Slips happen! How to recover from making mistakes at work
We know that making mistakes at work can feel frustrating or even embarrassing. Whether you make…
What is employee feedback and why is it important?
Employee feedback works as a way to connect the managers of an organization with the employee experience and job satisfaction of their teams.
Employee feedback can be informal or instant feedback (like a simple “great work!” after a team member’s presentation), a pulse survey that you send on a regular basis to stay on top of things, or even the time you take to have regular one-on-ones with your team.
Whichever the circumstance, employee feedback is proven to be a great step to help managers improve employee engagement and motivation.
According to Officevibe’s data, managers who nurture a culture of feedback also have a high chance of positively influencing a culture where employees feel they can voice their opinion and innovate.
So, when exactly should you be giving feedback? And how can you make sure your feedback is effective? To help you out, we’ve outlined 3 important tips to master your delivery and offer some real-life examples of effective employee feedback for different situations.
According to our pulse employee survey data, 17% of employees say that the feedback they receive isn’t specific.
Feedback shouldn’t be arbitrary. For it to be useful and impactful, it has to be focused on what a person did (as opposed to who they are as a person) and on the outcome of their actions. An overlooked key focus of effective feedback are the next steps. Employee feedback must be applicable in the future for it to be worth sharing. The goal of feedback should always be to help the other person improve.
Feedback should be a two-way conversation. You and your employee should work together to uncover learnings and apply them to future projects. This is where you can take on the role of a coach, creating a culture of ongoing employee development.
Be open to your employee’s take on the situation and be willing to hear them out. The best way to do this is to always follow feedback with an open-ended question. Just as important as giving employee feedback, is getting employee feedback. You want to build open lines of communication to understand how your team feels, and for them to share feedback with you when they have it. Practice asking employees “do you have any feedback for me?” more often, until it becomes a habit.
Managers need feedback, too
You can develop a culture of feedback on your team by asking for it on a regular basis. Officevibe’s Employee Feedback tool helps managers collect meaningful insights from their team—and even supports you in crafting a response.
Officevibe pulse survey data shows that 28% of employees feel that the frequency of feedback they receive is not enough to help them understand how they can improve.
In the fast-paced modern workforce, you need to develop a habit of employee feedback exchanges with your team that goes beyond their annual performance review. Frequent coaching has proven to be a gamechanger for intrinsic motivation, employee engagement, and improvement of overall employee experience.
Recurring one-on-one meetings are a great opportunity to give employee feedback on a regular basis. The Officevibe one-on-one software lets you and your employee set talking points in advance in a shared agenda, so you both know what you’ll discuss. Plus, you can set trackable action items at the end of every meeting, ensuring feedback leads to real outcomes.
Now that you’ve nailed down the most essential tips for your delivery, it’s time to put them into practice with these employee feedback examples.
Why is constructive feedback necessary?
Your role as a manager is to help your employees develop and contribute their best efforts towards the team’s shared goals. This sometimes means delivering tough feedback, but only when it will ultimately help them improve. In fact, according to Officevibe pulse survey data, 23% of employees say that the feedback they receive doesn’t help them grow and develop.
The fundamental element of negative feedback
Care is a key ingredient in making tough employee feedback into constructive criticism. The Radical Candor model suggests we approach negative feedback by both challenging someone directly and caring for them personally.
1- Late delivery on a project
I want to talk to you about your work on this last project because your delay impacted the team. I know you worked hard to complete your part on time and looking back now, we can spot the roadblocks more easily. I’d love to see you be more proactive in spotting them before they impact your delivery next time. How can we make it easier for you to raise the flag on these kinds of things?
2- Lack of alignment with objectives or priorities
I“I want to talk to you about your priorities. I have noticed that you are doing very well on projects 2 and 3, but 1 is falling under the cracks. I love that you put personal interest in some projects, but it is very important that we prioritize those that align with this month’s objectives. Do you feel like you have all the tools and resources to work on project 1? Do you think there is work you could delegate to stay more aligned with what has to be done first? Let’s revisit and set our goals together.”
3- Low morale or a negative attitude
“I’ve noticed that you seem less engaged lately, and it’s important to me that you’re motivated and feeling a sense of purpose in your work. I’m starting to see this impacting other team members as well. I want to make sure we’re all in this together and supporting each other. Is there something going on that I’m not aware of? Do you feel you have enough of a challenge in your work? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Why is positive feedback and recognition necessary?
Feeling seen is a human need, and your employees want to know that all their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. Make time for positive feedback, and give it equal care as your coaching. Positive feedback conversations are great to both connect with your employees and deepen employee engagement.
