Why is it important to give feedback to employees?

Pete:  “Just like driving a car down the road, you usually don’t close your eyes for an extended period of time, right?  We want to see what’s going on around us and be able to make adjustments. And that’s what we’re doing at work all day, is making adjustments all day long.  And we’d make better adjustments if we get feedback from people who really care about us.”

Timing has a lot to do with feedback.  How do you know when and how to do it?

Peg:  “We have a couple of ideas.  Number 1 is, whenever you give feedback, remember these three things:  specific, timely, and positive. You don’t want to wait until that review, and then start making a list (we’re gonna talk about this at the review, and this at the review, and this at the review) and then it comes the review and you get feedback (some of it good but a lot of corrections). That review…none of it should be a surprise. It’s to review the conversations we’ve had between now and that moment. There’s feedback that’s positive and there’s also corrective feedback. And you do need to do that with tact.”

Pete:  “We like to have the majority of it be the positive kind, if possible.  If you see a great behavior being done in the workplace, let people know right away, let them know why it’s important, and thank them for it.”

Make sure it’s clear when you give somebody feedback.

Peg:  “I want to give the viewers a test.  If you’re a manager, ask yourself this (when you’re walking up to that individual):  What do you think that person’s thinking you want from them? Is it “Oh my God here comes another thing you’re gonna give me,” or “Oh no, what did I do wrong this time,” or “Oh, here she comes, I know it’s going to be a positive conversation.”  As a leader, asking yourself that question is important because the purpose of any conversation is really to help that person grow. Do it in a way that’s inspiring and exciting, where they can’t wait to have that conversation.”

Does the feedback differ depending on the professional level of the employee?

Pete:  “Earlier this week we went through feedback with a newer manager and a fairly new employee. We were there with them when they went through the meeting because the manager was still unsure of her role.  She did a great job.  She talked to the employee about how they were doing things well, and why that was important to them and to the business, and to the team. And then she also pointed out some things, and was very specific about it, with when it happened and what the circumstances were.  And we had a little discussion with the employee about here’s the situation that happened, here’s why that wasn’t such a great idea, and here’s what we’d like you to do in the future. So, it was real specific, and kind. And when we were done, there was an impact, and the person really wants to do a great job.”

Negative feedback should be done constructively.

Peg:  “It should be a good conversation.  We don’t want to wait too long to give feedback.  We want it to be very timely because otherwise you feel like you’re always being judged.  We want to avoid that. You should feel excited after a conversation because then you’ll know what to do.”

Pete:  “Companies are moving away (when we encourage them) from the formal annual review, where you spend two hours talking about things that happened six months ago.  We’re doing less of that and more shorter discussions, more frequently.”

Specific. Timely. Positive.

Pete:  “When you do that, they’ll more likely hear you, and actually take some action on it.”

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