Employee Performance Feedback: How to Communicate in a Way that Gets Results

Offering employee feedback is an important skill for anyone in a supervisory position, but many managers don’t know how to offer feedback effectively. Whether they’re overly harsh and critical or too concerned about hurt feelings, their message can be completely lost. Don’t let this happen to you! Honest and open feedback between a manager and an employee keeps an office running smoothly, as well as building and improving your professional relationships. Here are some ways to improve the delivery of your feedback:

Give them a heads up.
Receiving feedback can be just as nerve-wracking as giving it. Give your employee a warning by asking them if they have time to talk about their performance later in the day or, even better, have a time set aside for regular feedback so everyone knows when to expect it. The more often you give feedback, the easier it is for both sides.

Start with something positive.
Don’t lead with criticism. There’s no faster way to put your employee on the defense, and a defensive employee isn’t completely open to hearing what you have to say. Instead, start with an example of something they did well and use that to lead into what needs improvement. Positive feedback can soften the blow of constructive criticism.

Give concrete examples.
Avoid phrases that begin with, “You always,” or “You never.” Instead, cite a specific example by starting a conversation with something like, “When you were working on last week’s performance report…” This way your employee has a point of reference for your feedback. They’re also less likely to feel that you’re being unfair.

Don’t get personal.
Make sure you recognize the difference between an employee’s behavior and your impression of them as a person. If they’ve come late into the office every day for the past week, speak with them about their behavior. Don’t call them lazy or disorganized. Don’t make assumptions about why it’s happening. Just address it head on, make it clear that it’s a problem, and let your employee take the steps to fix it.

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