As a manager it’s your job to give feedback on a constant basis: Whether it’s good feedback or bad feedback, it shapes your workforce and the way your employees go about their jobs. Most employees in the majority of organisations will under-go an annual or even six-monthly performance review, where performance feedback is heaped upon them all in one go. Performance reviews are an important part of every employee’s development, but you shouldn’t save all feedback up until you see them on that one to one basis. Instead, feedback should be given all of the time. When you see someone do something really well, offer them some recognition! When you see someone do something as they shouldn’t, make sure you pull it up.
Giving performance feedback in a timely manner
One of the main reasons why it’s important to give feedback on an on-going basis, and not just once every six months or year, is because the feedback that you give to employees has to be acted on. If you see an employee speak to a client without being polite, this needs addressing immediately – not in several months time when that employee sits down with you for a performance review. Just think of how many more clients they could end up speaking to between the incident you witness and their performance review – and think about the potential damage that they could do to the business.
As Gina Imperato says over at FastCompany.com:
“Feedback Delayed Is Feedback Denied”.
The closer feedback is given to the event the better – this works for both sides of the coin. Giving feedback promptly in situations where employees aren’t doing their jobs properly ensures it will be resolved quickly, offering positive feedback straight after the event means an employee knows their work has been recognised. That doesn’t mean you should interrupt a conversation between an employee and a client because you think they’re doing a great job – but when that call or meeting is over you should make a point of giving them a positive comment – where possible in the ear shot of others.
Using performance feedback to motivate
The majority of employees love to hear good things from their manager – even if they pretend they’re embarrassed or disinterested. Feedback should be used as a motivational tool by managers: Positive feedback spurs employees on to achieve even better things, and negative feedback encourages employees to improve on bad practices – turning the feedback they receive from bad to good. The best managers out there use constant feedback with employees to shape the way they work – dishing feedback out effectively is a great way to achieve the outcome that you want to see with a workforce.
With negative feedback you need to be careful where and when you give it out. Unlike positive feedback, employees won’t want their colleagues to hear you dishing negative feedback out to them – in some ways it undermines what they’re trying to do. Negative feedback is best given in private – but not in an abrasive or angry manner. Give negative feedback and explain what is expected instead – show the employee that you’re willing to help them turn a negative into a positive. Although some employees may not be receptive at first, if you show them you’re genuinely willing to help, a lot will take negative feedback on board and act on it immediately.
As a manager you should see yourself as the “chief feedback giver”. Remember your bosses won’t hold back when it comes to offering performance feedback to you, whether it’s good or bad – so it’s important that you encourage a team environment where feedback is encouraged, if not sought out by employees directly.