Providing constructive feedback is a critical part of improving employee performance. It helps create a supportive and positive work environment that promotes growth, learning, and improvement. Employees who feel supported in their professional development are more productive and they’re also more likely to stick around. So how do you make sure that your feedback is constructive? Here are our six top tips:
1. Use positive language.
Feedback is more effective when it’s delivered with positive language. Whilst there may be some ‘negative’ aspects to the feedback you’re providing, take care to balance it by highlighting strengths. For example, ‘Your customer service is excellent, keep up the good work. I have noticed though, you may be struggling to meet your sales objectives, so I’m wondering how we could better support you.’
2. Be clear and concise.
Providing vague feedback can leave an employee feeling confused. Make sure you’re clear and concise when giving feedback so the employee understands exactly what they need to do to improve. Providing specific actions that the employee can take to improve performance ensures they know how to move forward.
3. Focus on behaviour, not personality.
If you want to get the best out of your employees, your feedback should focus on behaviour and performance – not personality. Stay focused on the job-related tasks and the challenges around those. For example, if an employee keeps skipping weekly team meetings that are critical to meeting project deadlines. It is better to explain why their attendance is important. Talk about the value of their contribution and that collaboration and connecting with the team will keep the project moving, rather than berating them for simply not showing up.
4. Provide a toolkit for improvement.
It’s your job to provide an employee with the tools they need for improvement, so go armed with ideas and suggestions. Perhaps an employee could benefit from more training or attending an external course. Or maybe they simply need more support within the workplace. Provide specific suggestions on how the employee can improve their performance and offer solutions that will help them achieve their goals.
5. Encourage discussion.
Delivering constructive feedback means making room for employee input and discussion. Understanding any issues or challenges an employee has is a crucial part of empowering your people to be their best. Encourage employees to ask questions and share their perspective. This will help them feel more engaged in the feedback process and will give you a better understanding of their needs and challenges.
6. Follow up.
Constructive feedback goes beyond one session. Checking in with each employee, regularly, ensures they’re on track for improvement and provides an opportunity to discuss any pain points. It may be that things have changed in the company – or that the original plan is no longer working. Regular communication will ensure that professional development stays on track.
A workplace where people receive constructive feedback can pay dividends. As well as promoting open communication, it can help build trust and establish a more collaborative workplace. When employees receive well thought out constructive feedback, with an action plan for improvement, they feel appreciated. That can boost their morale, job satisfaction and company productivity.
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