Positive Constructive feedback Examples for HRs and Manager

When providing feedback to an employee, it’s important to remember that the employee will take the comments in the context of their relationship with HR. If HR has a good relationship with the employee, they are more likely to listen and accept the feedback as an act of support rather than criticism. 

If the relationship with them is hampered or there are personal issues between HR and the employee, the feedback may be misinterpreted or might lead to resentment and defensiveness from the employee’s side. It’s not easy giving or receiving feedback at work, and sometimes it is even harder to provide constructive feedback. Negative feedback can be tricky, especially when HR doesn’t know how to give it correctly. 

No one wants to be on the receiving end of criticism, but to learn and improve, accepting that feedback with an open mind and heart is important. Here are 10 constructive feedback examples that will help you make those difficult conversations less stressful for everyone involved.

constructive feedback examples

Also Read: 10 Effective Ideas For Your Employee Recognition Programs

1. Concern about employee’s performance

Regular check-ins with your employees are important to ensure they meet your expectations. If employee performance is not satisfactory, convey it to them directly. This way, they can take steps to improve their work. Here are some constructive feedback examples you can use:

  • I noticed that you didn’t complete the project on time. What can we do to ensure that doesn’t happen in the future?
  • I noticed that you have difficulty completing tasks independently. Can we set up a meeting so I can help you? 
  • I noticed that you’re not following the company’s dress code. Please ensure you adhere to the dress code in the future. We want our customers to feel confident and respected when they visit our store.
  • I was disappointed by how you handled this customer complaint. In the future, please be more tactful and calm down before speaking with the customer again. 

2. Check in with your employees regularly

As an HR professional, it’s important to check in with your employees regularly. This helps you get a pulse on how they’re feeling and how they’re doing in their role. Moreover, it shows that you care about their well-being and want to help them succeed. Take a look at some examples you can use to help with those difficult conversations:

  • What did you think of our most recent team meeting?
  • I noticed during our last meeting, when we were talking about the project, that you seemed distracted or not as engaged as usual.
  • Is there anything going on at home right now that might be impacting your work?
  • I have seen some things recently where I feel like there may be some challenges in our relationship because of X. Do you feel the same way?
  • There has been talking around the office about the XYZ project; what is your perspective on this issue?

3. Good communication with employees

It’s important to make sure your employees understand how they’re doing regularly. This way, they can correct if necessary and always be aware of how their performance affects the company. Here are some examples you can use next time you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee: 

  • I’ve noticed that there have been more mistakes in your work lately.
  • I’ve noticed that it seems like you haven’t been putting in as much effort recently.
  • It seems like you’re distracted from work these days.
  • I noticed that when we discussed X topic, it didn’t seem like you care about our opinion on the matter.
  • You seem to be stressed a lot more than usual lately.
  • Do you want to talk about what’s going on?

4. Consider the big picture

It’s important to give feedback that is both specific and meaningful. However, it’s also important to have the big picture in mind. Feedback should help an individual understand how their behavior affects the team or company as a whole. Here are examples of constructive feedback that can help with those difficult conversations. 

  • ‘It would be helpful if you could….’. The most effective type of feedback gives clear instructions on what the person needs to do to improve. If someone has been missing deadlines, it might be helpful for them to know they need to work more quickly for things not to pile up.
  • What would happen if you didn’t do this? Feedback should also offer insight into what will happen if certain behaviors continue. Let the employees know that the organization loses clients because they aren’t keeping them updated on changes and they will ensure that this does not happen again.
  • You may want to try….’. If a person does not follow proper procedure, it may be beneficial to let them know there are different ways of completing tasks, but one way may produce better results than others.
  • You seem stressed lately – is everything okay? Recognizing when someone seems distressed and offering support shows empathy, something every employee appreciates from time to time.
  • You missed our deadline by three days – what happened? Some situations warrant harsher criticism than others (and so this sentence should only be used in extreme cases). In some instances, providing support after negative feedback is necessary so the individual knows they haven’t been abandoned during hard times.

constructive feedback examples

5. Praise good work

Providing positive feedback is one of the most important things you can do as an HR professional. It allows employees to know that their good work is noticed and appreciated. Moreover, it can help motivate them to continue doing their best. Here are some constructive feedback examples you can use to help with those difficult conversations:

  • I’ve been noticing some improvement in your performance lately. Keep up the great work!
  • Thank you for all your hard work on this project. You did a really good job!
  • Thanks for putting effort into that project; it looks great!
  • I think we should review your performance more closely to see if there are any ways we can improve your skills further. What would be a better time for us to meet?
  • You did such a great job on this project!

6. Give specific feedback on the issue at hand

When an employee is not meeting expectations, a conversation about what needs to change is important. However, these conversations can be difficult. Here are some constructive feedback examples you can use the next time you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee.

