Steps to Giving Effective Face to Face Feedback

We all agree that engaged employees are the company’s best asset. If your employees are not doing their best, it is time to schedule a feedback session and get your employees back on board and increase employee engagement.

Learning to give and receive feedback effectively is essential to building a flexible, agile workplace. Giving feedback to employees can be quite daunting at times, since you might not know how each of them will react to the feedback given. Employees can feel they are being unethically criticised and become defensive even when management is trying to be constructive and helpful. 

We have compiled the simple steps to an effective face to face feedback for employees.

Purpose of the feedback

The first step to an effective face to face feedback for employees is outlining the purpose of the feedback. Not everyone is aware that feedback does not always have to be bad all the time, or focusing on the negative points at the workplace. The feedback could either be on a particular task or project or even a performance review.

Without narrowing down or giving the outline of the feedback to your employee, your employees might be worried for no reason. So when sending out that meeting request, remember to write the right notes or subject title.

Stress the positive

Bear in mind that the aim of feedback is to help your employees to grow and do their job better. So it is important to recap that before you start your meeting or feedback session. Stress on the point that you are trying to improve what they are currently doing and allowing them to work on their current capabilities that they have within them.

Emphasise any feedback that you will be providing to them that it is aimed at helping the employee improve their performance, advanced in their careers and fulfil their potential. This is the most basic step to an effective face to face feedback to employees.

Focus on productivity, not personality

The next step to an effective face to face feedback to employees is focusing on your employee’s productivity and not their personality. Unless they are working as a sales person and personality is crucial in making that sale, do not get personal with them. It is only human to feel defensive when someone seems to be criticising us.

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However as a manager, you need to be aware of this and try to turn the feedback into something personal. Remember that you are pointing out on your employee’s actions and behaviour, not the person as an individual.

Make listening a priority

When giving feedback, it is not all about you doing the talking all the time. While you may be giving feedback to your employee, you also need to listen to what they have to say. You need to give the employee time to process the feedback they are receiving. You also need to allow them to response to your feedback.

So always listen to their response and reactions. Paying attention and recognising them in a two-way conversation will help your message resonate and increase engagement over the longer term. By doing so, employees are aware that they are not in a one-sided feedback session and they are aware that managements are not just interesting in the company’s best interest.

Be precise and definite

Another step to an effective face to face feedback to employees is by being precise in your feedback. Being unclear is very unsupportive. Highlight the specific examples of where your employee needs to improve and work on and try to clearly explain how things could be handled differently in the future. Give them solutions and a couple of ideas that employees could try out for their next assignments or project.

By making your points clear and precise allows for an honest and open discussion that will lead to positive change, instead of one that will be viewed as unfair or unsupported criticism.

Allow enough time

When setting aside time for a performance review or feedback session, always allow adequate time to convey your feedback and hear what your employee has to say. You want them to feel that they are valued and important. By rushing through, it will feel like they are not important and employees might assume that you do not want to listen to what they have to say.

Do not rush off or appear preoccupied as this will come across as rude and unhelpful. Follow up with your employee after the meeting to ensure that you are both clear about what was discussed and what the next steps are in order to get them to improve.

End on a positive note

Finally, always finish off the meeting on a positive note. Helping someone to improve should always be the goal of constructive criticism repeating their mistakes mentioned in the beginning in your closing comments will leave them with a negative impression.

When something needs fixing, mention it at the beginning of your conversation but by leaving the problem to the end, any words of encouragement or solutions that you have given during the meeting will be forgotten.

In Summary

Feedback is vital to learning and improving, both for the employees as well as the employer. Everyone depends on feedback to better themselves and to work on what they are lacking. Ensuring you can give honest, helpful and actionable feedback, even in the most difficult circumstances, is a vital skill for every company today.

Remember that no problems are too small or minor to be looked into. A tiny issue, if not flagged earlier, will only recur and may multiply or becomes worst. Try not to wait for the quarterly performance review to come around, instead schedule a face to face feedback to employees as and when required.

With the steps listed earlier, we hope you do not encounter any major issues when it comes to giving an effective face to face feedback to employees.
Good luck!

Heryati R

Heryati R

Heryati is a member of the customer success team at 6Q, and is based in Perth, Western Australia. Heryati enjoys writing, reading and live music. She believes 6Q is awesome for employee engagement surveys.