As a CEO, manager or HR professional, giving employee feedback can feel a lot like watching your kid open their gift on Christmas morning - when you get it right, it’s amazing and everyone sends around cell phone videos with heart-eye emojis; when you get it wrong there is likely to be plenty of door slamming and a fair amount of sulking.
It’s a fine line, but if you want your business to thrive in this day and age, regular feedback is no longer optional - you’ve gotta.
It’s not just something we’re saying because it sounds good either, there are cold, hard stats that back up the fact that companies that employ innovative employee feedback strategies are seeing their effort reflected in their bottom line.
Gallup reports that managers are responsible for at least 70% of the variance in their employees’ engagement. Employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly three times more engaged than those with managers who don’t regularly communicate; and 43% of highly-engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.
Regular feedback = increased employee engagement = more Randellas.
Now that we’ve established that simple yet very inspiring equation, let’s look at how you can take the pain out of giving regular feedback at your company:
1. Strike while the iron is hot
Whether you need to deliver constructive criticism, or you are in the happy position of being able to recognise and reward a job well done, feedback is always more effective when it’s given timeously. After all, there is no time like the present! If your employees have to wait to be recognised for added effort, they may not see the value in doing so; and if you wait too long to address poor behaviour or an operational error, it could be repeated and cause even more harm before you get to the point of addressing it.
2. Make sure there is two-way communication
Open up those lines of communication and make sure that your feedback session is a two-way street. In cases where an employee is not performing in accordance to the wishes of the enterprise, it’s valuable to learn how they can be helped to do better. You may well find that they need to be briefed better, lack certain tools or feel that their work is not recognised. Similarly, when praising a job well done, it pays to know which processes, tools and team members were involved in the effort so it can be recreated down the line.
3. Always inject some positivity
This may go without saying, but always add some positivity to the mix, even when you’re addressing some negative behaviour. Many managers refer to it as the ‘Oreo’ or ‘hamburger’ approach. You’ll start off by saying something positive, segway into the difficult bit, and then round it off with some more positive feedback. E.g. ‘You have been doing a wonderful job of managing your portion of the project, but there are certain team members who feel that you are encroaching on the way they handle theirs; if you could perhaps use that innate diplomacy skills of yours to steady the boat so we can get this done without further incident, it would be much appreciated’.
4. Make sure your feedback is tied to a goal
Take care to tie your feedback to a measurable goal. For instance, instead of saying 'your customer service needs to improve', it's better to phrase it more objectively, e.g. 'our customer satisfaction surveys show a drop of 10% in terms of your service; how can we help you to improve it by 15% over the next two months?'. This way everyone will know what is expected and the employee will be held accountable in a constructive fashion.
5. Leverage regular employee satisfaction surveys
A good way to get regular feedback outside of the performance review process is to use employee satisfaction surveys. These short, to-the-point questionnaires, offer a glimpse into the everyday ‘temperature’ of your workforce and can help you to make cultural tweaks on the fly.
Here are a few examples of questions that will provide valuable feedback:
- How would you rate your work-life balance?
- Are you satisfied with the amount of opportunities for personal and professional growth available to you?
- Do you have all the tools that you need to get your job done efficiently?
- Are you aware of your exact job responsibilities?
- Do you feel that workload is distributed evenly at our company?
- Are your efforts recognised and rewarded?
- Does your manager ask for feedback on a regular basis?
- Do you feel connected or disconnected from our CEO?
- How would you rate your stress levels at work?
- Do you believe that you are reaching your full potential in your position?
There you have it - five top tips that will help you to improve employee feedback and give performance appraisals that motivate your team members to live their best work lives.
In summary, if you want to supercharge performance management at your place of business:
- Ensure that feedback is timeous.
- Make room for a two-way conversation.
- Focus on the positive, even when addressing the negative.
- Always attach feedback to a tangible goal.
- Incorporate employee satisfaction surveys in your feedback lineup.
Following these guidelines will pave the way for increased employee engagement like you would not believe. Keep your eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months as we tackle more tough topics and give you insider info on everything from drafting employee engagement surveys, to identifying strengths and weaknesses in your workforce in order to help them learn and grow.
If you want to take practical steps towards opening the lines of communication at your company, we recommend that you take a look at our SaaS-based employee recognition platform.
It's a powerful internal communication platform that's simple to use, and extremely effective at providing on-the-go employee feedback. In fact, we’re so sure it will improve internal communication at your business, we’ll let you try it for FREE. Click the button below to get started 👇