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Effective feedback enables employees to grow as professionals. It increases loyalty and engagement – and can be equally valuable for the giver, as you seek to strengthen and develop as a leader.

Giving feedback is not always easy, but it’s essential and well worth the effort. Here are some tips for success:

Be prepared.

Prepare for an employee feedback session as you would for any important meeting. Use facts, examples, and statistics to support your message.

Be upfront and transparent.

Even if it’s uncomfortable, always deliver feedback tactfully and directly.

  • Avoid the “sandwich approach” of slipping in criticism between two compliments. While it may seem like a more natural way to deliver constructive criticism, the praise message is diluted. Plus, delaying the inevitable evokes anxiety – and employees see right through it.

Be an active listener.

Effective feedback is based on good communication, and a key aspect of communication is active listening. In other words, present your case while withholding further comments or advice until the time is right and your input is requested.

  • Help your employee feel comfortable and confident enough to absorb your point and then ask for your advice on making improvements. Unsolicited advice adds stress and accomplishes nothing.

Be specific.

Keep feedback clear, specific, and to the point, with a focus on solutions. Avoid vague comments like “your work needs to improve” in favor of something like, “Your last two client reports have been late and missing specific product data. I’d like to work with you to ensure that all the requirements are met in a timely fashion.”

Be empathetic.

If you need to tell an employee they have a shortfall or lack certain knowledge, do so with empathy.  Picture yourself in their shoes. Otherwise, the response may take the form of anger, frustration, or defensiveness. Give them some time and space to react, and then take the right steps to alleviate confrontation and move forward.

Make feedback ongoing.

The practice of limiting feedback to quarterly or, worse yet, annual reviews is quickly becoming passé. Feedback immediately following an event or situation has the greatest positive impact. Issues left unresolved will only worsen or eventually spiral out of control.

Keep criticism private.

Never criticize an employee in front of others. Some people never want to be the center of attention, so even praise may best be delivered in a private conversation – but this is always the case with criticism. It can be difficult to give and receive, so privacy is the best option for both of you.

Follow up.

When you see needed improvement as the result of your feedback to an employee, follow up, and express your appreciation. This shows you care and motivates people to keep up the good work. Bonus: It can also be contagious and inspire others as well.

Contact the workforce development experts at PrideStaff Modesto to help you improve your processes for feedback, performance reviews, and other aspects of building your winning workforce in customer service, IT, accounting and finance, legal support, healthcare, and production. We’ll help you develop strategies custom-tailored to your business and its short and long-term needs.

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