How to Give Feedback to Employees

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Regular feedback keeps communication open between management and employees.
Regular feedback keeps communication open between management and employees. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

A positive working environment provides employees with constructive feedback so they know how well they are performing work responsibilities. Feedback also enables employees to improve work performance, when necessary. As a supervisor or manager, knowing how to properly give feedback to employees can help create a more effective work environment. Frequent communication helps employees know where they stand, which benefits both the company and the employees.

Provide employees with positive feedback as soon as possible. For example, if an employee presents an effective presentation or makes a good sale, praise the performance immediately. Give specific feedback when you offer it, mentioning the precise actions that you commend.

Speak with an employee privately within 24 hours of a situation when you must give negative feedback. Communicate negative feedback constructively and specifically to enable an employee to improve. For example, if you observe an employee not using proper telephone etiquette, cite the specific issue you overheard.

Expand the feedback past the specific negative behavior to include the result of the behavior. For example, an employee’s lack of telephone etiquette may chase away clients or customers, which can affect the company.

Explain the behavior or conduct you desire or expect. For example, when you want your employee to handle telephone communication differently, give specific examples for what you desire. You might say, “When the telephone rings, I want you to answer it by saying the company name and then identify yourself by name.”

Schedule regular meetings with employees (monthly or bi-monthly) to give overall performance feedback. Before extending the feedback, compile specific examples of either negative or positive situations that you wish to cover with the feedback. When the feedback is negative, give employees a clear idea of what you expect to enable them to improve performance.

Give employees an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns after you extend the feedback. Listen attentively to employees’ ideas and consider implementing ideas that might help improve the company.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start by asking for feedback from others, and be very careful not to get defensive. Then try to act in a visible way on the feedback. This will show the organization you are willing to "go first" and lead the way before you ask others to make a change.
  • When you present negative feedback, keep your comments centered on the actions and behaviors without including comments specifically about the person.

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