Constructive feedback is critical to your employees’ professional development, which contributes to your overall business success. Because the better your team performs, the better your company performs.

But giving that feedback is a delicate process. There’s a fine line between helping employees grow and discouraging them. For this reason, managers are often hesitant to start down this path.

Just remember, sticking your head in the sand won’t make a problematic situation go away. Instead, it will fester and worsen, unless you effectively handle it at the earliest possible point. Once you learn to do this, you can have insightful conversations with your employees about their performance and how they can continue to improve.

Build feedback into your culture.

In a recent Harvard Business Review study, 72 percent of employees surveyed said they wanted constructive, rather than strictly positive, feedback from their managers. So, as hesitant as you may feel, know that in offering constructive criticism, you’re helping your people to become better at their jobs and feel better about themselves.

  • Make yours a company culture where employees are secure in their roles and understand their – and the organization’s – goals. This means acknowledging that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as people learn from them.

Provide feedback at the right time and in the right place.

Constructive feedback should be offered face-to-face and in private. And, it should be provided as soon as possible after you realize the need for it.

  • Make specific notes regarding what you need to discuss with an employee. Then, set up a meeting with them. Don’t wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment or performance review.

Be specific with feedback.

When you schedule your meeting, be specific about the feedback you will be providing. At the same time, make sure your message is sincere and encouraging. Instead of saying, “come by my office later so we can discuss your recent performance,” ask if we “can meet this afternoon to discuss progress.” This will make your employees feel more relaxed about meeting with you one-on-one.

  • Lead the conversation with something positive. Mention something the employee has been doing well. This will give them an example of what your expectations are. Make it clear that you want to help them to develop their skills and do well in all areas. Then, you can segue into the core of your conversation.
  • Create a solution together. Give your employees ample opportunity to respond to your comments, so you can see the situation from their perspective. Once you’ve gathered all the facts, create a plan together. Give suggestions of how they could adjust their performance and ask what steps they think they should take to improve. And ask how you can help.

Follow up by recognizing progress.

Once you feel you’ve clarified goals and solidified your mutual plan, step back and let your employee work on it. Avoid the temptation to micromanage. Instead, follow up by recognizing them once they’ve effectively implemented needed changes.

Your people are your greatest asset. Contact the PrideStaff Modesto workforce development experts for additional guidance as you tackle even your most challenging talent management hurdles. From staffing and recruitment through coaching, training, and retaining your best superstars, we’ll customize a strategy that meets your unique business needs.

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