The only way for a business to propel forward is to build an impressive company culture. In the fast-paced business landscape of today, if a company rapidly grows, things quickly become challenging.
However, scaling company culture is still achievable. One of the core elements to achieve this goal is to ensure that everyone can give effective feedback.
While it sounds like something easy to achieve, it’s far from that. Giving positive feedback is as challenging as giving negative feedback. People take any form of input personally, so finding a way to provide constructive feedback without insulting anyone requires well-planned steps.
If you’re looking for a way to provide feedback for colleagues regularly, you’re in the right place. This guide will address some of the key things to consider. After reading it, you’ll see how to successfully provide employee feedback to keep them motivated and help them grow.
Build trust with your colleagues
The only way of giving constructive feedback is to build trust with your colleagues first. Whether you’re in a leadership position or a regular team member, you need to work on building trust with the rest of your team. You can achieve this is by having an open communication approach with everyone and delivering their business expectations.
That way, team members will always know that they can count on you, plus they expect to hear an honest opinion from you. Once there’s a high degree of trust, they’ll know that your positive feedback and negative feedback are coming from the right place.
Even though more businesses work with remote teams, building close relationships is still possible if you’re not in the same office. Using a magicJack alternative will allow you to stay closely in touch with your colleagues and have feedback conversations, no matter where they are.
Construct the feedback
The only way to provide effective employee feedback is to plan everything and practice it. If you think you can say everything important without proper preparation, you’re mistaken. There are more things to consider. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you going for more positive feedback? Or negative feedback?;
- How do you want to do it?;
- When is the perfect time?;
- Do you have a script of things you’ll say?;
- What are the examples of employee engagement you’ll use? and;
- Is there someone you can practice with?
Answering these questions will help you construct feedback that will deliver a powerful message. Once you prepare everything that you’d like to share, it would be a good idea to practice with your manager or an HR representative. Taking that step will help you develop good communication skills.
Be direct and specific
Giving feedback without being specific is not going to bring any results. It’s necessary to go into the details of the employee performance. If you’re talking about a task that was not executed appropriately, show the exact problems.
For example, let’s say you are talking about a copy that one of your team members worked on. Highlight all the typos and other minor mistakes and capitalise on the problem. Continue to say how it takes more time for the rest of the team members to make corrections before moving the piece forward.
Another example to consider is when an employee is not meeting the KPIs. Investigate the issue, remind them of their past achievements and say you believe they can do the same. Don’t forget to request feedback from the employee as well.
It’s important to keep a good attitude throughout the process, so the feedback positively affects the team member’s future performance.
Assess the situation, and not the person
Focusing on the situation is the most important part of providing feedback for colleagues. Given that people are emotional beings, it’s crucial not to say anything that can hurt their feelings. That’s why feedback preparation is important. It gives you the time to construct careful wording that allows you to deliver both positive and negative feedback.
If you want to address bad employee performance, you can’t tell someone that they’re lazy. But you can encourage people to give more to the entire team, just like they used to do in the past. Therefore, instead of telling employees something about them personally, you should comment on the result of their work. That way, you will shift the focus from specific individuals and their traits to the problem and its resolution.
That’s a great way to approach any negative behaviour in the team, as you won’t offend anyone in the process.
Always give feedback one on one
The golden rule of giving feedback is to keep it private. If you have feedback for colleagues, you should invite them to a meeting one on one. There’s no need for anyone else to hear the feedback.
This would be very unprofessional, especially if the feedback is negative. It would offend someone by humiliating them in front of other colleagues.
When choosing the right feedback channel, avoid providing feedback via messages. It’s an impersonal approach that can cause misunderstandings. Whether we’re talking about performance review or regular feedback, you should provide valuable insights either by a video call or in person.
That way, you’ll allow people to respond back and even ask clarifying questions, which is important for maintaining a relationship of trust. Plus, looking into someone’s eyes while communicating is more personal and makes them feel appreciated. The risk of any miscommunication is minimised, as you can immediately clarify what you’ve said.
Establish feedback schedule
Creating a feedback schedule is a good idea if you truly want to hone your leadership skills. You can provide continuous feedback for colleagues weekly, monthly or annually. Numerous businesses often follow a yearly review, but you can create a plan that works best for your business.
With a clear schedule in front of you, it’s easier to track current performance and create future-focused goals for employees. Plus, they know the period of the year when they can expect feedback from you.