  • I noticed that you didn’t complete the project by the deadline.
  • I noticed that you were constantly on your phone during work hours.
  • I noticed that you didn’t seem very engaged in the team meeting.
  • I noticed that you didn’t follow through on your promise to help with the event.
  • I noticed that you often come late for work or left early without telling anyone.
  • I noticed that when we had our one-on-one meeting, you seemed distracted and uninterested in the conversation we were having.
Also Read: Who All Should Give 360 Degree Feedback?

7. Know when to move on from an issue

You’ve been there before. You’re in the middle of a difficult conversation with an employee, and you can tell that it’s not going anywhere. The employee isn’t receptive to your feedback, and you’re not getting through to them. So what do you do? You might be tempted to give up and call it a day – but don’t!

There are many times when this is the best course of action. However, if you’re feeling as though there’s some traction happening with this employee – that they understand where they went wrong – then keep going! Keep being constructive in your feedback. If you give up on one difficult conversation, another one is just around the corner waiting for you. 

And most importantly, these conversations make a huge difference. They help your employees grow and improve themselves, so it’s worth taking time out of your busy schedule to have them.

8. Use a positive tone of voice and body language

It’s important to use a positive tone of voice and body language when giving feedback, even if the feedback itself is negative. This will help the person receiving the feedback feel like you’re on their side and that you’re trying to help them improve. Here are some specific examples of how to do this: 

  • Say ‘I see’ when they finish talking. 
  • Lean in towards the person so they know you’re listening intently. 
  • Avoid crossing your arms or turning away from them while they speak; it might make them think you don’t care about what they have to say. 
  • Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. 
  • Nod your head to let them know you understand what they said and let out small verbal cues to show interest in what they’re saying.

9. Stay calm and let your employee respond to you

When you’re the one delivering the feedback, it’s important to stay calm. This can be difficult, especially if the situation is heated, but it’s important to remain level-headed. Allow your employee to respond to you after you’ve delivered the feedback. They may have questions or want to discuss the situation further. 

Remember that they might feel like they’re in the hot seat and will need time to process what was said. Try not to interrupt them or cut them off. If you feel like they are getting upset, let them know that there will be a time for discussion later on.  Giving this type of reassurance might help defuse some of their anxiety and frustration with the conversation. You could even say something like, ‘We’ll get back to this point in a few minutes, I just wanted to cover these points first.’ It’s also good practice to remember why you’re delivering the feedback at all. 

Were they doing something that made things harder for other people? The goal of constructive feedback is not punishment; it’s about helping someone learn from their mistakes so they can do better next time. The purpose of constructive criticism should always be about creating positive change rather than just pointing out how bad someone has been.

constructive feedback examples

10. Choose an appropriate time for the conversation

It’s important to have these timely conversations with employees. If you wait too long, the employee may not even remember what they did wrong. You also don’t want to have a conversation when emotions are running high. Choose a time when both you and the employee are calm and can have a productive discussion. 

You should set aside enough time for the conversation and be prepared with examples of specific incidents that show how their behaviors were inappropriate. Share how those behaviors negatively impacted others or negatively affected your ability to do your job.  Ask for an example of a time when they handled themselves well in this situation so that you can give them constructive feedback on how they should handle similar situations in the future. 

Provide clear instructions about what would constitute appropriate behavior moving forward and set boundaries. Follow up: check back in with the employee within a week or two to discuss whether they’ve followed through on the agreed-upon changes. If there’s been no change, share what will happen if things don’t improve. End by providing support: Let them know that it’s difficult to change old habits but they need to work on being more effective at accomplishing their goals, which is why this conversation is happening now.


We have discussed the 10 constructive feedback examples to help with those difficult conversations for HR professionals in this article. Every HR professional and manager has had to have a challenging conversation with an employee at some point in time. It could be during one’s annual review, or else it could happen before one is terminated from the company. Regardless of what time of year it might be, caution needs to be taken so that mistakes don’t happen to them. Otherwise, difficult conversations might turn into expensive legal battles within seconds. 


Planning to implement a 360 degree feedback process in the organization but don’t know where to start? Fix a quick demo with our experts.

Request A Demo

Constructive Feedback Examples To Help With Difficult Conversations

If you’re like most leaders, one of your biggest goals is to have difficult conversations with your team members that are critical to their success but such conversations often do not happen because of fear and awkwardness on both sides. 

If you dread these types of interactions because you’re afraid that you might offend the other person or that they might not respond well to what you have to say, then it will be hard to get them done and as a result, your team will suffer and you’ll feel even worse about the situation than before. 

