The complete guide on how to give employee feedback - by Steer

How To Give Employee Feedback

Motivating employees is about more than charisma and vision. To help employees perform their best, a great leader will provide feedback — the right kind, at the right time. Feedback is an essential tool for any manager, whether in a small business or a large corporation.

Our ultimate guide, developed and trusted by top managers, will help you learn what are the best tips on how to give employee feedback.

Introduction

Motivating employees is about more than charisma and vision. To help employees perform their best, a great leader will provide feedback — the right kind, at the right time. Feedback is an essential tool for any manager, whether in a small business or a large corporation.

Just as it needs blood, oxygen, and nutrients, the brain needs to receive comments about how it’s doing. Feedback works on the emotional system in the brain. And it activates more than the raw emotional center; it enables the brain to use higher-level thinking skills to decide how to continue doing good work, make the good work better, or make changes to garner more positive responses and work harder toward company goals. Your leadership skills rely heavily on your ability to give and receive feedback.

Why frequent employee feedback is important

Employee feedback is the core of personal and professional growth. Feedback can help an employee get better at what they do, and surprisingly employees crave feedback. Employees don’t get enough feedback, and that when they do, the feedback is too vague. There is also a sense that managers aren’t authentic enough. The feeling among many employees is that managers don’t care enough about employees to genuinely want to make them better.

Employees will be able to tell very easily if you’re being genuine when giving feedback. Do you genuinely want to help them get better? Are you genuinely trying to make them improve? Or are you just venting your frustrations at them.

Feedback is such an important part of employee engagement, but so many managers don’t do it enough. It turns out, according to research, that the frequency of feedback is probably the most important element of all. It goes in the opposite direction than the old-fashioned methods like Annual Performance Reviews. But waiting a year to receive feedback is way too long. Employee needs frequent and sincere feedback.

Why we need to adapt to give frequent feedback? Because nowadays there are 3 fundamentals truths:

  • Our environments are in a constant state of change
  • Organizations that evolve, survive
  • Feedback loops are the key to evolution
How to Give Employee Feedback. The Complete Guide by Steer

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Frequent feedback as a way to improve team culture

Helping employees grow will not only make them happier and more engaged, but it will make them provide better service to customers, leading to more profits. Because at the end of the day, they way you work defines your company culture.

It’s in the company’s best interests to take the feedback process very seriously.

  • 14.9% lower turnover rates in companies that implement regular employee feedback.
  • 4 out of 10 workers are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback.
  • 82% of employees really appreciate receiving feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative.
  • 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.

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How to give valuable feedback

There is a proper way of providing feedback consistently that will produce fruitful results. We have identified eight ways you can offer employee feedback –it’s painless, immediate and will get you the outcome you need.

1- Focus on the issue, not the person

Focus on employees’ behaviors (what they do) rather than on their personality traits (what they’re like).

2- Put your message in writing as well as delivering it verbally

Graphics have impact, and hard data has weight. In an instant, employees can see their progress — or lack thereof. Along with the graphic, include specific suggestions for improvement and acknowledgment of jobs well done.

3- Make your feedback specific

Specific feedback more effectively corrects or reinforces certain behaviors, enabling the brain to focus on something concrete. If you decide to congratulate employees as a group, be sure to talk to each one personally as well.

Looking for a employee feedback solution? Steer is a team management tool that helps you maintain a team without issues. Request a demo to experience it by yourself.

4- Right balance between positive and negative comments

Most people have probably worked with a manager who puts negative feedback front and centre. It’s an unpleasant and generally unhelpful method. However, the boss who’ll bend over backwards to avoid confrontation by only offering positive words even when they’re totally unwarranted.

5- Connect your feedback with the company goals

Goals help the brain focus. Make your employee feel that her contributions are valued and create a positive emotion with the feedback.

6- Make it one-on-one

Even praise for some people is better delivered in a private meeting, rather than being pointed out in a public arena: some people simply don’t like being the center of attention. And allow the opportunity of feedback without a face-to-face meeting as it can make it easier for a person to say what they really think.

7- Feedback is a two-way street

Ask for feedback from your employees on your own performance and on company policies.

8- Reply and follow-up the conversation

One of the biggest mistakes that leaders make when they receive written feedback from employees, is they don’t reply. An employee took the time out of their busy day to not only make your job easier, but give you valuable feedback that will improve the company.

Think about all the advantages that come from replying to employee feedback:

  • Employees feel listened to
  • Employees feel valued
  • Employees feel as if they’re part of shaping the company culture
  • Employees know their issues will get solved
How to Give Employee Feedback. The Complete Guide by Steer

Want to read it later?

No problem! Download our FREE guide in PDF and read it when it's convenient for you.

Questions to give employee feedback

These are some examples of questions that you can ask employees and honest conversation about how they’re feeling at work:

General questions:

  • What impact did you have last week?
  • What could have gone better last week? Why?

Goals questions:

  • If you had millions of dollars, what would you do every day?
  • Do you feel we’re helping you advance your career at a pace you would like?

Company Improvement questions:

  • If you were CEO, what’s the first thing you’d change?
  • What is the #1 Problem at our company? Why?

Self Improvement questions:

  • What skills would you like to develop right now?
  • Is there an aspect of your job you would like more help or coaching?

Looking for a employee feedback solution? Steer is a team management tool that helps you maintain a team without issues. Request a demo to experience it by yourself.

Manager Improvement questions:

  • What could I do as a manager to make your work easier?
  • What is something I could do better?

Happiness questions:

  • Who are you friends with at work?
  • Are you happy with your recent work? Why or why not?

Personal life questions:

  • How do you feel your work/life balance is right now?
  • What drives you? What motivates you to come to work each day?

Team relations questions:

  • How could we improve the ways our team works together?
  • What’s the biggest thing you’d like to change about our team?

Work habits questions:

  • What part of the day do you have the most energy and focus?
  • What do you do when you feel low energy or unmotivated?

This guide was written by:

Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista, co-founder of Steer
Based in Barcelona, Jose is on a mission to make remote teams happier and more productive at work. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.