Even though you have a schedule to follow, if you want to boost morale of team members, consider additional periods when you can give feedback. You can provide constructive criticism during challenging projects. Once it’s over and the project is successful, give positive feedback to those who put extra effort.
Provide feedback upon project’s completion
As mentioned above, one of the best times to provide employee feedback is after a complex project is over. Whether you are planning to provide positive feedback or a negative one, you must do it in a timely manner.
If you let too much time pass, you and the employee will move away from the project and forget the particularities that made it special. Therefore, provide feedback in a matter of days upon the project’s completion. That way, you can revisit employees’ performance and provide feedback to create a positive effect.
Positive feedback tips
Providing positive feedback is important for many reasons. It fosters a healthy company culture that recognises good employees. That usually leads to them providing the extra effort and pursuing their personal development goals eagerly.
However, there’s an issue with positive feedback for colleagues. You have to mention the right things. Celebrating mundane tasks and telling employees that you appreciate a job well done even for the smallest tasks won’t do any good. It creates a false atmosphere where employees expect a clap for everything they do.
Keep the praise when it’s actually deserved. There are numerous times when the team is under heavier stress than usual, and those are the periods when giving feedback about good behaviour can boost team morale.
Therefore, ensure that your positive feedback is always given at the right time.
Negative feedback tips
People receive feedback differently, especially if it’s negative. That’s why it’s necessary to carefully approach the process and discuss the person’s actions and results. Never mention that they are the problem, in a sense that their character trait might be a cause of an issue.
Instead, focus on the problem at hand. Take a look at the whole situation and use your problem-solving skills to create feedback that will prevent the team member from repeating the same mistake in the future.
For the best results, present the facts. You can start by saying, ‘’During the last quarter, you managed to do this much work. In this quarter, results are different’’. Then present the current data and investigate together what’s changed. What can you do to fix the issue? How can you help?
Even when you’re providing negative feedback, you can approach the whole situation in a friendly manner, emphasising the company’s organisational values. You can create a significant impact with such an approach, which will result in a positive performance and good behaviour in the future.
If you’re stressed by a big mistake that a colleague has made, it’s best to provide feedback later. Acting on emotion isn’t the right approach, as you can end up in situations that aren’t helpful to anyone.
If you’re curious about what positive feedback should look like, here are a couple of suggestions to consider. Let’s look at a couple of positive feedback examples.
Positive employee feedback examples
There are many scenarios when you can give positive feedback to your colleagues. Some of them include:
[Employee name], I honestly think your ideas about the next quarter are useful for the team. They will help us achieve our goals faster and allow us to deliver more for our company. That makes you an immensely important part of the company. I’ll forward your ideas to management. They like people with initiative.
Completion of a complex project
Great work, [employee name]! Despite all the hardships you went through, we managed to finish everything in time. Thank you for keeping the project on the right course. The whole team appreciates your effort.
Going the extra mile
Hey [employee name], your numbers are amazing this quarter. You’ve delivered more than we could hope for. You’re such a fantastic team player! I’ll forward your numbers to the management, and we’ll figure out what kind of a reward is suitable. Do you have any ideas?
These scenarios show what positive feedback could look like, plus it shows how you could reward employees by listening to them.
Negative employee feedback examples
If you’re wondering what negative feedback should look like, here are a couple of examples that address negative behaviour.
I’ve noticed several deadlines were missed on [dates of deadlines]. I am referring to tasks [numbers of tasks]. That led to different teams in our departments missing deadlines. Is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening in the future?
Hey [employee name], there have been many articles coming from you with plenty of typos. The last one had 15 of them, which took me more time to edit than usual. That’s slowing down the project. Since we’re running on a tight schedule, can I somehow help you with your writing process? It would mean a lot for the team.
These feedback examples showcase how to provide negative feedback without hurting anyone’s emotions or insulting them. The important part is to focus on the task challenges and provide precise data that point to the problem.
That way, those who receive feedback will understand what needs fixing and can apply that to future projects.
Providing effective feedback for colleagues motivates positive behaviour in the company. Companies can use this to build stronger connections with their staff. The result will be a team of people willing to work in unison and achieve great things together.
Don’t forget that giving feedback is a two-way street. So ensure that your employees can also provide feedback to your business. You can do that by regularly creating employee feedback forms. It will result in constructive feedback going both ways.
The best part is that it will make all your employees feel like part of a big family.
About the Author
Dennis Vu is the CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze, a virtual business phone system company that helps teams to better serve their customers, anywhere.