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Giving great feedback to employees – 10 tips

In a recent article by Margaret Heffernan, she outlined the major issues when giving feedback at a performance review meeting. It can be really difficult for managers when they sit down to talk to the employee, and sometimes it can be really hard to decide what to say.

We give 10 tips to help managers through this process:

What you want to do:

1. Give feedback as soon as you can – if an employee does something really good- tell them immediately! Don’t save it for the appraisal meeting in 3 months’ time – that’s just too late.

2. Go public – if the employee has done an excellent job, tell them at a meeting when their peers and team members can hear it- it will have a much more signficant impact for the employee, and they will probably get additional positive feedback afterwards!

3. Make sure you give positive feedback for the actual work done – i.e. ‘you are doing very well’ is much too vague, however ‘you had excellent accuracy in the report you gave me’ is much more focussed and the employee can really understand what they did well. Don’t forget to give positive reinforcement for the simple things too – praising someone for excellent punctuality and no sick days will encourage them to keep it up.

4. Ask questions – ‘what do you think you did well in the last 6 months?’ Then you can either agree with them, or you can outline that actually you would like them to focus more on customer service etc…

5. Track employee progress – if an employee has really improved their performance since you last talked to them about it, tell them now. Then the employee knows they are doing the right thing.

What you DON’T want to do:

6. Don’t keep praising and complimenting, it becomes shallow and meaningless

7. Don’t embarrass an employee – never say something in front of their colleagues that might embarrass them- keep negative feedback private- NOT public!

8. Don’t waffle! Make sure you are specific and detailed – don’t be vague

9. Don’t stick on the negatives – offer solutions and positive changes to ensure the employee can move on from this

10. Don’t forget you were once an employee receiving feedback – put yourself in the employee’s place and make sure you finish any appraisal on a positive