How to Deliver Constructive Feedback to Employees

Giving your employees constructive feedback is not only good for them—it’s also good for business. In fact, studies show that managers who give their employees regular feedback are more likely to have higher employee engagement levels than those who do not. So, if you’re a manager or leader and want your team members’ best work (and better results) this year, consider implementing some of these tips on how to deliver constructive feedback.

There are several ways you can deliver constructive feedback: in person, over email or through text messaging, through an annual performance review and one-on-one conversations with an employee. It’s best to choose a method that fits the situation and personality of both you and your employee, so it doesn’t come across as rude or uncomfortable for either party involved.

Set the stage.

Before you deliver your message, set the stage. That means letting the employee know:

  • what the purpose of your meeting is,
  • how long it will take and what activities will be involved (if any),
  • and whether there are any ground rules for how you’d like to communicate with each other during this time.

Taking these steps before giving the employee feedback helps establish a professional tone and shows respect for the employee’s time and energy.

Keep it positive.

The best way to deliver effective feedback is in a positive tone, where you focus on what your employees have done well and what they can continue doing in the future. This not only helps ensure that your employees will actually hear your message, but it also sets a good example for them: showing that you’re able to appreciate other people’s contributions is a great way to get people engaged in their work and working together as a team.

To deliver what could be construed as negative feedback in a better light, try inserting positive examples: “Remember how well X worked out? We should try Y this time.”

Be specific.

When you’re delivering constructive feedback, it’s important that you make sure that every point has one or two actionable items attached to it. This will help make sure that whatever issue you’re addressing gets resolved quickly and practically, rather than becoming an ongoing problem.

If possible, try using concrete examples from previous experiences so they know exactly what type of behavior needs improving. If this isn’t an option, use metaphors or analogies instead (think “it’s like” statements), since those tend to provide insight into why something happened and help explain why certain things might happen again.

Have a two-way conversation.

It’s important to make sure your employee understands what you’re saying, so take time to talk through the issue at hand. Ask them questions like: “Can you share with me how that happened?” or “Can you tell me more about what was going on in your mind when this happened?”

Your employees need the chance to share their perspective and understanding of the situation. You may learn something you didn’t have knowledge of before, and it shows your employee that you respect their thoughts and perspectives.

Follow up.

After you’ve delivered your feedback, it’s important to follow up with the employees. This will help ensure that the employee received and understood the message.

The follow-up can be as simple as a quick email or phone call to see how things are going, or it can be more formal if you’re checking in with your employee about next steps for improvement plans or goals.

The process of giving constructive feedback can sometimes be awkward, but it can help your employees improve and grow as individuals, both personally and professionally. This can only improve your business in the long run.

If you have an employee who isn’t responding well to the constructive feedback you’ve given, especially if you’ve discussed the same issues multiple times, it may be time to look into new talent. The experienced recruiters at The Reserves Network can help you find the right employee for your needs.

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