How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Employees

Posted on April 30, 2012

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As a manager it’s your job to give your employees feedback on how they’re doing at their jobs. Your feedback is incredibly important to fostering a productive and happy work environment. Here are some tips for how you can give useful, constructive feedback to your employees.

Have the Straight Facts

If you need to confront an employee about something they did wrong or need to do better, make sure you have the straight facts before you do. If you haven’t experienced the problem firsthand, see if there is evidence of it and be careful when you take another employee’s word for it. If you have numbers to back up your claims, bring them along. Tangible illustrations of the problem help make it clearer.
Pick the Right Time and Place

It’s not a good idea to just throw your serious feedback at an employee at any time. You want to be able to have a constructive discussion about it, so call them into your office for a meeting. This will ensure that you have time set aside to really talk about things, and you won’t embarrass them by saying anything in front of anyone else. Choose an otherwise relatively stress-free time to talk.
Give Compliments

You should always sweeten any negative feedback with some positive feedback as well, but you need to do it in the right way. Don’t give a compliment that is too general, or it will go in one ear and out the other. Give a very specific compliment. It will show that you are sincere and that you notice more than just the negatives. It will help reinforce to the employee that you still appreciate them.
Be Specific

If you want your feedback to be constructive, it must be specific. Don’t just say that an employee’s work could use some improvement. Say exactly what needs improving and how it could be done. Being too general will leave your employee guessing without a real idea of how to solve the problem. Give specific examples and do what you can to point them in the exact right direction.
Ask Their Opinions

Your constructive feedback talk should not be one-sided. You have to give your employee a chance to respond to your feedback. A good idea is to ask your employees what their thoughts on the matter are. Get their side of the story, and find out what they need in order to do better. Perhaps there is more to it than you realize, and their opinions can really help in finding the proper solution.
Follow Up

After feedback is given, follow up in a timely matter to see how things are going. Has your employee made appropriate changes? If your feedback was positive, has it helped them to do even better? Show your employees that you take the feedback you give them seriously by checking up on things. Reassessing the situation will also help you learn if your feedback is really as constructive as you intend it to be.

Jeffrey Keye is a small business owner with plenty of experience handling employees. He also has plenty of experience with grammar checkers and he always makes sure to proof his work prior to submitting it. Grammar rules aren’t always easy to remember so he is happy to delegate the responsibilities.

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Posted in: Business