Real-life Examples of Giving Effective Employee Feedback

by Kylee Stone Jan 20,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Did you know that 89% of HR leaders believe that frequent feedback, employee recognition and check-ins lead to organizational success

Employee feedback is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of a team. It has a significant positive impact on employees when done right. Feedback can be about various aspects like the employee’s behavior within the team, their performance, feedback targeted at their development etc.

In a way, basic communication with your team also counts as feedback, if it helps them with their day to day job functions. Most employees receive informal feedback on a regular basis, but there’s no way to track and monitor the progress on it.

If you want to make the most out of employee feedback, it is very important to formalize and regularize the process. There could be many situations when you’re working with a team where giving and receiving feedback becomes vital for the team to function effectively. In this article, let’s find out how to give feedback in situations that occur frequently and need to be addressed without making it seem like annual performance reviews.

Any feedback should always consist of the following aspects:

  1. The Feedback/ Prime Focus Point
  2. Recognizing Good Work/ Addressing The Issues
  3. The Future Plan

The prime focus of feedback is the behaviour of your direct report that you want to talk about. Keep it short and specific.

Addressing issues or recognizing good work is the part where you communicate how they performed or handled a particular issue.

The future plan is the part where you have a discussion with them on what you have in mind for them in the future based on the current feedback. This part is basically the action plan for the future.

Here is a list of a few situations that most managers go through frequently but are hesitant on how to give feedback without demoralizing or overwhelming their employees.

Employee Disengagement

There are various ways to recognize disengagement. Most disengaged employees give up on their performance and don’t take any initiative. They can also be disinterested in their basic job responsibilities. As a manager, it is important for you to address this issue and help your direct reports overcome this challenge.

Your feedback should consist of the three elements as discussed above:

The Prime Focus Point, Recognizing Good Work/ Addressing The Issues, The Future Plan.

Feedback Example:

After observing your performance for over a period of two months, I feel that you seem a bit distracted and aren’t able to focus on your work. 

I would like to know if there’s something you need from me. Are there any resources that could help you get back on track? Please set up a discussion with me so that we can come up with an action plan to improve your performance. 

If we break down the above example into the three elements discussed,

The Prime Focus Point – Feedback On Employee Performance

Addressing The Issues – Addressing employee disengagement

The Future Plan – Setting up discussion and coming up with an action plan to improve their performance.

Also Read: Employee Engagement on Productivity

Exceptional Employee Performance

Positive feedback is also as important as giving feedback for employee development. When employees go above and beyond to complete a project or any task, it is important for their work to be recognized.

According to Gallupbuilding employees’ strengths by giving them positive feedback is a far more effective approach than a fixation on weaknesses.

Giving positive feedback isn’t an easy thing. You cannot just say, ‘Well done’ or ‘ Good Job’ and be done with it. Apply the three elements of feedback approach to positive feedback too.

Here’s an example of feedback that you can give to an employee who performed exceptionally:

I just wanted to tell you that your presentation at the conference yesterday was amazing!

I understand how nervous you should have been, presenting in front of a huge audience, but you managed the whole presentation very skillfully. The message was clear and understandable. You’ve come a long way since the last few presentations in the last quarter.

I especially liked how you used interesting examples that the whole group could relate to. Great job! 

If we apply the three elements approach, here’s how the example can be broken down to.

The Prime Focus Point – Feedback on employee performance in a presentation

Recognizing Good Work – Recognizing the improvement of employee’s presentation skills

The Future Plan/ Outcome – Praise for good work

Employees Not Meeting Deadlines

This is one of the most common performance issues faced by teams. While missing deadlines once in a while is acceptable, doing it over and over again could affect the organizational productivity.

Here’s an example of feedback you can give in this situation:

I have noticed that you are struggling with managing your time and are hence missing deadlines very often.

This has not only affected your own productivity but also impacted the outcome of the whole team. The team is dependent on you for a few aspects of the project, which is why it is unacceptable for you to keep missing these deadlines frequently. Please set up a discussion with me and let me know how I can help you with this issue.

If we break down the above example into the three elements discussed,

The Prime Focus Point – Feedback on employee performance

Addressing The Issues – Addressing frequent missing of deadlines

The Future Plan – Setting up discussion and coming up with an action plan to solve this issue.

Also Read: Reduce Anxiety at the Workplace

Not Setting The Right Goals/ OKRs

Setting goals is one of the basic things that every employee and manager has to do. Goals could be individual or team goals or even organizational goals. Most employees don’t understand the importance of setting the right goals that align with their organizational goals.

Let’s say that an employee set a very unattainable/ aggressive goal, how can you give them feedback on this?

Here’s how you can address this:

I have come across your OKRs which seem a bit aggressive. I understand that you want to hit all your goals, which is why you have given yourself some huge targets.

However, I would like you to reconsider setting your goals and use the SMART goals approach to redo them and align them to the company goals. Please set up a discussion with me if you need more help in setting more measurable and attainable goals for yourself. 

If we break down the above example into the three elements discussed,

The Prime Focus Point – Feedback on employee goal setting approach

Addressing The Issues – Addressing how the goals can be improved

The Future Plan – Using SMART goals to set new goals

Employees Being Mean To Colleagues

As a manager, sometimes you come across situations where you witness your team members being rude or mean to their team mates. It is important for you, as a team manager, to address these kinds of behaviour and resolve the conflict.

Here’s an example:

Mark mentioned that something you said made him uncomfortable, so I offered to talk to you about it. Please fill me in on what happened? As a manager of the team, I want us all to get along.

I would be delighted if you guys could worked it out. You can apologize to each other and  go out for a lunch together to talk about it. I’d love to join you guys if you think it could help. 

If we apply the three elements approach, here’s how the example can be broken down to.

The Prime Focus Point – Feedback on employee behaviour

Addressing The Issue – Addressing the issue with being mean to a fellow-colleague

The Future Plan – Going out and getting along.

Also read: Set SMART Goals and Avoid These 4 Goal-Setting Mistakes

Giving A Confidence Booster

Sometimes, as a manager, it becomes important to boost your team members’ confidence. This plays a vital role in improving employee performance as well as engaging them.

If you want your employees to stay motivated and productive, it is important for you to give regular positive feedback as well.

Here’s an example of a confidence booster feedback:

I appreciate the way you handled the customer query yesterday. I understand that working in customer service can be really hard sometimes and takes a lot of energy and self-control to deal with unhappy and angry customers.

Your ability to understand our customers’ problems and quickly develop suitable solutions is a real next-level problem-solving skill. I appreciate your contribution to the team and your ability to stay calm in difficult situations.

If we apply the three elements approach, here’s how the example can be broken down to.

The Prime Focus Point – Feedback on customer handling

Recognizing Good Work – Recognizing the contributions of employee to the team

The Future Plan/ Outcome – Praise for good work and confidence boosting.

Employee Career Development

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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