Giving and receiving feedback can be challenging, even when the topic isn’t especially sensitive or serious. It might be intimidating to address your co-worker or employee on something they did that could be improved upon, but giving constructive feedback can help them grow as a person and make the work environment better in the long run. 


Constructive feedback isn’t always easy to give, especially when the recipient of that feedback doesn’t want to hear it, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be given. Constructive feedback will help people in your life make positive changes and see the benefit of those changes long after you’ve left their lives. 

In this blog, we’re going to unpack 10 examples of constructive feedback you can give to help you have those difficult conversations in your workplace with ease.

1) Understanding What Has Happened

When someone asks you for feedback on a piece of work, it’s easy to fall into your role as an evaluator and simply list off everything you think is wrong with it. This is hardly constructive, though. It’s more useful to understand what has happened than it is to assign blame. If someone has provided a sub-par piece of work, focus on why they’ve done so before offering suggestions on how to improve. Understanding what went wrong allows you to evaluate exactly how they can move forward and produce better results next time around. Your critique will be much more valuable if you help them learn from their mistakes rather than simply criticizing them for making them in the first place. The emphasis should be on helping others learn from their actions rather than just being critical of them. Everyone makes mistakes—it’s part of being human—but by understanding what led to those mistakes, we can prevent ourselves from making similar ones in future situations.

2) Keeping The Focus On Future Behavior

One of the most important aspects of feedback is to keep your focus on future behavior, not past actions. Try putting yourself in their shoes – how might they interpret things if you said you always… or you never…? When giving constructive feedback, it is essential that you remain focused on helping them solve a problem rather than just being critical. This will help them learn and grow from the experience instead of taking it personally. If possible, try to provide at least one example where they have succeeded in behaving in a way that meets your expectations; hopefully providing something positive for them to latch onto as well! 

It’s easy to get caught up in criticizing someone’s mistakes, but that can make people defensive which will make it harder for them to hear what you are saying. Keep your language clear and simple. Make sure that when offering constructive feedback, you are clear about what specific behaviors need improvement. Using general statements like you need to improve… or I don’t like… doesn’t give anyone any direction as to what needs improvement/change and therefore, leaves little room for change. Using specific examples help others know exactly what you expect from them moving forward so they can work towards changing those behaviors over time.

3) Practicing Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is crucial for good management and it can also help you have successful tough conversations. Before delivering your feedback to an employee, take a moment to stop and think about how they will react to what you have to say. If your news isn’t positive, recognize that it’s possible that they won’t respond positively. However, if your intent is honest and delivered from a place of concern or interest, then even negative feedback can be taken in stride by an employee with self-awareness. 

One way to practice self-awareness is through mirroring techniques like active listening (which involves repeating back some of what another person says) and reflecting back on your understanding of their emotions during a conversation with them. This helps you build trust and rapport with others as well as gain insight into yourself. It also helps you have those difficult conversations when needed because it allows you to prepare emotionally before having a difficult conversation. In other words, practicing self-awareness makes difficult conversations easier because we are better able to understand ourselves as well as others on both emotional and logical levels. 

Practicing self-awareness does not mean reading your employees’ minds; rather, it means being aware of your own feelings so that you can more effectively read theirs without having to ask directly. This allows us to tailor our communication styles accordingly while still maintaining respect for boundaries between ourselves and others.

4) Modeling A Better Way

Constructive feedback can be a scary term. As an employee, it means that you’ve done something wrong and your boss is going to let you know about it. As a manager, providing feedback means you’re in a position of power and have to be careful that your criticism doesn’t come across as overly aggressive or even malicious. Fortunately, there are some ways to word criticisms so they hit on points people want to hear. 

Here are some constructive feedback examples to show how being clear about both positives and negatives can help anyone in any management position get their point across with tact:

  1. You really did a great job! I was especially impressed by [insert positive comment]. 
  2. I’m writing because I need to tell you about my concern/suggestion for improvement. 
  3. Your work is often quite good, but there’s one area where I think we need to improve. 
  4. I appreciate all your hard work over these past few months; however, I feel like we haven’t been making enough progress lately. 
  5. It seems like you’re struggling with [insert problem]. What’s going on? 
  6. [Name], here’s what I appreciate most: [insert positive comment]. 
  7. [Name], here’s what needs improvement: [insert negative comment]. 

5) Being Specific About What Needs To Change

Whenever you provide feedback, your most important job is to be specific about what’s going well and what isn’t. It’s okay to be a little blunter with constructive feedback than you are with praise—after all, it’s helpful for people to know where they can improve. Try starting conversations by stating what they’re doing well first and then moving on to pointing out areas of growth. Be sure to mention your desired outcome so that they know what kind of change you’d like them to make. 

For example, You always give your presentations so well; I think we can get even better results if we work on enhancing your eye contact. Let me know if you have any questions! Feedback examples 

And remember to stay positive and supportive throughout these difficult discussions. After all, nobody likes being told they’re not perfect. 

