5 Do’s and Don’ts of giving feedback

According to Oak engage, 75% of employees believe that feedback is important for their performance at the workplace.

A continuous feedback culture is becoming a vital part of businesses. It keeps every employee aligned with the organization’s goals and mission. And also keeps a check on their engagement and productivity level. 

But, to encourage a good feedback culture, there are certain rules you need to follow. Ensure that only realistic feedback is exchanged. Constructive feedback should be well-received by everyone. 

It helps enhance employees’ skills and bring positive change in their performance.

Do’s of giving feedback

  • Be specific about your feedback: Always give direct and crisp feedback to your employees. Ensure that they are stated with relevant facts to give more meaningful feedback. 

Suppose your team member wrote a well-detailed blog. Instead of being vague and saying “Good job” and moving ahead. Try being clear and specific about your feedback. Such as: 

“Your way of explaining this concept in the blog is highly commendable. Your writing style is simple and easy to understand. Everything is crisp and clear. Hope to see such dedication in all your future endeavors.”

  • Be consistent with your feedback: Always give feedback immediately or when everything is cooled down. When delayed, the other person may not recall the exact details and might seem irrelevant to them. 

Suppose, you noticed that your employee doesn’t maintain eye contact while speaking. Instead of waiting for annual feedback, tell them immediately. So that they know what needs to be improved next time they speak with someone else. 

You can say this: “I have noticed during the client meeting that you aren’t maintaining eye contact while you speak. You have good communication and persuading skills, make sure that you work on this as well. And if there is anything I can do to help you with it, let me know.”

  • Suggest solutions to critical feedback: After giving them negative feedback, ensure that you give creative solutions or action plans for it. Let them know how they can do better next time. Or what strengths they have that can help them in improving their blind spots. 

For example, one of your employees is not able to deliver her projects on time. You can let her know the issue that is coming up from her end and can tell her a few time management tricks. 

Try saying: “I see that for a few days, you are not able to deliver projects on time. I understand that continuous projects might be affecting your performance. Let me share a few time management tricks with you that has been really helpful to me. Try them out, and I hope they would benefit you too.” 

Make sure that you follow up with her later.

  • Allow open conversations: Ensure that the feedback process is two-sided. Let the employees share their side of the story as well, especially if it’s negative feedback. 

Assume that one of your employees isn’t performing well for the past few days. Instead of just telling them the negative side, ask them what’s bothering them right now. It will allow your employees to be honest with you and share their concerns, without any hesitation. 

Say like this: “I am concerned that your performance has been declining the past few days. And due to this, our projects haven’t been up to the mark. You have been our top performer and other team members look up to you. Is everything okay from your side? If there is anything that is bothering you or you need the advice to get work sorted, feel free to approach me.” 

  • Be kind and empathetic: Nobody knows what an employee might be facing in their personal and professional life. Hence, be kind even when you’re giving negative feedback. Be conscious of your tone. Notice their body language while you are delivering feedback. 

Assume that there is one employee who is dealing with anxiety issues and messed up with some documents. Instead of giving him negative remarks, make him understand in an empathetic manner. 

“You are usually so enthusiastic about your work, it was hard not to notice this change in your attitude lately. I am concerned that you have not been able to deliver the projects according to the client briefs. Is there something that’s holding you back from pursuing your work with your usual zeal? Feel free to speak to me and we can discuss it in detail.”

Don’ts of giving feedback

  • Avoid making it personal: Ensure that you separate work from the personal life of the employees. Never attack employees personally or pinpoint their behavior. Only talk about what needs to be improved and how can they do so. 

In case, your employee isn’t involved much with other co-workers because of their introverted nature. Never in feedback talk about changing their behavior. Instead, only tell them how they can improve their tasks and give them creative solutions to do so. 

Try saying “I have noticed that your contribution to the team projects has not been much as compared to others. Although, the overall outcome is impressive as a team. I see potential in you and would love to see your individual participation shine through. Hoping to see more of your contributions in the next project.”

  • Avoid the sandwich approach: Never start with positive feedback, then negative feedback, and end with positive feedback. The positive ones will lose all impact and they won’t be able to understand the negative ones properly. Hence, the whole process of giving feedback will go in vain. And ensure that you never use ‘but’ while delivering the remarks. 

Suppose you want to deliver both positive and negative points to an intern who recently joined. You can go for positive ones first that are direct and to the point. And then, tell them the negative feedback along with the action plans. 

You can say this: I am truly impressed with how you have been meeting every goal proactively. Since Day 1, you have been working very hard and everyone is happy with your performance. Just that, I feel that you should let others interns share their viewpoints as well. This will help in enhancing overall team performance and productivity.”

  • Never deliver too much feedback at once: Too much feedback can be overwhelming for your employees, especially the negative ones. Only talk about the main areas that are their strengths and their improvements. And ensure that they are concise and easy to understand. 

Suppose, you see that an employee isn’t performing up to the mark. And many areas need improvement. Instead of going for all the blind spots, take those up which are important and major at that point. For the rest, you can either take them up later or sometimes, it improves with the major ones.

Here’s an example of the feedback you can give: “I noticed that you are not proactively taking up customers’ issues and replying late to the client’s emails as well. This will impact our company’s reputation a lot. If you feel that your workload is increasing or there is any sort of confusion, do share it with me. We will try finding the possible solution together.” 

  • Never use ‘You’ with a negative comment: Avoid using ‘You’ when you are giving a negative remark. Rather pressurized more on ‘I’ at that point. The negative comment can make employees lose their confidence and lower their morale. 

Instead of saying “You failed to deliver this project on time.” You can try “I am concerned that you were not able to deliver this project on time. I know you are capable of hard work. All you have to do is put a little more effort into your project. Hoping to see perform true to your potential. All the best.”

  • Avoid making it a one-way conversation: Any feedback or opinion-based conversations should always be two-sided. Let the employees ask questions to get a deeper understanding of blind spots and their strengths. You can also ask them what they have understood and challenged their thinking. 

Assume that you are appreciating your employee for their communication skills. But, they aren’t aware of the same before. Instead of making it one-way and letting the employees find the ‘why’ on their own. Help them understand why you are saying it and give them a few instances where you felt the same. 

For example: “I am impressed with your way of communicating with clients. Especially the one where you solved XYZ’s queries quickly and easily. It could have been a huge mess if you haven’t taken up this call. You have been an inspiration for all our team members out there too. Keep up the good work.” 

In a nutshell…

Feedback is a powerful and vital tool for organizations. But, you need to make sure that you know how to give it right.

You can head over to huddleup.ai to know more about the feedback-driven platform that can help in building high-performing engaging teams.