1- Achieving a goal (big or small)
“Reaching your goal of [name the goal] is a big accomplishment. I remember when we set this goal, and the ambition you had to achieve it. Because of all your hard work and grit, we’ve seen that [name the impact of their work on team/business goals]. Congratulations, and thank you for this contribution to our team’s objectives. How do you feel?”
2- Exhibiting team or company values
I want to congratulate you, not only for your performance, but for [name the specific action]. I really appreciate your dedication to the team beyond your day-to-day work. It really sparks high morale for the team. Are there any ways in which I can continue to encourage this positive attitude?”
1-on-1 software that makes planning quick and conversations meaningful.
As much as constructive feedback should always focus on the facts, there will be times when opinions will be strong or emotions will be high in relation to the actions or behaviours being discussed. Your relationships with your team members are key to their success (and yours), so it’s especially pertinent to remain neutral, solution-oriented, and ultimately, kind.
1- Managing team conflict
“I sensed that there was tension in our planning meeting yesterday, and I want to be sure that we address it before it impacts our productivity or happiness. We’re all working towards [name a shared goal] here, but it’s okay if we have different ideas on how to get there. What were you feeling in the meeting? What are your main concerns?”
2- Disagreeing with their approach
“I know that [name the project] is really important to you and you’re excited about moving forward. I want to be candid with you because I know we ultimately have the same end goal. My concerns about our current approach are [name specific concerns] and how this might impact [name the specific negative outcome]. Have you thought about this possibility? How do you see us troubleshooting it or reevaluating our approach?”
3- Pointing out unprofessional behaviour
“I wanted to talk to you about what you said during the meeting. I know that we get along very well in the team; it’s one of the great things about working together! However, I want to emphasize the importance of prioritizing a safe and professional environment for everyone. Do you agree?”
We know that as a middle manager, you’ll inevitably be put in the position to deliver feedback to your employees that isn’t your own.
This can be awkward, especially if you don’t necessarily agree with the perspective of the feedback giver. The best path forward is transparency and objectivity.
1- From upper management to your direct report
“In our weekly managers’ sync, we have a roundtable to share what our teams have been working on. It leads to some really interesting discussions! This week [name the person in upper management] offered some interesting insights that I hadn’t considered, and I wanted to share them with you. From their perspective, they weren’t sure that we made the right call on [name the decision]. What do you make of that? I’m relaying this to you but feel free to reach out to them directly to discuss it further as well.”
2- From someone outside of the team
“I had a conversation with [name the person] the other day and they shared some feedback that I thought could be valuable to you. Since they’re not in our day-to-day, they find that your public messages don’t always have enough context for them to grasp everything. They suggested [mention the specific feedback example] that I think we can try. What do you think?”
3- From a client
“I wanted to talk to you about some feedback I received from a client that impacts your work. I want to hear your perspective to see how we can adapt this external perspective to make our work better. Have you noticed this issue as well?”
Shifting to remote work can make giving feedback more challenging. The lack of face-to-face interaction and nonverbal communication can create additional concerns around our words coming across as we mean them.
1- Addressing decreased employee performance
We’ve all been adapting to this new reality differently, and I’ve noticed some of us on the team seem to be struggling to maintain the same pace we had before we went remote. I want to figure out what everyone’s unique blockers are so we can work better together as a team before it starts impacting our performance. What has been particularly challenging for you? Are there any tools you’re missing to be productive? Do you have ideas for how the team can be more efficient together?
2- Work-life balance concerns
“I’ve noticed you’ve messaged the team outside of our regular working hours a few times since we made the switch to remote. I want everyone to have flexibility in their scheduling as much as we can, but be sure our efficiency isn’t negatively impacted in the process. What kind of hours have you been working? What do you find helps you maintain your work-life balance?”
3- Issues with virtual communication
“I’ve noticed that recently you take a long time to reply to important messages. I know that it is very important to have focus time, but I really need the team’s help to keep an open line of communication for important messages. Let’s discuss some strategies we can implement to stay connected when it’s important that doesn’t get in the way of your productivity. What has been your experience with our communication processes since we all work from home?”
Last pro tip: Especially when we’re apart, it can be easy to draw assumptions about people’s work habits, or their work-from-home reality. The truth is that the only way to know for sure is to ask, and this is also the best way to support your employees in the ways that they need to be supported. Check in on your team member’s productivity and blockers in your regular one-on-one meetings.
Giving feedback is a challenge managers face on an ongoing basis because the need for feedback never subsides. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Make feedback a part of your team culture to support your team’s development, and ensure everyone is putting their best foot forward.