How to give constructive feedback to employees

No one likes receiving criticism. It can influence people’s feelings of self-worth, impact their confidence negatively and also have an effect on their future attitudes and the quality of their work.

As such, it’s a vital business skill to learn how to give feedback in a constructive way. 

Here are some things to think about before giving feedback:

1. Be specific

Sweeping statements help no one. Don’t say “that last report you did was of a really low quality”. Rather say exactly which parts about it bothered you, for example “including more graphics would have helped demonstrate concepts” or “including so much copy on each page made it difficult for me to read”. That way the person receiving the feedback won’t feel personally attacked for what they produced, and they’ll have an action plan oron how to improve their reports in future.

2. List their achievements or strengths

If you want to dish out some feedback that’s not that positive, always accompany it with a compliment. You may start out by saying how much you admired the way they handled a certain situation and then go on to say that there are learnings from that experience that could be applied to something they handled less well. There are many ways of describing this method such as the “Feedback Sandwich Method”, which is to accompany the negative feedback on either side with a piece of positive feedback.

3. Be direct

As much as you want to steer away from hurting someone’s feelings, it also doesn’t help if you beat around the bush and don’t actually get to the crux of the matter. Being straight forward and honest doesn’t mean being rude. Feedback can be delivered in a way that is sensitive and sincere, but still addresses the issues. After all, what is the point of giving feedback if it won’t achieve anything by altering behaviour or performance?

4. Do it face-to-face 

Too often in today’s digitally-led world, it’s easy to fire off an email berating someone or giving suggestions. But the written word can easily be misinterpreted, and often is. Rather make the time to sit down with the person face-to-face and privately (if applicable), so you can have a two-way conversation where everyone feels heard.

5. Lead by example

It’s all very well telling someone they need to deliver their work to deadline, or that they need to listen better to others in meetings, but if you as their manager isn’t doing it – your requests fall on deaf ears and they won’t respect you. Consider if the feedback you’re giving applies to you and if it does, walk the talk. You could also bring your own experience into the feedback conversation to make it more real to them, i.e “I struggle a bit with public speaking too, so I make sure I rehearse multiple times before presentations in order to get it right”.

Many of these tips can be used elsewhere, not just work, from parenting to friendship to marriage – so you may as well brush up on giving constructive feedback, as you’ll use these skills many times on your journey through life.

Provided by Fedhealth.


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