Providing employees with feedback aimed to improve performance can be a nerve-wracking job for managers and small business owners. So how can you give your employees feedback that will not only be accepted, but also acted upon? Padgett Payroll Services® has created this guide for giving constructive feedback.
The first step to giving useful feedback is to make it constructive feedback instead of praise or criticism. Constructive feedback is based on observations, gives specific information and is focused on an issue. Praise and criticism are judgments, are vague and focused on the person instead of actions. To illustrate this difference, we will take a look at an example. An employee has a bad attitude. If you give an employee this criticism, it will not be well received, and will lead to no improvement. However, if you were to tell an employee that you have noticed him saying negative things about coworkers and in future you want him to bring issues to you instead of complaining to others, the employee knows exactly what the problem behavior is and now has a plan to avoid it in the future.
Next, make sure you give more positive feedback than negative. Give positive feedback early and often, and follow the same guidelines as you would negative feedback by making the feedback observation-based and specific. For example, one of your employees has been exceptional on a project. Instead of just saying good job, you could tell her that you noticed how the spreadsheet tracking system she set up made the project run more efficiently for the whole team. By giving more positive feedback than negative, you will be creating a positive environment. This will also emphasize the importance of the negative feedback given, instead of it being passed off as another complaint.
Feedback should always be given in person. E-mail leaves too much room for misinterpretation and does not allow the employee to ask for clarification and suggestions. When giving negative feedback, it should be done in a private, one-on-one meeting. Positive feedback can be done in public or private.
Give feedback immediately, or as close as possible. If you wait to give feedback until days, weeks or months later, you are relying on the employee’s memory of the event, which might not give the clarity needed for changes to occur. Giving feedback immediately allows the brain to learn best and can prevent future issues from occurring in similar situations.
Managers and business owners should use feedback as a tool to encourage employee performance and coach areas of trouble. By following the guidelines above, you will be able to give feedback employees will accept and act on. Padgett Payroll Services® is the first name in small business payroll services. Contact us today to see how we can take payroll hassles off your hands, allowing you to do what you do best: run your business.
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