Feedback. Some people love it, some people hate it. But in order to keep a workplace running smoothly, it’s a necessary part of the working experience. Constructive criticism, an alternative perspective, or simply praising an employee can all help to guide your team into the right direction. 65% of employees have reported wanting more feedback, and in order for individuals to experience professional growth, and for teams to build their working relationships, feedback is one of the most powerful tools you have.
The benefits of feedback
So what are the possible outcomes of providing feedback to your employees?
Addressing any potential issues or differences in understanding can help to improve employee performance and even make tasks easier for them. Perhaps there’s a simpler way of doing things that can lead to higher productivity and more ease for staff? Maybe steps need to be added to improve the quality of the work that is completed? Is further training needed to give your people more confidence and experience? Asking yourself and your employees these questions can help you to better the way your workplace runs. What’s more, it can be a tool for staff to work on their career development!
Once your team gets into a routine for completing tasks and projects, it can be difficult to change. Addressing any weak spots and coming up with a new way of doing things can help staff to break the cycle of bad habits, and help them in navigating their role. Checking in on your staff members also gives you a chance to assess how their strengths and weaknesses impact their work, and what can be done to utilise their strengths while helping them to improve on weaker spots.
It’s all in the delivery
A big part of feedback is the way in which it is delivered. It’s not just what is said, but how it’s said. And this is why verbal feedback can make all the difference. Writing can be misconstrued as tone, humour, sarcasm, and punctuation can all be subject to individual interpretation. Taking the time to go through and address any concerns in person can ease the stress around the process of feedback.
Having quarterly or annual reviews can create a sense of structure and provide an opportunity to take a step back and assess the work, while also taking into consideration whether promotions are needed. As feedback can be a chance to explore the prospect of career progression, it’s an important conversation to have.
Performance reviews can make anyone nervous, but having a bit of reassurance alongside some suggestions for improvement doesn’t have to be a negative or shudder-inducing experience. Being given goals to aim towards can be communicated positively, and this includes arranging the review. Avoid the vague and ominous sounding ‘we need a meeting’ email, aim towards a clear message regarding feedback, and make it known that there is nothing to worry about.
The pros of praise
Feedback should not be exclusively used to address problems or suggestions for improvement. It should also include positive feedback and praise. Setting time aside to look at your employees and what they are achieving could reveal hard work and positive outcomes that have been overlooked. Acknowledging and recognising employees, as well as rewarding them suitably will leave your people feeling seen and valued for the effort that is put in, which is hugely motivating. Feeling confident and happy in their role is key to retaining that talent at your company, so be sure to sing their praises when you’re happy with an employee’s work!
An open ear
Feedback goes both ways; receiving feedback is important too, and being open to hearing both the positives and negatives can help you to improve on workplace culture.
Keeping it anonymous and using employee surveys, questionnaires, or suggestion boxes can help your staff to express what they like about the workplace to perhaps have more of, or what could possibly be changed or improved to make the working day better for them. At the end of the day, offering employees a voice and then showing that you are taking their feedback on board is a great way to build trust with your team.