Leadership in any organization needs to know how to give feedback to an employee properly. Providing feedback to employees can be a fantastic tool when it is used properly. Unfortunately, a lot of managers and business owners don’t know how to provide feedback properly to their employees, and this could end up causing problems both now and later. eLeaP has powerful tools and resources to ensure you have success when it comes to giving and receiving feedback.

Fortunately, you can learn how to give feedback to an employee the right way. There are some simple tips that can help leaders at your company learn to provide feedback that will truly help their employees improve. Let’s get started.

How to Give Feedback to an Employee

Make Sure the Feedback Is Expected

When people receive unsolicited feedback, they don’t always take it well. A lot of people don’t believe that that feedback is going to be helpful and instead may feel that their manager is simply looking for a way to micromanage them. This can create a lot of stress for the person who is receiving the feedback.

Of course, employees don’t typically ask for feedback even though it might be necessary. You need to make sure feedback is part of the company culture and something that people expect.

You also need to help people understand that it’s not a punishment of any sort. It’s about ensuring the employees can do their best. Sometimes, feedback will help them get on the right path if they are having problems. Essentially, you want to frame the feedback as being something positive for the employees and the rest of the organization.

Give your employees some options when you discuss how the feedback will be given in the company. Giving them a little more control over the situation and the way they receive the feedback can help them to feel more comfortable and confident.

Understand How the Employees Feel

Think back to a time when you were given feedback by a manager. How did it make you feel? Did you feel like it was more of a confrontation? Did you feel as though the manager was talking with you to help you get a better understanding of the problems? Were they able to suggest ways to make improvements and fix the situation? The way you felt when you were given feedback will give you a good idea of what your manager did right and wrong.

This can give you a better idea of how you should implement feedback. The goal is to empathize with your employees. They are concerned that they are getting in trouble when they receive feedback. Make sure they understand that it’s just there to help guide them and ensure they find success in the workplace. A little empathy will go a long way when it comes to offering feedback.

Feedback Needs to Be Clear and Detailed

Just because you provide feedback doesn’t mean that you are providing good feedback. You can’t simply say, “You need to be better at X”, for example. You have to take the time to clarify the issues and try to suggest some feedback that will help with that problem.

When you can provide them with a full and clear understanding of the issues, you are providing them with actions they can take to make improvements.

Don’t Wait Until Review Time to Give Feedback to an Employee

One of the mistakes that some managers make when it comes to feedback is when it is offered. You want to make sure that you aren’t just waiting until the regular performance review. Waiting means the employee will continue making the same mistakes or will continue to perform poorly until the review, which makes no sense.

Feedback should be provided regularly and whenever there are issues that cause problems for the organization or the employee. These are the sorts of things you wait to talk about. If you do wait until the review, the employee is going to wonder why you didn’t let them know earlier. They might even think it’s a tactic to give them a bad review and a smaller raise.

Don’t Give Feedback Publicly

Any feedback that you give should be done in private rather than in front of the rest of the team. If you were to tell someone the things that they are doing wrong while you are in front of other people, it will embarrass and upset the employee. People don’t like being called out in the first place, and to do it in front of people is a major issue. You can expect pushback and a lot of employee turnover in the workplace if you do.

Make It About the Work Not Personality

When you are providing feedback, you need to make sure it’s always about the behaviors and actions that are incorrect rather than the employee’s personality. You can’t use your personal feelings, positive or negative, about someone to influence how you speak to them about their work. Doing so could show favoritism, which could lead to problems for you and your HR department down the road. Focus on the legitimate issues at the workplace.

Avoid Sandwiching the Feedback

Your goal with feedback should always be about helping someone. However, there is a practice of placing the negative feedback between two positives, thus the term sandwiching. This is not a good idea, though, because it doesn’t really do much to soften the criticism. Additionally, some employees might feel that since there were two compliments, the problem isn’t too serious. They might not feel the need to make changes.

Even though it might feel more uncomfortable to talk only about the problems, it is better to be upfront with the employees about the situation. They will respect it more. Just make sure you are clear, as mentioned, and that you are tactful about it.

Listen to Employee Feedback

While you and your management team will likely be the ones who are doling out feedback most of the time, don’t neglect feedback that comes from your employees. They are the ones in the trenches doing the work. The issues that you notice might be the fault of the procedures, tools, etc., rather than just the employee. When they talk to you about their issues, such as old tools that don’t work as well as they should, for example, listen.

When you listen to their feedback, it shows that you care about making a difference and helping them to improve.

Feedback Can Be Good

Although you don’t want to sandwich feedback, you do want to provide positive feedback whenever it is warranted. Show your employees that you appreciate them and the hard work they do. This helps the employees better understand the true value of feedback. They can see when they have improved.

What Happens When Feedback Is Given Incorrectly?

When you give feedback the right way and use those tips discussed above, your employees are going to be much more receptive. They will appreciate what you are trying to do and see that you and other managers aren’t “out to get” anyone. Of course, when feedback is given improperly, it can lead to some serious problems in your business, as discussed below.

Employees Feel Attacked

When an employee receives feedback that they aren’t expecting and that seemingly comes out of the blue, they will often feel as though they are being targeted. This is going to make them defensive, and it could make them angry depending on how they are approached.

By ensuring all of your employees expect regular, constructive feedback, as we talked about earlier, you can alleviate this issue with most employees. Of course, there may still be that rare employee who doesn’t feel they need any feedback and who will still bristle at the idea of being told how to improve. They tend to be few and far between, and most won’t last for very long.

Turnover Increases

If you don’t know how to give an employee feedback correctly, you might also see a rise in turnover at your company. People might start to feel as though that particular work environment is not for them. This can be a huge problem, as it means you will have to spend time and money recruiting new people. When you bring in new hires, it is a good idea to let them know about the feedback policy you have in place right away.

You Get the Opposite Results

Ultimately, when you don’t provide feedback correctly, it will end up harming your business. Productivity and efficiency will fall, as will morale. Instead, take the time to learn how to give feedback the right way, and keep improving as you go.

Make the Changes and See How They Work for Your Company

You now have some insight into how to give an employee feedback they can use and that will help them. Start adding these tips to the way you and your managers handle feedback for your employees, and you will start to see a difference. You will finally start getting the results you want. eLeaP has powerful tools and resources to ensure you have success when it comes to giving and receiving feedback.

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