Management Tips | February 4, 2020

A Guide to Constructive Employee Feedback: Examples & Tips

image representing A Guide to Constructive Employee Feedback: Examples & Tips

Giving feedback to employees and receiving manager feedback are two core responsibilities of your role as a manager. If you’re looking for ideas on how to give and receive feedback in more efficient, engaging, and effective ways, then we’ve got you covered! Let’s dive in… 🏊

Why Employee Feedback is Important

Employee feedback is the process of managers, supervisors, and peers giving constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement to an employee. Employee feedback is a two-way street—it also includes an employee giving feedback to his/her manager, peers, or the organization as a whole.

Giving feedback to employees (both when things are going well and when they aren’t) is one of the most crucial responsibilities of a manager. It can help them identify areas of opportunity to develop new skills, improve job performance, and promote their personal and professional growth.

Receiving feedback from your employees can help you improve as a manager while simultaneously bettering the organization as a whole. The result? Happier, higher performing employees and more effective leadership—all working together to meet the goals of the business 😍!

How to Get Feedback From Your Employees

One of the primary roles of a manager is giving employee feedback—but what’s often overlooked is getting employee feedback. Many businesses rely on exit interviews to gain insight into a manager’s effectiveness, but what good does it do to uncover how an employee feels about you as their manager when they’re leaving the company?

If you have a way for your leadership team to receive frequent employee feedback, you could get ahead of the issue and improve employee retention. Seeing as a Gallup study found 50% of Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career,” having these insights sooner can help your organization reduce costly employee turnover 💰.

So, you want to be sure you’re regularly asking for feedback while your employees are still your employees and you can actually make changes to benefit them! This may involve asking for feedback during regular check-ins, team meetings, or 1:1 meetings, or sending out monthly or quarterly surveys 📝.

No matter how you get the feedback, here are a few major things you should always do when asking for manager feedback from your employees:

  1. Make it clear you value manager feedback 🤗. When you’re the boss, it can be awkward to ask your direct reports to tell you what they think of your performance—and it can be even more awkward and intimidating for the employee. So, make sure your employees know you actually value their feedback so they feel more comfortable giving it. You're not perfect, and letting your team members know you’re always looking to improve makes you a more transparent, approachable boss.

  2. Ask specific employee feedback questions ❓. Asking “do you have any feedback for me?” is simply too vague. Instead, ask specific yet open-ended questions to help your direct reports come up with more relevant, helpful answers. For example, instead of asking, “Do you like our team meetings,” you could ask questions like, “What’s something I could change about the way I lead our meetings to make them more engaging,” or, “Do you think our team meetings are well organized? If not, how do you think we could make them more efficient?”

  3. Lead by example 🚶‍♂️. If you want your direct reports to listen to and apply your employee feedback, then you need to be able to do the same. Accept manager feedback with a positive attitude and work to actually implement the changes and improvements your team is asking for. This shows you’re invested in being a better manager and willing to work on your weaknesses—which will make it easier for them to accept your feedback on their own areas for improvements.

How to Learn From Employee Feedback

In order to be an effective manager, you need to be able to show your employees that you’re actually learning from their feedback. However, learning from feedback, especially negative or redirecting feedback, can be a challenge 🤯.

Here are a few simple tips for learning from employee feedback so you can actually turn insight into action.

  • Look for patterns. Try to find patterns or commonalities in your manager feedback. Did a lot of your employees bring up the same concerns or problems in a recent employee feedback survey? For example, let’s say 8 out of 10 of your team members made a comment about your team meetings being unorganized. This is a pattern you should definitely pay attention to!
  • Address priorities first. As a manager, you won’t be able to address every concern or make every change your employees are asking for overnight. So how can you prioritize? If you do identify patterns or recurring issues, address those problems first. If the majority of your team seems to have the same problem, you’ll want to get it handled as quickly as possible to avoid negative impact on team morale and performance.
  • Be transparent about changes. When your employees are being vocal about manager feedback, you want to make sure you’re being vocal about how you’re handling it, too. Don’t just quietly make changes and assume your employees will notice—be open, honest, and upfront about the improvements you’re making and why.

How to Give Feedback to Your Employees

Now that you know the ins and outs of getting manager feedback, the next part is being able to effectively give it to your employees.

It can be hard and awkward to have tough conversations about professional performance 😖—especially with someone you like personally. But as a manager, giving employee feedback is a crucial part of your job role. So how can you do it effectively?

