As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to provide your team with meaningful feedback on their performance. This is especially important in today’s world of work, where 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were being recognized through feedback—and 98% simply disengage when they receive little or none.
Feedback that’s both relevant and helpful doesn’t just foster professional growth, it can enhance your employees’ skills, build up their confidence, and increase their job satisfaction.
Learn how to give your employees a solid foundation for moving ahead with this brief guide to what constructive feedback is, and why it’s good for your staff.
What exactly is constructive feedback?
By definition, feedback is simply the return of information about a result within a system. Because human feedback is often clouded by personal perspective, however, it can quickly become obstructive and deflating without a mindful approach.
Constructive feedback is specifically aimed at promoting positive change by providing staff with a productive, insightful, and supportive assessment of their performance.
Feedback that’s constructive:
- Focuses on building your employees’ abilities
- Is based on observation and (in many cases) analytics
- Incorporates useful suggestions for a team member’s future or everyday work
Note that the key to communicating constructive feedback is making sure your message is clearly understood while remaining empathetic to the person it’s directed to.
The benefits of providing employees with feedback
Not only can a lack of feedback lead to disengagement, statistics suggest you’ll be 30 times more likely to have an actively engaged staff if your feedback focuses on employee strengths (78% of workers, for example, said being recognized motivates them in their job).
When done right, constructive, affirming feedback clarifies workplace expectations, which can generate benefits like:
- Improved employee results, morale, and loyalty
- Enhanced leadership potential among team members
- Faster processes, more impactful customer relations, and a better bottom line for your business
Ideally, you should commit to sharing feedback and guidance with your staff frequently and on a regular basis (monthly or even bi-weekly one-to-one meetings aren’t uncommon).
How to give more constructive feedback
Now that we’ve established the importance of feedback, here are a few tips for providing it in a way that will positively impact both your staff and your business.
To deliver feedback constructively, make sure you:
- Steer clear of accusations, generalized statements, and inflammatory terms like “never” or “always”. A poor example of constructive feedback would be: “You’re always late submitting your timesheet.”
- Offer tangible, contextual examples of where and how performance can be improved. A good example of constructive feedback would be: “You submitted your timesheet late three times last month, which delayed payroll and caused the accounting team to work late.” By using factual, real-life work examples to highlight a specific issue—and its implications—your employee will be more likely to avoid similar oversights in future.
- Forego lecturing staff and engage them in your discussions instead. One way to inspire an authentic exchange of ideas is by using open-ended questions to solicit a team member’s views. This can prove especially helpful when you want to encourage self-assessment and ownership of performance successes and shortcomings.
Your feedback will be more practical if you also take advantage of employee performance data and metrics to help staff set improvement goals, measure their progress, and meet evolving workplace expectations.
Once you’ve created a staff guidance system built on regular, constructive feedback, don’t forget to solidify your efforts by making professional development opportunities—like external coursework, in-house cross-training, and coaching or mentoring programs—available to all employees.