How to Deliver Effective Feedback in the Workplace

December 22, 2017
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Constructive feedback in the workplace is extremely important as workplaces need effective communication for success. As well as increasing staff morale, feedback helps us learn more about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, our behaviours, and how our actions affect others. It increases our self-awareness and encourages personal development.

Feedback does not always have to be positive. Negative feedback highlights areas where we need to improve and helps make our work much better in the long run. However, it is important that you give feedback skilfully and productively, otherwise it provides no basis for development.

employer giving constructive and clear feedback

We know that giving effective, constructive feedback can be difficult. As a result, this article will explain how to give effective feedback and outline the main benefits of feedback in the workplace.

Benefits of Feedback in the Workplace

There are so many advantages to giving your employees positive and negative feedback, as long as it’s communicated effectively.

Some benefits of feedback in the workplace are:

  1. Increased motivation. If employees receive positive feedback about their work, they’ll feel appreciated and more motivated.
  2. Greater performance. Employees’ work will reach a higher standard when they know their efforts are valued and when they receive feedback that highlights areas for improvement.
  3. Continuous learning. Quite often, we fall into repetitive, monotonous work routines and we stop learning new things. By giving constructive and frequent feedback, particularly if it includes areas to improve, you teach employees new ways to do things.
  4. Improved relationships. Employees are much more likely to come to you with problems if they know you take note of their activities. Furthermore, if you let them know when you’re happy with their work, they will likely continue to work hard to ‘not let you down’.
  5. Personal growth. Both positive and negative feedback shows employees their strengths as well as areas to work on. This makes them more self-aware and provides them with invaluable opportunities for personal improvement.
  6. Increased confidence. When you give your employees positive feedback, and let them know whenever they’ve done something well, you increase their confidence in their work. This makes them feel happier to come to work.
  7. Improved work. Give your employees feedback on their projects, and get others to do the same. Doing so brings multiple perspectives and ideas to the project and creates a better piece of work overall.

barista serving a customer

How to Give Effective Feedback

Effective communication is just as important as the feedback itself. Your feedback needs to be clear, concise, and purposeful. It should also be frequent – don’t just wait until an annual review to let employees know their progress.

Some feedback methods in the workplace are:

  • Start with the positive. If you need to deliver negative feedback, you should initially state what the employee has done well. As individuals, we tend to internalise criticism much more than compliments. Therefore, when you frame a criticism positively, employees are less likely to take it personally.
  • Be specific. It’s important that your feedback is direct. You should avoid generalised evaluations, such as “you were great”, and give more specific descriptions, such as “I really liked your introduction in your presentation on Monday”.
  • Be objective. You should always focus on factual information and justify your feedback, especially if it’s negative. Try not to base your judgment on subjective information and personal feelings and emotions.
  • Give actionable advice. This is especially important if you must give negative feedback. It’s pointless to criticise a piece of work if you don’t say how to improve it. You should always give pointers that the employee can work on and follow up your feedback to ensure they understand what to do.
  • Make feedback frequent. You should always aim to give feedback frequently, especially if you’re not happy with the way an employee completed a task. If you do not give feedback close to the time, the employee will unknowingly keep making the same errors.
  • Communicate face-to-face. Provide feedback face-to-face where possible. This gives the employee the chance to ask questions and makes your feedback much more genuine.

manager delivering feedback to employee in warehouse

We hope that this article usefully explained the importance of feedback in the workplace. Feedback is extremely beneficial, and you should treat it as such. Embrace both positive and negative feedback to create a more successful work environment.

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