constructive criticism

How to Give Constructive Feedback That Employees Will Actually Receive

Delivering feedback isn’t always an easy task, it can be filled with challenges, questions and awkward conversations, but it’s extremely important to know how to deliver difficult feedback in a positive manner – something we like to call, constructive criticism.

Feedback is crucial when it comes to employee development and business expansion – a key factor to the progression of employees and healthy workplace constructs. Without feedback, many employees won’t know if they are under-performing or even over-performing – this may cause them to be stuck in a limbo of uncertainty, which isn’t going to harvest motivation.

Here are our top tips to consider when delivering negative or challenging feedback and how to turn that situation into one that will benefit your employees and business in a positive manner…


Delivering Feedback at the Right Time & Place

Feedback can cause some awkward conversations, as many people can find such conversations confrontational or intimidating – approaching them with sensitivity and grace may place you in a better position to deliver feedback in a positive manner.

It’s important not to deliver feedback in front of others, or at least not in a large group setting, where an employee can already be stressed or overwhelmed. Instead, find a private time and place where you can calmy instigate a conversation and put your employee at ease.


Start with Positive Feedback

Before you begin with the negatives, take some time to acknowledge the efforts and strengths that your employee has developed, think about where they started and where they are now, or highlight the things they are doing well within the role and that you appreciate.

Doing so will soften the blow of negative feedback, and will also make your employee feel appreciated and valued, as there is no doubt that they will be putting time and effort into your business which can sometimes escape the net.

Starting with the positives will show that there is a balance between the actions your employee is smashing, and those they need to work on – it’s not all doom and gloom!


Provide Specific Feedback Examples

Feedback that isn’t specific can seem like a drop in the ocean – it will definitely get lost and non-actionable pointers will disappear as soon as you’ve mentioned them.

Don’t just say “your work is not good enough.” Instead, be specific about what the employee is doing wrong and how they can improve. For example, you might say “I noticed that you missed a few deadlines this week. Can you tell me what happened?” or “I’m concerned about the quality of your work on the recent project. Can we talk about how we can improve it?”

Specific feedback will allow you to provide an employee with clear examples about where they might’ve gone wrong and also create a clear trajectory for progress.


Offer Suggestions for Improvement

Feedback is great, but it’s easy to point out the problems without offering solutions, and then what? Most of the time, problems without solutions will not be actioned upon, as your employee is probably going to look towards you for guidance on what the next steps may be.

Don’t just tell them what they’re doing wrong – instead, offer suggestions on how they can improve, put plans in action and offer a schedule or timeline of events, whereby both you and the employee will know exactly what to expect if the improvements haven’t been made or progressed.


Receive Feedback Yourself

Although the session between you and the employee should focus on their development and challenges, you should also be open to hearing their perspective. Feedback isn’t a one-way street and it should never be, as back-and-forth conversations are some of the most valuable moments as a professional.

Be willing to listen and address concerns without becoming defensive or challenging.

Giving negative feedback can be a difficult task, but it’s important to do it in a way that is constructive and helpful. By following the tips in this blog post, you can learn how to give negative feedback in a positive way that will help your employees improve their performance.

Remember to choose the right time and place for the conversation, remain positive, deliver it with clear and specific examples and be open to feedback yourself.


Align, Develop & Retain Top Talent with emPerform

By following these tips, you can create a workplace where employees are motivated and engaged, which will lead to improved retention. Plus, by using emPerform, you can streamline your employee performance management and boost employee motivation and retention.

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