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Effective examples of employee feedback



Forward-thinking companies understand that meaningful, growth-oriented feedback benefits everyone. When a company gives its employees the input and support they need to thrive, innovation and engagement flourish - and so does the company. The most natural time for feedback is the performance review (development conversation), which in most companies is only conducted annually. A corporate culture that values continuous feedback is an important part of the employee experience and therefore serves to improve performance. Ongoing feedback is important for an appreciative culture.


How do you provide regular feedback in a developmental modern workplace where people are looking for dynamic roles that provide opportunities for continuous learning and growth? And really reach employees through your feedback and motivate them to change? In this blog article, you will learn when and how to give feedback, which phrases are constructive - and how to use feedback correctly.


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Why is feedback important for employees?


Before we dive into the examples of feedback in this article, let's first take a look at the benefits of meaningful employee feedback.


The modern workplace requires frequent, proactive feedback from managers to employees. Giving feedback correctly is an important skill. The word feedback itself evokes a reaction - whether excitement, fear or even an eye roll. Good leaders know that feedback is an essential element of continuous development, improved performance and agile teamwork.


From improving regular feedback in one-on-one meetings to having difficult conversations about performance, sharing feedback effectively can be a challenge for a leader or two. And secretly, we also know that people want to feel challenged at work, and enjoy working with a manager who is personally interested in their development and potential.


1. Feedback guides people in the right direction

Whether you're a CEO or a new employee, it's hard to get an accurate picture of performance from your own perspective. Everyone has development potential and blind spots. Feedback clarifies expectations, highlights learning opportunities and can help people invest in the areas that will advance their careers and take them where they want to go.


2. Feedback creates a climate of transparency and trust

If employees do not feel that their employers care about their personal development, they are likely to have one foot out the door and show lower levels of engagement. If employees receive helpful feedback in a timely manner, it is easier to be on the same wavelength. Meaningful feedback leads to trusting relationships, stronger teams and a sense of psychological safety in the workplace. All of this contributes to a more human and potentially higher performing company culture.


3. Feedback encourages good performance

Feedback given with empathy gives employees more confidence in their work and boosts morale. When problems are addressed through feedback, you enable your employees to learn and develop - and encourage performance. And when you share positive experiences with feedback, you acknowledge work. We all know that praise stimulates the brain's "rest and digest" nervous system.


A Zippia study found that:

  • 85% of employees take more initiative when they receive feedback at work

  • 73% of employees are better employees when they receive feedback at work

  • 48% of employees care more about their work when they receive feedback at work



What information should be included in successful feedback?


Feedback should not be arbitrary. To be useful and effective, feedback should focus on a person's specific action and the subsequent results. A purposeful leader focuses on key information and is specific. The goal of feedback should always be to help the other person improve.


The three focus areas of effective feedback:

  1. Behaviour: What did the person do and how did they do it.

  2. The outcome: What has resulted from the person's behaviour and how does it effect the rest of the team.

  3. Next steps: How to maintain positive outcomes, improve average outcomes, or to resolve negative events.


Feedback is not a one-way, but a two-way conversation.

Your employees and you should work together to reveal insights and learn from them for upcoming projects. This is where you let your strong leadership skills shine. Your role as a leader can transform into that of a coach and you can create a team culture of continuous development. Be open to your employees' perspectives and start listening to them.


When is the right time?


Are you looking for the perfect time? As in real life, there is no perfect time for feedback. It is up to the manager to decide when and how often feedback is appropriate.


However, before giving feedback, answer the following questions:

  • Are you calm and engaged, not stressed or hostile?

  • Can the employee accept your feedback (for example, if he or she is going through an emotionally vulnerable time due to personal problems, it might be worth waiting to give feedback)?

  • Do you have a firm idea of what you want to say?

  • Do you have the environment and time to listen and respond to questions that might arise from the feedback?


"If someone doesn't know exactly what they are doing wrong, can you expect them to fix it?"

What are the different types of feedback?


With this in mind, there are different types of employee feedback, based on different contexts and professional situations. In this article, we focus on constructive, meaningful manager-to-employee feedback that supports the building and coaching of engaged, high-performing teams.


