Bitter or Better?

3 Things to Consider When Giving Feedback

Constructive Feedback is vital to empoyees

Feedback is what grows employees and companies. However, too often feedback leaves employees with a bad taste in their mouth rather than accelerates them. There are quite a few things to consider before giving feedback. The 3 below are the most commonly ignored, and thus briefed.

1. Why do you give feedback?

We all know what “we get what we ask for”. Too often HR’s give feedback for the sake of giving feedback, in which case they sound like they are venting. This, in turn, calls for a defensive reaction from employees, and the outcome is: feedback given. A much more constructive way to approach anyone with feedback is to know exactly what you expect from them afterwards. Do you wish employees would stop doing something? Or start doing something? Or start doing something differently? Or do more of it? Or what? This makes the feedback applicable and measurable.

2. When do you give feedback?

Let’s cut straight to the essence: forget monthly feedback. These sessions raise unnecessary tension, and cloud even the most positive feedback. It is much more effective to engage in continuous conversations instead. Over lunch, during coffee breaks, or whenever you have a chance. This way, the message is still delivered, but without the unnecessary charade. It keeps the news fresh, too!

3. Do you keep the statement vs. question ratio?

The problem with feedback is that it is usually presented in the conclusive form. This leaves no space for dialogue. And, without one, the big picture cannot be drawn. Instead, it is a good idea to turn every statement into a question. Or at least structure the feedback so that every statement is followed by an open question. This leaves room for opinion and makes the feedback much more individualized. It is one thing to state that cooperation needs improvement, and it is another thing to ask how someone could help improve cooperation within their work functions.

Asking questions, being clear on expectations, and engaging in continuous dialogue with individual employees makes for effective feedback. By contrast, sharing facts and engaging in monthly feedback only minimizes the chances of turning feedback into positive change. And change is usually the intention of feedback.