Employee Recognition

How to give effective employee feedback

effective employee feedbackEmployees need to know and also love to know how they are performing.

If management fails to communicate performance with their employees it is highly unlikely that employees will know whether they’re performing according to your company’s levels of expectations.

According to Gallup’s 2017 report: “Employees are more likely to learn and grow when they receive immediate feedback that is specific, targeted at their development and able to be put into practice right away.”

Perhaps this is an indication that effective employee feedback methods should be adopted with these elements in mind and should not be approached haphazardly with little to no process attached to it.  

There should be a structure and methodology for providing feedback effectively and in a way that promotes engagement and motivates your employees.

In this blog post, we will give you a how-to guide that’s effective in providing the feedback that your employees need to continue driving your business forward.

According to Jeff Miller, a good place to start would be to ask yourself these three questions before approaching any feedback situation:

1. Have I identified what change I’d like to see? It doesn’t matter what feedback model you end up adopting if you can answer this question, it will provide you with objective insights into the behaviour you’re wanting to address.

"Never criticize the person. Always criticize the actions." - Leo Babauta

2. What has this person’s experience at work been in recently? You should always start with a human-centred approach and ask yourself what personal situation may cause a particular employee to behave in a way that’s questionable.

3. Whose needs am I meeting with this feedback? A feedback model will ensure that you take emotion and frustration out of your approach. Answering this question will allow you to assess your reason for wanting to provide feedback. Who is your feedback going to benefit and what benefits should it bring about?


Characteristics of effective employee feedback:

It is therefore important to understand what the characteristics of providing effective feedback are:

  • You should focus on the behaviour and not the person or their personality.

  • It needs to be specific, measurable, actionable.

  • It needs to be collaborative. Your employee should be able to partake in the feedback process.

  • You need to follow up on progress based on your actionable steps.

Positive Vs. Constructive feedback:

Did you know that the process of providing positive feedback actually stimulates those reward centres in the brain?

effective employee feedbackThis can leave your employee receptive to receiving your feedback and open to guidance. Specificity here cannot be overstated, your employee needs to understand what behaviour they’re being praised for. This can encourage repeat performance, which is great for business.

The converse to positive feedback is constructive feedback.

Constructive feedback often has a negative connotation attached to it and perhaps that’s due to badly run feedback sandwiches over the years where emotions and opinions haven’t been effectively systematised to achieve the results that constructive feedback should provide.

SkyeTeam's CEO Morag Barrett says that “giving feedback should be an ongoing process...If feedback is seen as nothing more than a part of everyday communication, it won't be misinterpreted as being something special..."

Constructive feedback should provide your employees with the opportunity to improve in specific areas and develop new skills. If it’s not doing that it’s definitely time to rethink your feedback strategy. Take a look at the feedback models below to help you get started.


Employee Feedback models

These are two tried and trusted feedback models that you could look at implementing for your company:

The Situation-Behaviour-Impact (SBI) model:

This model should help you focus your feedback on specific behaviours and situations and how these behaviours may have affected the work environment.

  • Situation: You will need to be able to describe the situation with specifics.

  • Behaviour: You will need to describe the behaviour that you observed. The intention here is to ensure you don’t make any assumptions or judgment.

  • Impact: You will need to describe the impact that this behaviour may have caused on you or the work environment.

This model is successfully used to provide effective, accurate and actionable feedback to employees.

The IDEA model - Identify, Describe, Encourage and Action.

  • Identify – You will need to identify a specific behaviour that you believe needs to be changed.

  • Describe – You will need to accurately describe to your employee how this specific behaviour has affected a particular person or the working environment. This same step allows you to highlight how this behaviour can be rectified to alleviate the situation in a positive way.

  • Encourage – You will need to spend some time encouraging your employee in this changed behaviour. It’s important for them to know that they have your support during this process. This can boost motivation, trust and create team cohesion.

  • Action – All parties need to make sure that they know what the next steps are. It will be easier if you map out some actionable and achievable steps before meeting up again.  

There are similarities in many of the feedback models that are available and certainly within the above two models.

These similarities highlight the importance of feedback being timely, specific and actionable. These elements are important in providing feedback that actually drives change.

Technology and Feedback

effective employee feedbackResearch conducted by SHRM has reported that many companies today are adopting technology like web and mobile-based applications to aid their feedback strategies.

The rise of technology like this not only appeals to a younger generation of employees but it can also provide you with an effective mechanism for providing feedback in a timely and specific manner.

Tools like bountiXP have played a role in the transformation of employee feedback systems by offering a mobile and desktop platform that enables your managers as well as your employees to exchange feedback on a real-time basis. This, therefore, weaves a feedback strategy right into the fibres of your culture.


Key Takeaways

Your feedback strategy should provide your employees with the information they need for professional development and growth.

As much as you need to offer both positive and constructive feedback, this process is also a two-way street. It is hugely beneficial for you to solicit feedback on your own leadership and management styles. This level of feedback can go a long way in promoting a positive company culture that’s open to growth and the development of new skills.

Are you keen to see if bountiXP could help you achieve just that? You can, it’s FREE for the first 30-days! Simply click the download button below to get you started.

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