How To Give Feedback To Your Employees

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A manager is responsible for a multitude of responsibilities, such as ensuring deadlines are met, workflows are evaluated, maintained, and optimized, improving the performance of the business, and overseeing a team of employees.  That last point may easily be the most important responsibility that the manager has: the manager no longer is expected to be a high contributor by their individual performance, but to instead utilize other peoples’ skillsets to best achieve the company’s goals.  The manager is also responsible to not just grow the business, but to also grow the team by developing their skills, minimizing mistakes, and maximizing career growth.


Employee development requires giving clear, understandable feedback by the manager, regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative.  Read our guide below so you can give your team the feedback they need to succeed. And if you need more help with employee development, reach out to FindersKeepers Talent today!


Keep It Private

Feedback shouldn’t be given on the floor in front of other employees.  It’s not necessary for other teammates to know what their coworker is doing well or where they’re under-performing; their knowledge will only create judgment, good or bad.  It also creates an uncomfortable situation for the recipient instead of having a safe environment with just the manager to respond.


Be Direct

Managers shouldn’t dance around any feedback.  It’s important to be clear and direct when providing feedback to an employee so that there’s no misunderstanding the intent.  Speak objectively and factually. Saying “I feel like you get to work late” is weak and debatable versus just telling the employee “You’re getting to work late.”  


Have Examples

Feedback should be based on clear actions taken by the employee.  Without clear examples, it can be impossible for an employee to know what needs to be improved, and it makes the manager’s feedback sound subjective since it isn’t being backed up with concrete evidence.  Bring multiple examples that support the feedback as well, since neither positive or negative feedback should be based on a single event.


Focus On What They Can Actually Control

Before critiquing an employee, it’s important to look at the entire situation.  For example, an account manager may have lost a long-standing client, but the client had to cut spending across the board due to a broken compliance issue on their end.  In this situation, there was nothing else the account manager could have done, barring spending their free time acting as the client’s legal counsel and parsing through their entire site.  Any negative feedback is just going to that there’s a disconnect on the manager’s end and erode trust with the employee.


Put Yourself In Their Shoes

Each employee is different, and before even speaking to them, it’s important to think through how the feedback will be received in order to deliver it successfully.  Some employees may want to avoid confrontation and will try to nod their way through the discussion as quickly as possible. In this case, it’s important to slow the employee down and make sure that the message is being understood.  Other employees may be upset or push back against negative feedback; in this case it’s important to have clear examples and to be firm in your statements.


The same should be done for positive feedback.  More modest employees may need to be praised a bit more lavishly so that they truly feel appreciated.  


Put The Bigger Picture In Perspective

It’s the manager’s responsibility to help employees understand what the company is working towards and to understand how their work fits into those company goals.  When giving feedback, it’s important to tie it to those goals so that their actions are tied to the proper weight.


For example, an analyst that has created a workflow improvement that reduces team errors should be commended for not just the action, but also for creating an efficiency that allows the team to spend more time on X/Y/Z tasks, which will help the company reach one of their goals.  Alternatively, an account executive that fails to find new business should be critiqued not just about their own laziness, but how the lack of new revenue streams is impacting the company’s overall growth, which impacts other departments’ goals.

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