Human Resources

How to Give Feedback


Providing an employee or colleague feedback is a fragile yet necessary thing. By following the tips below you can help make sure that the feedback you give is effective, constructive, and offers the employee knowledge on how to improve.

Types of Feedback
First, let’s explore types of feedback. There is:
• Positive feedback: “You did a great job on this last project.”
• Neutral feedback: “Here are diagrams you’ll need for this project.”
• Negative feedback: “This task could have been performed another way; you’ll need some improvement here.”

How to Give Effective Feedback
The most effective feedback is:
• Selective: Make sure to concentrate on the areas that are most important, not giving unhelpful details or nit-picking about behavior.
• Specific: Tell the employee specifically what they did well or did not do well. For example, “The way you handled Mr. Barber was very good,” instead of, “You’ve been associating well with customers lately.”
• Timely: Give feedback right after the event happens.
• Descriptive: Tell the employee the specifics of what you observed, not what you concluded. This will help the employee know what you’re talking about.
• Sensitive: Although feedback should be given as soon as possible to the employee, don’t give feedback if you or the employee is emotionally distressed. Find the most opportune time to talk.
• Helpful: If you are giving negative feedback, suggest ways that your employee can improve. This way, you are setting a goal that the employee can work towards.

How to Give Negative Feedback
Giving negative feedback is not always easy. But following these guidelines can help your employee improve, leading to a
positive experience for everyone involved:
• Be assertive. Be direct in telling the employee the situation or behavior that needs improvement.
• Ask the employee to talk about the situation or behavior and what he or she thinks about it. Be empathetic to the employee, and don’t argue over points, but work toward finding a corrective response to the issue that both parties can agree on.
• Find agreement with the employee. Help the employee understand why the behavior or situation is unacceptable.
• Help your employees develop a plan of action. Be specific on how the employee can achieve improvement, and work with him or her to accomplish it. Don’t push the employee too hard; focus on accomplishing small steps to reach big goals.
• Summarize. Talk about the points you and the employee went over, and see that both parties agree and understand the plan of action.
• Talk about what would happen if the employee doesn’t improve. Write down which improvements are necessary.
• Check-in with your employee. Agree upon a date that you can meet with the individual to discuss and review improvement.

How Feedback Can Be Most Effective to the Employee
The employee must:
• Understand what the employer expects.
• Accept the plan for improvement.
• Be able to take action.