to your employees.
Make it a face to face conversation
Once you have noticed an employee's behavior or performance that needs your feedback, it is natural to feel the urge to address it right there and then or even in public. Whether it is praising an employee or criticizing poor performance, don't do it publicly or in writing. Not everyone likes being the center of attraction. Some, who used to work from home, SAHM, independent entrepreneurs, etc., who are accustomed to face-to-face communication will not perceive communication in public.
If you want the employee to receive it well and act on the comments, schedule a one-on-one session. It can be in your office or over a cup of coffee.
The way you ask the employee to see you should be framed in a manner that doesn't cause them to feel nervous or have a negative attitude towards the conversation even before it begins.
Ask them to see you in a manner that leaves them relaxed and looking forward to the meeting. Be direct and try to be informal. You should, however, avoid beating around the bush.
Begin the conversation by acknowledging the areas they are doing well. It gives a clear understanding of what you expect from them and also boosts their confidence.
If you want to give negative feedback from there on, don't use words such as 'but' or 'although' to join or balance the positive with the negative. Point out that you want to help the employee perform better or develop their skills.
You can then give the negative feedback but don't be too critical about it. Additionally, when it comes to the end of your comments, remember to end on a positive tone. The employees will take it positively and be willing to change.
Feedback needs to be very specific and clear. It means you need to do better than telling the employee 'not too bad'. Give a more helpful context that will help the employee move forward in the right direction.
Giving vague feedback such as 'move it to the next level' or 'you can do better' leaves the employee confused, frustrated, and leads to multiple rounds of revision. The meaning of 'better' to you is not the same as that of your workers.
Thus, to save time and ensure you are on the same page with your employees, be clear on what you need them to do. You can use tangible examples to pinpoint the kind of improvement you want.
Focus on one problem at a time
If you want the employees to see the point of your comments, don't overwhelm them with multiple issues at once. Focus on one behavior or performance at a time to avoid confusing the employees.
Overloading them with feedback on several areas only leads to confusion and multiple revisions. Determine what area to target first. Once the employee has made improvements, move to the next area.
Focus on behavior, not the individual
When addressing a problem regarding performance or behavior, check your emotions first. Don't attack personal traits as your way of addressing the issue. Be objective and keep your focus on the performance issue at hand.
You should look for ways to fix the current employee's performance situation and not their personality. Give an impartial observation and keep your personal opinion about the issue in check. It will help you to give feedback that promotes your business goals and your employees' confidence.
Give feedback promptly and regularly
Nip issues while they are still in the bud. In other words, don't wait for too long before giving feedback about an observation. Taking time before addressing an imminent issue might lead to the problem escalating or being forgotten.
If you want to increase motivation, performance, and engagement, don't wait until the employees' quarterly performance appraisal to give feedback. Give a reaction quickly and as regularly as possible.
Daily or weekly feedback is more powerful and makes tracking and analyzing easier. Therefore, if an employee has done something that needs an appraisal, comment when things are still fresh. You will get a more productive workforce.
Find solutions together by encouraging dialogue
Now that you have aired all your areas of concern, allow the employees to respond to them so that they can also air their point of view. Encourage them to ask or answer questions as it will help them process your feedback and also perform a self-assessment.
At this point, your job is to listen and respond to their questions. Don't look surprised if the employee ideas form part of the solution.
Do a follow-up and recognize achievements
Don't drop a bomb of feedback and leave. Once you have given the feedback, ensure everyone understands it. Give them space to act on it. If they implement the change effectively, acknowledge their achievements. It will make them feel motivated to remain on the right track.
Find out if some employees are struggling to implement the changes, then look for ways to address their challenges. It is the best way to achieve business goals quickly and effectively.
There is no magic pill for giving feedback creatively. Nevertheless, giving feedback is a part of your job that you can't ignore. The employees are always looking forward to it to know where to improve and sharpen their skills. Sometimes, it will require you to practice either with a partner or in front of a mirror to master the skill of giving feedback.
With the help of the above 8 tips, you will create a communicative work environment where employees are confident, motivated, and focused on achieving the company's goal and theirs as well. It will lead to a more productive business and have increased employee retention rates.
Dylan Menders is a psychologist and PR manager. He is interested in research in the field of marketing psychology and client psychology. He is running several sites and is an expert writer in hiring professionals for his company.