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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Johnson

How to Give Feedback to Employees: A Guide for Managers

A step-by-step on how to deliver effective feedback at work.

Manager leading a her team.

Are you struggling to give effective employee feedback? Mastering the art of employee feedback—and yes, it’s an art—improves productivity at work and opens up new growth opportunities.

And while giving feedback can feel uncomfortable at first, proper feedback helps your employees get better at their jobs.

So, the big question is: How do you give better feedback? This blog post will explain everything you need to know, from what feedback is to practical tips on implementing it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Effective feedback improves employee performance and productivity

  • Feedback should be specific and tailored to the individual

  • Create a safe, timely, and structured environment for delivering feedback

What is employee feedback?

Employee feedback is when you share information with employees about their work performance and behavior. Many people think that feedback is always constructive. It’s what you’ve done wrong, almost the same as being called into the head teacher's office.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth! When feedback is delivered correctly, it highlights areas of growth and improvement. Employee feedback is a valuable tool to help your employees perform better at work. It can also help improve their skills, making them an even more valued employee!

What are some examples of positive feedback?

Let's start with positive employee feedback. Remember: not all feedback should be constructive!

Examples of positive feedback include: 

"I appreciate your commitment to meeting deadlines. It helps keep the team on track, and you're doing a great job."

"Your idea to re-write the landing page copy to focus more on the reader's problems resulted in 150% more clicks. Well done!"

"Your presentation was well-organized and highly engaging. You did a great job. It definitely helped us land that new client."

What are some examples of constructive feedback?

Notice we say "constructive" and not "negative" feedback. You’re not telling them what they’ve done wrong; you’re highlighting a roadmap for improvement. Furthermore, you must be careful how you approach constructive feedback to avoid being condescending.

Examples of constructive feedback include:

"Your customer service skills are excellent. But we have noticed there have been a few delayed and unread responses. Let's work to improve those response times over the next week!"

"A few of your recent sales reports have included several errors. Let's work on a new process to improve accuracy."

"We've noticed you don't contribute much during team meetings. We'd love to hear more from you—we value what you bring to the table!"

two coworkers enjoying a pleasant conversation

How do I give feedback to my staff?

How you provide feedback to your staff is a process—it's not a one-and-done task or something you can do on short notice. 

Your feedback should not be an afterthought—it should be well-thought and delivered professionally.

Continue reading for a step-by-step on how to improve your feedback process.

1. Create a Safe Environment

Shut the door. Have a seat. If this is your approach, it's time to rethink—this isn't Madmen!

When giving feedback, create a safe environment that fosters psychological safety. Employees should feel comfortable to express their thoughts and concerns. After all, feedback is a tool for growth—not a means of punishment.

Assure employees that they can speak their minds, let them know what you want to talk about, and don't let them go through the entire week thinking they're going to get fired. Not cool! This isn’t a soap drama. 

Instead, be direct: "Hello, I’d love to chat with you on Friday at 3 pm about your recent presentation. You did an excellent job, but I want to review and chat through a few pointers before our presentation with x client next week."

2. Choose the Right Time and Place

The timing and place of your feedback are crucial. If possible, give feedback in a private environment. Employees should feel safe and focused. You don't want your employees to get defensive or feel exposed.

Moreover, feedback on a project or a piece of work should be provided promptly. There's little to no point in providing feedback for a one-month-old project.

Be proactive and timely with your feedback!

3. Structure Your Feedback

Structured feedback is much more effective than vague comments. Be as specific as possible when providing feedback and addressing behavior and desired outcomes.

The more direct and precise you are, the less it feels like an attack on their work and more like an area for improvement. You wouldn't say, "Your report was bad." But you could say, "There were a few numerical inaccuracies in your report. Let's work on fixing those!"

Likewise, add some positive feedback to the mix. Positive reinforcement can help soften the blow and make incorporating the feedback easier. Again, this isn't a telling-off! 

Your job is to support your employees’ development—not discourage them.

4. Create an Open Dialogue

Your approach to employee feedback should be more of a conversation than a lecture. Listen to their narrative, work together, and show your support. This will help improve your feedback.

It's also a good idea to provide concrete next steps. This creates a road map for employees to take the feedback on board. Schedule a follow-up session, and you're good to go!

To Summarize

Giving effective feedback to employees is an art. The more you do it, the better you'll get.

And while it can be uncomfortable at first, proper feedback delivered in the right way will improve productivity at work. It will also make the person receiving feedback better at their job. 

This article originally appeared on <publication source> on <add publish date> written by <author name>. Read more about <the author> here.

Looking for more? Contact a Wellbeing Manager to discuss your organizational wellbeing needs.


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We provide workplace teams with mindful practices, personal and professional wellbeing growth, fitness instruction, and opportunities for social connection. We aim to inspire the highest potential in people at work, in life, every day, so they can show up healthy and at their best.


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