5 Steps to Improve Your Workplace Feedback

As a manager, one of your most important jobs is giving feedback to your employees. Just as nobody is perfect, nobody does their job perfectly. It’s a leader’s responsibility to give workers constructive feedback: both on what they’re doing well and areas of improvement. 

For a long time now, workplace feedback has been associated with the dreaded performance review or quarterly check-in. At their worst, these periodic evaluations can exemplify the most discouraging parts of receiving feedback at work: vague criticism based on unclear expectations given long after a problem has arisen. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By changing how and when you give feedback, you can make feedback a natural part of work, not just a periodic experience to be dreaded. Here are some quick tips on how to make your workplace feedback as effective as possible.

1. Create a Culture of Feedback

The first and foremost tip is to make giving feedback a continuous process. Though it can be easy to shy away from difficult conversations, it’s key that you give feedback when you notice a problem – not just during a periodic evaluation. “The most important factor in giving constructive feedback in the workplace is to not wait till the annual performance review.” says Emtrain CMO Sonja Lutz, who’s responsible for managing Emtrain’s entire marketing team. “Every manager should thrive towards a transparent working relationship with their direct reports and should be able to give feedback along their journey to help them improve and build new skills.”

When you give your employees continuous feedback, you give them a chance to address issues in a timely manner, rather than waiting for the problem to spin out of control,

2. Make Your Feedback Objective and Constructive

When giving feedback, it’s vital to be as clear and specific as possible. Feedback can often turn into simply expressing a vague dissatisfaction with some part of the employee’s performance. Fight this. Make sure your feedback articulates exactly what the person is doing wrong, how it affects organization, and what they can do to change. State your feedback in objective terms rather than tying it to the worker’s personality: 

For example, don’t say: “I think you’re getting lazy about getting projects done on time”. Instead, say: “I need you to turn things in on the agreed upon deadline. Tell me if you think these deadlines are feasible given the work”

For more information about giving constructive feedback, check out this helpful guide.

3. Be Transparent About Your Expectations

A big part of giving clear feedback first stating clear expectations. It’s far easier for people to do their job when they know exactly what they’re working towards. When you set goals for your team, establish clear milestones and measures of success. Here at Emtrain, we encourage both managers and employees to use the SMART system when setting goals for themselves or others. Everytime you set a goal, ask yourself if it is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Result-based
  • Time Bound

Share your thinking with your employees so they know the time-frame, measures of success, and action points for any goal.

4. Remember Feedback Is a Two-Way Street

As stated before, no one is perfect at their job. This applies to you as a manager as well. Just as you receive feedback from superiors, solicit feedback from your employees about your performance as a manager: do they believe that the team is being managed effectively? Do they think the expectations of their role are clear and that the correct amount of time and energy is being invested into different projects? You can even set up some sort of anonymous suggestion box – a place where employees can feel safe voicing opinions without fear of awkwardness or reprisal. 

Workplace feedback should be a continuous dialogue between managers and employees where – ideally – both parties improve at their jobs. For information on creating a dialogue, watch this Emtrain Webinar on Creating a Feedback Loop with Your Employees.

5. Connect Your Feedback to Workplace Culture

Workplace feedback doesn’t need to be limited to the specifics of an employee’s position. You can also give feedback on how a person is as a coworker and teammate. Are they communicating effectively with the other members of the team? Are they being inclusionary and treating their colleagues with respect? Emtrain is here to help on this front. Emtrain’s comprehensive course catalog offers a variety of lessons on subjects ranging from harassment to unconscious bias in the workplace. Emtrain treats qualities like respect and inclusion as skills that can be developed over time, creating a workplace culture that works for everyone. Now with Emtrain’s new Analytics feature, you see exactly where your workplace culture strengths and weaknesses lie. For more information on how Emtrain can uplevel your workplace, contact us or download a free demo of the Emtrain Solution today!

employee feedbackmanagingperformance feedback
Jacob Halabe
Marketing Intern, Emtrain
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