A study quoted in the book First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham says that the world’s best managers share three characteristics. They all tend to:

  1. Exchange feedback continuously 🔄. If you only give employee feedback during annual performance reviews, you may give your team members the impression that you’re giving them feedback because “it’s that time of year and you have to.” On the other hand, when you provide more regular feedback or constructive comments as soon as you notice something your direct reports can improve upon, it makes it possible to nip issues in the bud right as they occur. If left unsaid, issues will only get worse, and by the time the annual performance review rolls around, you’ll have to deal with a whole slew of issues that could have been avoided if resolved earlier.

  2. Focus on employee strengths 💪. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to stay positive while giving employee feedback. Make sure to give reinforcing feedback and highlight an employee’s accomplishments when they’re doing something well! This boosts morale and shows your employees you appreciate them. When you do have to give negative feedback, use the redirection method to spin it in a more positive light. Don’t just focus on the employee’s actions, but figure out next steps and talk through ways in which you could help. Always try to balance positive and negative feedback—if you have to discuss an employee’s weakness, make sure you also highlight one of their strengths.

  3. Praise in public and provide criticism in private 🤫. If you need to give a team member constructive feedback, make sure to give it in private and ideally in person during a 1:1 meeting. You don’t want to send performance feedback in an instant message or email—this feels impersonal and shows your employee you don’t care about taking the time to meet face to face. You also don’t want to call out an individual in a team meeting or in front of their coworkers. This can make an employee feel incredibly uncomfortable and create a competitive nature amongst your team. Instead, find a quiet space to offer your feedback and advice face-to-face. On the other hand, employee praise or positive recognition can be shared publicly (as long as your report is comfortable with it).

6 Manager Feedback Examples to Follow

Here are some examples of how you can effectively give both positive and negative employee feedback.

Positive Employee Feedback Examples

  1. “Something I really appreciate about you is your ability to effectively brainstorm and collaborate with your team.”

  2. “I think you did a really great job presenting the latest project to our client. It showed that you have excellent communication and public speaking skills, and the client was very happy with what you came up with. Great work! Let’s keep this momentum going as we start actually executing the campaign.”

  3. “I can see your positive attitude is having an impact on our team morale. Thank you for coming into work everyday with a positive, go-getter attitude and setting a great example for your team members.”

Negative Employee Feedback Examples

  1. When an employee didn’t meet a deadline: “This project wasn’t delivered on time. Was there anything I could have done as your manager to help you meet that deadline? For the next project, let’s make sure you have more time and resources to finish as planned. We can sync up every couple of days to make sure you’re on track and not feeling rushed. Going forward, maybe we can schedule your work in advance to make sure that you’re not overwhelmed towards the end.”

  2. When an employee didn’t achieve a performance goal: “Great job setting your goals this quarter! You accomplished quite a bit, and it’s okay that you didn’t hit every single goal. But, I can see how that might feel discouraging. Do you have any ideas why you didn’t hit particular goals? Let’s meet more regularly throughout the next quarter to track and discuss your progress towards your next set of goals.”

  3. When an employee made a mistake: “I know you feel badly about what happened, but let’s not dwell on it. Instead, let’s focus on how we can make changes to do better in the future! What do you think could have been done to prevent that outcome? Was there something I could have done as a manager to help you? Let’s find a way to learn from this and make sure you have the right support and resources so it doesn’t happen next time.”

The bottom line here? Employee feedback is a valuable tool that can be used to help each and every team member learn, grow, and get better at their job. It also plays an important role in helping organizations achieve their big-picture goals—while developing a better workplace culture along the way. So, when given and received effectively, employee feedback can make all the difference in your organization 👏!

Give and Get More Effective Feedback with Strety!

Strety, an all-in-one performance management and people management product, makes being a better manager and giving more effective feedback easier than ever before. By giving you all the features you need in one easy to use, purpose-built product 💻, you can:

  • Set up employee feedback questions, send them to your whole team at once, and gain insight into how your employees really feel
  • Automate scheduling and following up on 1:1 meetings
  • Track an individual employee's performance
  • Track key team and organizational goals
  • Document employee coaching sessions
  • And much more!

Are you ready to learn how to give and receive feedback in more engaging, effective ways 🙌? Reach out to a Strety team member today 📲!



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