For forward-looking teams, we recommend

  • reinforcing feedback - positive feedback

  • redirective feedback - growth feedback


While all types of feedback convey details about job performance or employee skills, they differ in tone and desired outcome. Let's look at the primary differences, when to use which type of feedback, and how to communicate it.



Reinforcing feedback - Positive employee feedback


Only a few things can brighten a person's day like receiving a compliment or being recognised for one's efforts. This is also true in our work environment. Positive employee feedback appreciates a team member's hard work, highlights their strengths and lets them know they are valued.



1. When should I use positive feedback?

We can't hear it often enough that we've done something well, can we? There is no limit to how often you communicate positive employee feedback. Intensifying real-time feedback conversations is a great way to connect with employees and deepen engagement.

For example, giving positive feedback to a team member immediately after a presentation, while it's still fresh in your mind, is more likely to stick and feel authentic. However, if you wait several weeks or months for regular performance reviews to have meaningful feedback conversations, your feedback loses authenticity.


2. How do you give positive feedback?

Everyone is an individual, so feedback should be genuine and personal. If you give positive feedback without going into specifics, the person receiving it may feel that you are just trying to get a compliment rate. Highlight what you think you liked, share positive feedback from other team members or managers. A small compliment that points out an employee's good qualities can go a long way toward making them feel like they are headed in the right direction.


Those who receive positive feedback are full of drive.

The parasympathetic nervous system of the receiver is triggered, resulting in relaxation. The person feels more comfortable, is more motivated to continue delivering results, and is more receptive to other types of feedback.





Here are some examples of positive employee feedback that can be adapted to your situation:


1. Achieving a goal (big or small).


"Achieving your goal [name the goal] is a big achievement! Because of all your hard work and courage, we have seen that [name the impact of the work on team / business goals]. Congratulations and thank you for this contribution to our team's goals."


2. Being a team player


"I want to congratulate you, not only for your performance, but also for [name the specific action]. I appreciate your commitment to the team beyond your daily work. Your collaborative nature and leadership skills exemplify our company values. Are there ways I can continue to promote this positive attitude?"


3. Going above and beyond their daily work


"Thank you for your extra efforts on [name a specific project or task]. You have done an amazing job and your dedication has not gone unnoticed. Keep up the good work and let me know how I can support you on future projects as well."


4. Soft skills development


"I wanted to let you know that I noticed how much you developed your [name the specific soft skills]. I know it can be a challenge, [name the challenge], but I can feel your drive to succeed."




Growth Feedback Part 1


Letting a team member know that they did an excellent job on a report or presentation can be a rewarding experience as a leader. Giving constructive feedback, on the other hand, can be more difficult for some. The goal of constructive criticism is not to discourage an employee, but to support their professional development. As a manager, you can give suggestions and advice on how to improve teamwork.


Employees often want constructive feedback because it gives them the opportunity to grow. Properly delivered, it can be an even greater motivator than the 10th praise. Giving constructive feedback shows appreciation by consciously engaging with a person and supporting them in their development.


When should constructive feedback be used?

As with positive feedback, constructive feedback can be given shortly after a challenge arises. If you are working in a remote context, you need a quick sync to let team members know that while you appreciate the work ethic, there is a lingering sense that there is room for improvement in a particular area.



 

Tip: If the issue is not time-sensitive, take notes on the situation and address the issue at a later time during a scheduled one-on-one meeting.

 

How do I give constructive feedback?

The most useful way to give constructive criticism is to give it in a nuanced way to someone you have been confronted with in a team meeting or during a complex project.

Again, we give you a few examples of constructive feedback that can be adapted to your situation:


1. Improving team communication


"While I appreciate your commitment to [name of project], it may be helpful to check in with the rest of the team more often so we can adjust deadlines if you need more time. Happy to support you with the project if you feel you need additional support or resources."


2. Lack of alignment with goals or priorities


"I want to talk to you about your priorities. I noticed that you are doing perfectly on projects 2 and 3, but 1 falls through the cracks. I appreciate that you have personal interest in some projects, but it is necessary that we prioritise those that are aligned with this month's goals. Do you feel you have all the tools and resources to work on project 1? Do you think there is work you could delegate to align more with what needs to be done first? Let's come back to this and set our goals together."


