When it comes to giving employees feedback, there seems to be a sense of dread among managers. They may dig in their heels because they either don’t know what to say, or they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, frequent and valuable employee feedback is extremely important if you want your staff to improve. It doesn’t have to be a difficult task if you follow these simple guidelines you can practice every day.
Don’t Hesitate to Say Something
Are you playing the silent game with your employees? How’s that working out for you? According to Workboard, 72 percent of employees think their performance would improve with more feedback. However, a whopping 50 percent of managers fail to give constructive feedback. Why? They’re afraid of being known as the bad guy.
When an employee continually repeats the same mistake, will you be doing your business any good by staying silent? This mistake could wreak havoc on productivity, team morale and even the employee’s own professional development. Positive or negative, be fearless with feedback. Your employee may not even be aware they’re making a mistake.
Use SMART Goals
It’s easy to come up with just any old goal. But how do you know when someone’s actually achieved them? Is there a way to measure progress? Goals should be tangible to be measurable, so work with your employees to set goals as a way to make your feedback more concrete. How? Make them SMART:
- Specific: Focus on a discrete task or project so employees know exactly what they need to tackle.
- Measurable: Make the goals measurable so both parties will know when they’ve been achieved.
- Attainable: Create goals that are actually achievable. There’s no sense in setting your employees up for failure.
- Relevant: Create goals that will impact the business.
- Time bound: Give them a fixed period of time to complete their goal to add accountability and prevent procrastination.
If you’re still questioning the need for SMART goals, think about it this way: Structuring goals may make them easier to understand, complete and assess. SMART goals let everyone be efficient and makes it easier for employees to achieve their larger milestones.
Customize Every Piece of Feedback
Each individual is different, so don’t treat all your employees the same. When you’re dishing out feedback, make sure to take into consideration the employee’s personality, career stage, skills, work style and age.
Why age? Well, Workboard noted that 70 percent of younger employees learn on the job and should get strengths-based feedback, whereas 50 percent of older employees want constructive feedback to help them grow.
While some employees prefer a more hands-off approach to coaching, others need close monitoring. So feedback should never be a one-size-fits-all process.
Open Up Two-Way Communication
No one here is a mind reader. So how will you ever know what your employees truly want if you never ask them? Pulsing surveys allow you to probe into how satisfied your employees are, what you’re doing right and, of course, what you’re doing wrong.
For employees to trust you and provide feedback, they should know you’re also willing to listen to their side of the story.
Make It Someone Else’s Job
Managers shouldn’t be the only ones giving employees feedback. To really gauge how an employee is performing, check in with indirect managers, team leads, peers or even employees from other departments. Globoforce highlights the benefits of crowdsourcing feedback:
- 80 percent of employees see crowdsourced feedback as more accurate.
- 88 percent of peer-reviewed employees are satisfied with their jobs (versus 67 percent of other employees).
In addition to the feedback you give, coworkers can—and should—give a high five to each other for doing well. It’s not just managers who see and appreciate what their coworkers do. According to the Globoforce survey, 70 percent of employees say praise from peers is highly motivating. Use a peer-to-peer employee recognition system to make the process easy.
When you’re armed with the right tools and the right frame of mind, you can make giving your employees feedback a manageable, effective and positive experience.
Read more articles on motivating employees.