We recently discussed the topic of feedback and outlined some of the basics regarding the importance of providing feedback that aligns with the goals of the individual and the organization. As feedback can often have negative connotations and can be associated with nonconstructive criticism, it is important to learn how to give feedback in an efficient and effective manner that best benefits both the employer and the employee.
The majority of employees genuinely want to know how they are doing in their jobs and goal setting once a year simply doesn’t cut it. Adult learners and workers learn the best when information is provided and applied immediately. If you have an employee who made a mistake, waiting two months to discuss the situation with them is not effective. Feedback regarding performance relies heavily on memory, and timely feedback is imperative. Productive and efficient feedback, whether discussing performance issues or praising an employee on a job well done, requires frequent and immediate communication.
In addition to ensuring that you provide your employees with regular and timely feedback (on both the good and the bad), you need to make certain that the feedback you are giving is not vague and unclear. Comments like “You need to improve on your performance” are ineffective as the employee is not provided with guidance as to how to change. Part of being an effective manager entails coaching your employees to perform to the best of their abilities. If problems arise, do your best to sit with the employee and discuss your concerns and help them understand the issue, work with them to develop steps towards rectifying the situation, and be clear in your expectations for future performance.
This type of constructive feedback (not criticism) can help boost morale and confidence amongst your employees. When feedback is given as a form of punishment, when the manager is yelling and criticizing out of anger, the results are rarely positive. When feedback is clear and is not given as a form of punishment, employees can apply the feedback and will likely do everything they can to meet the expectations required of them.
When provided in a constructive manner, feedback can be a useful tool for managers to help their employees learn from past mistakes, to encourage their workers to improve their performance and working style, and can help everyone strive to achieve better results. Employees being receptive to feedback is vital for the success of an organization. Only when they welcome and accept feedback can they learn to perform at their peak levels and can truly succeed in what they do.