How to Give Employee Feedback

Old school organizations and HR professionals stand by the annual review and merit increase associated with the process. This system is antiquated and does not satisfy the performance expectations we have for employees today nor their desire for instant access to information. When our employees do not know if they are hitting the mark with their efforts they lose interest, become unhappy with their career, and disengage. Why and how should you give feedback every week?

How to give employee feedback:

1. Schedule time. This sounds simple and is where I often see the most pushback. The reason most leaders are hesitant to schedule time is they believe that the lines of communication are always open with their team and the employee will communicate any necessary issues to the supervisor during their day-to-day interaction. This is rarely the case. You need to provide a forum for these interactions and make it clear this is the place to air developmental questions and feedback for both parties. You will see measurable gains by ensuring both sides are communicating clearly and effectively in a distraction free environment.

2. Get involved. While the old method of managing by “walking around” is not considered to be an effective tool by most leadership professionals, it is an often lacking component of today’s leaders. If you do not get hands on with your team, and interact with them while they are performing their core responsibilities, it is impossible for you to gain insight into why they are (or not) hitting the metrics you have in place for the position. With the gaining popularity of remote workers this can provide challenges but you need to establish systems and ways to get involved in a virtual world as well. This can be as simple as listening in on conference calls or tag teaming a project together via Skype.

3. Solicit from others. One of the biggest misses by leaders is taking their perception of employees combined with their results to formulate an assessment of how adept that employee is at their position. If you are not talking to your employees co-workers, clients and any other interactions they may have (vendors, contractors, etc.) you are not getting the full story. This can be established through 360 degree performance reviews annually but you need to make this a regular part of your routine to make sure you are putting the best possible product in front of your consumers.

Feedback is a gift. When given frequently and with honesty it can significantly reduce the need for performance plans or even terminations. Employees expect to hear how they are performing and the best will thrive in this environment. I will give you one word of caution; when you start providing feedback regularly, you should be ready to hear some yourself. Make sure you are walking the talk and leading by example to get the most out of your team.

What best practices can you share on how to give employee feedback?