When done well, regular employee feedback has the potential to help build and evolve your organisation’s culture, boost levels of trust and communication and strengthen ties between your people. Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid awkward or difficult conversations, feedback is often put on the back burner – which is the last thing you should do.
Here are three ways to establish good channels of communication when it comes to providing effective employee feedback to help the people in your company will learn and grow and your company thrive.
Remove The Ambiguity
People generally want to know if they are doing a good job, sometimes, this can be easier to see – a role focussing on sales for example will result in the team member either meeting or not meeting their sales target. In other roles, overall performance might be less tangible. It’s good to have established the foundations for how you want people to work in the first place. For everyone in your organisation
- Make sure it’s clear what accountability and authority the person in the role has
- Communicate the experience you’d like your other team members and customers to have when interacting with this role
- Establish and clearly communicate guidelines for how you want the work to be done
With these foundations in place – providing feedback, particularly having conversations around negative feedback – will be easier to have.
Celebrate Wins and Provide Feedback Regularly
Take every opportunity to call out the good work you‘ve observed and any positive feedback you may have heard from others. If appropriate, share successes and feedback as a team. Recognising great work as a team can help demonstrate to all your team members what you’re striving to see as a standard across the company and lets the broader team know that you will recognise the effort that the team put in.
People like to hear when they’re on the right track, if you can’t do it ‘in the moment’ then set up a time for a regular 1:1. It’s an excellent way to check in on how your people are going and create to an opportunity to give feedback.
1:1s don’t need to be an arduous task but they should be regular. 15 minutes a week is better than 1 hour a month. Keep a running log of what you’ve shared or discussed open to both you and your staff member and ideally keep to a set structure every time you check in so you can get into the rhythm of it.
Here’s a suggested set of questions to help structure your 1:1s:
How are you going?
What’s on your priority list this week?
What do you need from me? How can I help?
What’s going well?
Where are some opportunities for improvement/further learning?
Get The Difficult Conversations Out Of The Way Early
Everyone enjoys giving and receiving positive feedback but sitting down with a team member and telling them where they’re falling short may be a little more difficult and emotionally draining. No one really wants to hear they’re not doing a good job, but if they’re going to get better at what they’re doing and learn, they need to be able to hear it and you need to be able to share it, as objectively as possible before it starts to impact the broader team.
Many managers are averse to having difficult conversations. They don’t want their people to “feel bad” and are concerned that critical feedback might cause them to react badly or cause a scene that they don’t know how to handle. As a result, some managers avoid addressing anything negative at all which means the behaviour or practice continues and ends up negatively impacting the workplace culture and the team around them.
How to start the conversation
- Describe what you are seeing that is different from what you expected. Give a real example.
- Describe how the behaviour or action makes people feel or how it impacts the team, the process etc
- Listen to what your staff member has to say about your observations and impact on others
- Identify what good would look like – what could be done differently to meet what’s expected
- Describe why changing the behaviour or action is important
Employee feedback is an important aspect of development and progress for everyone in your business. Being able to deliver it effectively will result in a more collaborative, communicative, and high-performing workplace culture.
If you’d like to have more of an open feedback culture in your workplace or train your people leaders in how to get effective 1:1s in place or handle those trickier conversations, contact the team at Hello Monday.
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