Your organization’s long-term success requires giving employee feedback and assessment. Professional connections, which are the foundation of successful businesses, are formed through clear communication and assessment.
Giving Employee Feedback? What Is it?
Giving employee feedback or conducting employee assessments refers to any verbal or written comments made by staff members about one another’s work, abilities, or teamwork. Assessments can come from peers and managers, and when done diplomatically, the process can build a stronger, more peaceful workplace.
Understanding the Need for Employee Feedback
Assessment, both positive and negative, is crucial because it encourages good behavior, breaks bad habits, and helps teams work more efficiently toward their objectives.
Whatever your position within the organization, you will eventually need to provide an assessment of a team member, supervisor, or even a self-assessment. Giving praise is simple because everyone appreciates a good remark. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, can be equally difficult to hear as it is to administer.
Although keeping quiet may seem like the easiest course of action, doing so will ultimately be more difficult for you and your coworkers because the issues will only worsen.
Steps for Assessment and Feedback
When it’s time to speak up, take a big breath, and then employ the following techniques rather than choosing the simple route.
Provide Prompt and Real-Time Assessment
Have you ever kept a thought or feeling inside for weeks or months before letting someone else know? Although you wouldn’t be the first to do it, it’s never the wisest course of action.
When you wait, tiny problems can turn into huge ones, and if you start bringing up concerns that go back weeks, months, or years, the person you are criticizing is more likely to become defensive. Additionally, by withholding your criticism, you have denied them the chance to make a change. Overall, tackling issues promptly makes them simpler to resolve.
Once you’ve decided to say something, do not be in a rush to deliver the message. You can convey more information vocally than you can in writing, which carries significantly less nuance. In this manner, they won’t misinterpret what you said. If at all possible, engage in a live conversation, whether it be virtual or face-to-face.
Be Diplomatic and Fair
You might have heard of a compliment sandwich. When you offer two compliments with criticism in between, you certainly get your point across but being direct is always better.
Let your coworkers know that you don’t think poorly of them as people, and if you’re their manager, reassure them that their jobs are not in jeopardy. If they are in jeopardy, that’s a whole other conversation.
Approach the Conversation as a Team Member
Yes, you may be the supervisor, but you are also a team member. Giving employee feedback on a level playing field is critical. By doing this, you are allowing your team member to see your investment in them and the team in general.
Team members feel more comfortable discussing issues with you and opening up about what barriers they see, as well as their overall concern or excitement for specific steps.
Be Detailed and Specific
It’s crucial to provide specific instances where a problem occurred when discussing it. Describe the problem in as much detail as you can, including where, when, and why you saw it. You might feel like this will cause more of an issue, but it’s better for your team members to understand exactly what went wrong.
You may be familiar with the ambiguous criticism since, let’s face it, most people debate in this manner. We do it with our loved ones, our friends, and our romantic partners, but it is rarely fruitful.
Precise, useful criticism is much more motivating and helps everyone work toward a practical resolution. Giving your team members detailed feedback is the main goal of assessment.
Recognize Any Shifts in Power
When your supervisor asks to see you in his or her office, you probably get that queasy sensation in the pit of your stomach.
Your adrenal glands release cortisol when your brain detects a threat, and your mind is immediately less open to new thoughts as your brain prepares you for flight, flight, or freeze. We’ve all been there, but it’s simple to forget how it feels when you’re in a position of greater power.
Be conscious of the fact that there are unspoken power structures and unconscious biases at work in the world. Even while we might not always discuss it, it’s important to keep in mind that some groups are given more social influence than others. Of course, we strive to minimize this as much as possible, but the fact of the matter is that it still happens.
Because of this, it’s critical to keep your standing in mind as you get ready to offer an assessment, especially if you hold a position of authority. By taking this into consideration, you can better provide psychological safety and encourage the best performance from everyone on your team.
Accepting Criticism and Using it to Propel Us Forward
What takes place when the roles are reversed? When you’re the subject of criticism? You’re not alone if you occasionally find it difficult to listen with an open mind. You may get defensive and angry, bound and determined to win the fight.
The following three tactics can help you listen with an open mind so you may reach your full potential as a worker and a person. Sometimes our weaknesses might actually be our defenses. When this happens, it can often get the better of us.
Consider your own defenses: When your colleague sits you down to give you an assessment, you might feel your defenses go up, regardless of whether they have no tact or do everything correctly.
Being aware of your feelings is the first step. Every time we feel threatened, we fight back and stand our ground. It’s preferable to take a moment to think things through rather than responding immediately away in these situations. Try to investigate their point of view with an open mind because, typically, when we feel threatened, our first thoughts aren’t our best thoughts.
After allowing yourself some emotional space, you could realize that your colleague has a point. Or perhaps not? A quick return will not help in any scenario. We’re not aiming for zingers since they only work for politicians in this situation.
Be appreciative of their commitment: You might not agree with everything that is said, but it’s important to be respectful. Every piece of assessment is a gift, and by expressing gratitude for their time and effort. You leave the door open to receiving more in the future.
No matter if you are a manager or front-line team member. You should keep in mind that it can be extremely difficult for people to provide assessments, especially if they are giving employee feedback to a supervisor. As a result, it’s crucial to acknowledge the gift of assessment, no matter where it comes from.
Take their comments into consideration: Mark any notes that someone provides you as an assessment so that you can follow up at the following meeting. Do some serious self-reflection in between sessions and see what you can glean, even if it’s only a little, from the criticism.
You might find that what you thought was way off base may actually be closer to the core now that you’ve had time to think about it. Consider discussing the comments with dependable coworkers to determine whether they share the same perceptions of your actions.
When Is it a Good Time To Give Employee Feedback?
One thing that is essential, especially in today’s workforce, is to give both praise. And criticism in the same space that the action occurs or shortly thereafter. Providing a real-time assessment was mentioned earlier, and it is vital for any business.
When you provide these assessments in correlation with the action, you can provide better education and understanding. This leads to a change in how the employee approaches the task next time.
You can also provide this feedback during your one-on-one meetings and an employee performance review.
When Not to Provide Assessments
Even more essential is knowing when to hold back. Although you want your assessments to occur in real-time, you also need to make sure you’re not causing harm. Calling someone out in front of team members may be seen as less than constructive criticism. Doing the same in front of customers is an absolute issue.
Unless the action is causing damage or you have no other way, save your assessments for when the meeting is done, or the team member has a moment to talk with you. As soon after the action as you can is best in these situations.
Giving Employee Feedback in Summary
There is a right time to provide assessments, whether they’re positive or critical. Ignoring them is never the answer, though. As much as you can, be timely and educational. In every assessment, something should be learned. Be mindful of your actions. Ultimately, do what you can to work towards a more positive give-and-take relationship with your team members. The efforts will result in better efficiency and morale.