Just like doctors are judged and discussed for their bedside manner, managers need to be cautious when giving feedback. This, of course, makes for a stressful situation for everyone involved.
Some employees dread reviews as much as managers dread having them. But there are effective ways to provide feedback — and you don’t have to wait a long time to provide it!
Here are some tips to consider when providing feedback to your employees that will make it easier, more effective, and helpful for everyone involved.
- Sometimes, it’s better to wait until asked for advice. It’s so easy to tap someone on the shoulder and tell them they’re doing a job incorrectly. But if the end result is the same, is it wrong? If an employee is having a hard time with a task, give them the chance to figure it out for themselves, or by talking with a colleague, before stepping in. The employee might ask you for advice or suggestions on how to solve a problem. Be gracious in offering possible solutions and do not punish or penalize the person for doing so. Any indication that asking for help is wrong or to be discouraged will provide the impression that they can’t go to you for help, ever.
- Be specific. If you’ve got a regularly scheduled meeting with a given employee, be prepared to discuss specific incidents or events with them. If they weren’t prepared for a presentation, point that out. Present your points gently but firmly. Listen to what they say in response. Build the conversation but keep it detailed and focused, don’t make it a laundry list of general observations. The same goes for praise — tell the person exactly what you liked or what impressed you in their performance as of late.
- Be sincere. People know when they’re being lied to, or when someone’s blowing smoke to make up for a lack of paying attention or being too busy to notice. Have an honest conversation about the person’s strengths and weaknesses and talk about how you’d like to see them improve, specifically, then offer suggestions on how that can be done. Don’t embellish, don’t over-praise or over-criticize. Be empathetic if the person’s had a string of bad days or a rough time as of late — this year has been tough on everyone, and expectations might not have changed to reflect that.
- Don’t wait for a quarterly or annual review to speak up. It’s tempting to keep a running list of things to talk about when review time comes. But it’s also easy to make a mental note that evaporates within minutes. When something needs to be discussed, set an appointment, and discuss it when it’s still fresh in both your memories. This goes for both praise and constructive criticism! And, again, be specific. This will make the commentary far more relatable.
- Have a private conversation. Giving constructive feedback will be accepted more readily if it’s handled in a one-on-one setting. If things take a turn for the negative, the employee will still not like the conversation, but it’s better to hear it directly and privately instead of in front of a group. The employee might still get defensive, but the embarrassment factor is eliminated. Besides, ultimately, only two people need to know a person’s mistakes: them and their manager. There’s no need to call someone out in front of a group, no matter how small that group is.
Remember to end your meeting on a positive note as well. Find something good to say, and the person will walk away feeling inspired, not dejected. Employees who feel like their manager values them, appreciates their contributions, and has their back are less likely to be looking for another job.
For nearly 30 years, Action Group Staffing has worked with companies to build relationships like their managers have with their teams. Our clients and candidates’ happiness measures our success and we want to make sure everyone is on the road to a productive career. If you’re looking for new employees to help expand your business, contact us today and let’s get started.