Give positive reinforcement while offering guidance on how they can become even better at their jobs! Make sure they understand why you feel that way. 

Avoid blanket statements such as You’re never prepared or You don’t do anything right. Instead, focus on specifics and be ready to back up your statements with examples from past projects or events. 

If possible, suggest one or two ways in which you think things could go better next time around (i.e., Next time let’s make sure we set aside enough time for adequate rehearsal.) 

When providing constructive criticism, try to keep an open mind and show empathy. It may seem easy to criticize someone else when they’ve made a mistake or fallen short of expectations, but putting yourself in their shoes can help remind you that mistakes happen — even when someone has done everything right.

6) Providing Additional Context

Rather than simply pointing out what was wrong, help your employee see why their actions are hurting you. Be specific. If necessary, provide additional context or examples that they can relate to. Without proper context and examples, employees may not be able to easily understand why a certain action is harmful. 

Here’s an example: Remember last month when we decided that it was best to send resumes to candidates who had applied within the past month? Sending your resume to candidates who haven’t even started looking for a job in over three months is decreasing our response rate drastically because there’s no need for them to apply again. I know you were just trying to help, but I think we should stick with our original plan.

7) Check-In On Progress Regularly

Even if you don’t see immediate results, check in with your team regularly. Offer to have lunch or coffee (or whatever) with them to see how they’re doing and if they need help. Find out what they think their biggest roadblocks are and help them overcome those obstacles—if possible. Even simply asking how someone’s work is going or what projects they’re working on shows that you care about them as a person and not just a resource. I know it can be hard to take time out of your day, but any time you can get by spending time with each other outside of meetings is valuable—and will give you some quality bonding moments outside of work.

Also read: 30 60 90 day reviews and templates

8) Praising Efforts and Actions, Not Just Outcomes

If you’re looking to provide feedback in a constructive way, it’s a good idea to get specific. Instead of saying, You never follow through on your commitments, try saying something like The goals we agreed upon at our last team meeting are still incomplete. I noticed that you haven’t submitted your weekly report or provided an update on our research tasks. Our deadline is coming up next week and we could really use your help to meet it. What can we do differently to ensure that these responsibilities are met? Asking questions rather than making accusations will lead to more effective feedback sessions where both parties walk away feeling valued and encouraged instead of defensive and angry. 

Also, remember to focus on what people did well (efforts) as opposed to just what they didn’t do (outcomes). Nobody likes being scolded for failing—instead, let them know how their actions made a difference and how they can continue doing great work. When giving feedback, be direct and honest with what you have observed. Do not hold back information or give excuses for someone else’s behavior; that is not helpful! It’s also important to remember that some people may have difficulty receiving feedback about their performance because they feel personally attacked when negative comments are made about their behavior. People who feel personally attacked will often shut down emotionally and stop listening completely.

9) Don’t Assume Anything; Ask Questions Instead

It can be tempting to assume you know why your boss is giving you constructive feedback, especially if your boss has given you similar advice in the past. Even if you do have a sense of what your boss wants, it never hurts to ask questions. Asking clarifying questions can help strengthen your understanding and provide an opportunity for your boss to elaborate on any points that aren’t clear. Plus, if your boss notices that you’re actively listening and asking smart questions, it will go a long way towards building a stronger relationship —and that alone can pay dividends down the road! 

One thing to keep in mind is that constructive feedback usually has two components: actionable suggestions, or what you did wrong, and bigger-picture thoughts about how to get better overall. The actionable suggestions are easy enough; however, larger developmental issues can take longer than just one conversation to discuss. In those cases, find time to check back later so there’s time dedicated to discussing both elements. When appropriate, schedule follow-up meetings throughout your performance review cycle so everyone stays accountable for their commitments along the way!

10) Keep Things Civil And Professional

If you’re looking to give someone feedback in a professional setting, make sure you don’t approach it from a confrontational perspective. Start by explaining what you appreciate about them (even if it’s just an aspect of their work), and then move into areas for improvement. Remember, these conversations are about helping your colleagues succeed. As always, keep things civil—no one likes being attacked at work or feeling like they’re being put on blast. Even if things start to get emotional, be sure to stay level-headed so as not to lose your cool. A poor delivery will almost always lead to a poor outcome. And finally, no matter how tough a conversation is, avoiding ending with something like this isn’t personal. This only confuses matters more. 

To end on a positive note: Always finish with something along the lines of thank you or I’m glad we had this talk. When done right, constructive criticism can help both parties grow professionally.

Do you want to know what is 360 Degree Feedback and how your HR department can get on board? Book a live demo with us.

Request A Demo

Privacy Preference Center