Providing your employees with regular feedback is an essential part of improving their performance and productivity, yet it’s one of the most overlooked aspects of running a successful team.
Employees need a good wage and a positive work/life balance to thrive in the current environment.
However, when team leaders have everything from productivity to performance to keep track of, it’s easy to forget that your team also needs confirmation that they’re moving in the right direction.
Employees in the current agile landscape are continually moving from one task to the next, trying to keep up with an ever-changing industry. In this environment, it’s common for staff members to lose their motivation when feedback isn’t regularly available.
According to studies, around 82% of employees say it’s better to give someone praise than to give them a gift.
However, 63% of team members also feel as though they’re not getting enough guidance and recognition in their own work.
The easiest way to overcome this problem is for business leaders to focus on embedding feedback into their company culture. When you concentrate on making feedback a consistent and regular consideration, you achieve more positive results.
Turning employee feedback into a habit
With countless meetings and deadlines to deal with, managers have a lot on their plate. Fitting a schedule of regular feedback and positive interactions with employees into the mix can seem like an impossible challenge.
All employers need to do is to turn their feedback strategy into a consistent habit.
Here are some top tips to get you started.
Simplify the act of giving feedback
When you’re trying to fit yet another crucial task into your busy schedule, it makes sense to make that project as easy and straightforward as possible.
For instance, instead of finishing your day by responding to emails, concentrate on moving your email correspondence to somewhere else in your schedule so you can close the day with thank you messages and feedback for employees.
At the end of each day, go through the list of employees you’ve worked with that day, and think about how you can help them to achieve more tomorrow. If you can’t deliver that kind of feedback daily, you can start small with regular messages once a week.
Soon it will feel like second nature to give your employees the guidance they deserve. You’ll find that it becomes an integral part of your schedule.
Remember, there are plenty of tools out there that can help with giving employee feedback too. For instance, if you use a collaboration tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, bot integrations can allow managers to give “kudos” and praise at the click of a button.
Make sure you give more in-depth and actionable feedback too.
Deliver feedback immediately
If you find it challenging to deliver the right feedback at the end of the week when you’ve had time to think about a million other things, then it’s time to change your schedule again. Consider starting to deliver feedback in real-time, as soon as they complete an important project, or reach a milestone.
Whenever you receive a message in your inbox telling you that a project is complete, take it as a sign it’s time to deliver feedback to your employee. Waiting until the next performance review or the end of the month to deliver a positive response means your guidance might not hit the same chords.
No matter how busy you might be, it’s essential to take time out of your schedule to celebrate with your employees too.
The more real-time feedback an employee gets, the more they can learn from their actions and keep moving in the right direction.
You might even discover that you can give more informative and actionable feedback at the moment.
However, be careful not to act on impulse in situations when not everything is going according to plan. If you need to deliver negative feedback, it would be best to wait for an eye-to-eye meeting instead of reeling off an employee’s shortcomings in front of their colleagues.
Take your time to think about how to constructively deliver your feedback so your employee can take away actionable steps for improvement.
Make feedback actionable
One of the easiest ways to deliver feedback or praise when you’re in a hurry is to hit a button on Slack or simply tell your employees they’ve done a good job.
While this kind of support is great, it only goes so far. Eventually, your team members will hit a wall where they can no longer improve and grow, because they’re not sure how to take their performance to the next level.
Providing more in-depth and actionable feedback means managers can cultivate the behaviours that are benefitting the business while helping employees to overcome challenges.
For instance, think about what your team members did to deliver exceptional results in the last project they completed. How did their actions lead to great results?
The C.O.I.N (Context, Observation, Impact, Next) method will help you to structure the employee feedback you give:
- Context: What was the situation?
- Observation: What behaviour did you observe?
- Impact: How did the behaviour impact the results?
- Next: What does your team member need to do next?
Reward and praise
If you want your employees to continue to deliver excellent results, then the best thing to do is praise them for their success.
We all love positive feedback, particularly when it comes with things like praise, bonuses, and gifts. The more you positively reinforce the right behaviour in your team members with rewards, the more likely they are to work harder the next time they’re working on a similar task.
Remember, rewards don’t need to be monetary. You could set up a points system where you give your employees points or kudos every time they do something right. When those points hit a certain level, your employees could trade them in for a financial gift, or even some extra paid time off work.
Keeping track of the praise you deliver and the bonuses you promise to your employees will help them feel like every action they’re taking makes a difference.
You could even add a touch of gamification to the mix by allowing your employees to track their performance and compete for the top spot with other staff members.
Positive feedback makes a huge difference to the productivity levels of your employees. If your staff members know you will recognise their hard work and extra effort, they’re more likely to go above and beyond whenever the opportunity allows for it.
This productivity can also inspire your other employees, creating a more efficient and focused team overall.
If you measure the results you get from your team members after they receive regular feedback, you’ll be able to see for yourself how significant a little extra guidance is.
Monitoring results also means you know which forms of feedback are most effective for your team.
For instance, are they more likely to respond to one-on-one meetings, emails, or quick messages sent over chat? Different employees are likely to need different things when it comes to feedback. Offer a range of options that suits your diverse employees.
Regular feedback improves your bottom line
Employees see receiving positive feedback regularly as a benefit. However, management can struggle to see the positive impact that this kind of habit can have on their business and goals too.
When you deliver regular feedback to your employees, you’re giving them the guidance they need to continue delivering the results your business needs. This means you’re more likely to get excellent outcomes and less likely to encounter mistakes.
According to studies from OGO, 40% of workers say they would put more energy into the work they do if they got more recognition for their actions.
Helping your team members to understand which behaviours your business appreciates and which it’s trying to reduce will lead to happier team members, stronger processes, and a better bottom line.
Feedback is a valuable thing for both employees and their leaders. When you give your team members regular guidance, you’re more likely to access the results you need.
At the same time, feedback in the form of praise can also help your employees to feel more motivated at work.
If you’re not implementing regular employee feedback into your company culture yet, now’s the perfect time to get started.
About the Author
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets. Follow him on @bmorepeters