3. Lack of autonomy in projects

"I feel it's great that you ask questions when you need more clarity on a task. But lately I feel like you need more guidance than usual. Your team will always be here to support you. How can I help you develop your autonomous work habits?"


4. Problems with time management


"Hey [employee name]! You're doing a great job on this project. I appreciate your attention to detail. However, it is also important to practice efficient time management because we are balancing so many projects at once. If you feel like [name of task] is taking longer than usual, take a step back and jump to another project. "



 

 

Tip: Even when you give constructive criticism, remind employees that you are doing so because you believe in them and want to see them grow.

 


Growth Feedback Part 2


When should I use negative employee feedback?

Unfortunately, sometimes there is no way around giving negative feedback. It can be uncomfortable, but your role as a leader is to help employees grow and put forth their best efforts towards the collective goals of the team.

The longer you deal with an issue, the harder it becomes to overcome. Resentment can arise, leading to reduced cooperation between team members and a decline in employee engagement. If issues only occur once, but you want to track the employee's progress to see if they become a pattern, you can choose to provide feedback during a scheduled performance review.


How do I turn negative feedback into positive feedback?

Good communication skills are crucial to giving negative feedback. This type of feedback conversation is never easy, yet it leads to an improvement in organisational culture.

While the readiness of face-to-face feedback may not be high for geographically dispersed teams, tricky conversations are best done via a video call. This way, employees can see your body language and hear your tone better. The less left to interpretation, the better.


Examples of negative feedback:


1. Late delivery of a project


"I want to talk to you about your work on this last project because your delay has affected the team. I know you worked hard to complete your part on time and looking back now we can see the guardrails more easily. I'd like to see you be more proactive in recognising them before it affects your delivery next time. How can we make it easier for you to raise the flag on these things?"


2. Low morale or a negative attitude


"I've noticed that you seem less engaged lately, and it's important to me that you are motivated and feel a sense of purpose in your work. I'm starting to see that this is affecting other team members too. I want to make sure we are all in it together and supporting each other. Is there anything that I am not aware of? Do you feel you have plenty of challenge in your work? Is there anything I can do to help?"


3. Dealing with internal team conflicts


"I sensed some tension in our planning meeting yesterday and I want to be sure we address it before it impacts our productivity or team happiness. We're all working towards [name a common goal] here, and it's okay if you have different ideas than your peers or colleagues on how we get there. What did you feel in the meeting? What are your main concerns? Let's arrange a meeting with [name of colleague] to work towards a joint solution."


4. Dealing with problematic behaviour or unprofessional attitudes


"I wanted to talk to you about what you said during the meeting. I understand that you are frustrated towards [name of colleague, colleague or project], but there is an important code of conduct that must be followed inside and outside the workplace. I want to stress the importance of prioritising a safe and professional environment for everyone. Do you agree with that?"


Conclusion:

Giving feedback is an ongoing process that helps your direct reports succeed in the workplace. But knowing how to give feedback is especially important when you need to communicate negative or constructive criticism. It is equally relevant to solicit feedback from employees so that the team can express their ideas, opinions and concerns. Receiving leadership feedback can nip productivity problems in the bud and help increase employee engagement in your team.


Make feedback part of a healthy company culture, build open lines of communication to understand how teams feel in a safe, judgement-free space. Through e.g. employee surveys, you can continuously track employee engagement and gain insights from your team. Make feedback part of your everyday work and build an appreciative feedback culture.


More and more companies have recognised this added value as part of their management mechanisms and therefore implement digital tools for regular employee surveys such as engagement surveys or pulse checks. This is an important and good step: towards more transparency and more efficient people management.



 

 

Lemin helps companies to create a feedback culture - and makes feedback a part of daily work. Providing feedback encourages honesty and collaboration between employees and managers. Among other things, employee feedback software like Lemin helps you build a culture of continuous feedback that boosts employee engagement, retention and morale in the workplace.


Whatever tips you incorporate into your daily business, successful feedback always ends with an appreciation from the feedback receiver: "Thanks for reading. I just wanted to tell you that it was a great pleasure to create this blogpost for you!"







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