Employee feedback can vary from memorable to uncomfortable conversations with supervisors and upper management. Currently, employee feedback has progressed to active listening and a mechanism to build trust between employees and managers. Constant employee feedback leads to higher trust, rapport, and engagement between supervisors with added benefits.
Let us explain how and why employee feedback brings change, showcase some examples of employee feedback, and how managers take action and build a culture of active listening.
Employee Feedback Examples
While businesses vary and have numerous ways of giving employee feedback, the following are positive feedback examples that give insight into guidance that managers can utilize in giving constructive feedback.
Positive Employee Feedback Examples
Positive feedback can be a measure of recognition and an acknowledgment of diligence. There are many instances where managers can take out the time to provide glowing remarks about their employees. Here are some examples:
1. Employee performance appreciation
“You did an incredible job at the client meeting yesterday. I heard from others that the department heads were extremely impressed by your sound knowledge of the product and noted your suggestions. Great job! I truly applaud all your work, energy, and diligence you put in this role.”
Employees always look for recognition when they do a good job, as it makes them feel recognized. Therefore, as a supervisor, you must promptly recognize the hard work and celebrate competency. In addition, it is better to give specific feedback regarding achievements, skills, and business outcomes.
Employee success is an important part of making people feel loved at their jobs, and if that does not happen, the workers feel dejected and underappreciated. Therefore, it is important to call out positive performance. Providing positive feedback and showing appreciation shows the right behaviors, makes employees feel motivated, and is linked to increased engagement of employees.
2. Note an employee’s good qualities
“Something I noticed about you is how well you respond in stressful situations and always have a positive attitude. For example, when a customer behaved rudely, you were understanding, patient, and resourceful. Handling customer complaints is important to our company mission, and you always show it.”
Tell the employees what they are an expert in and what qualities you appreciate in them. Competency invigorates a business as good qualities support organizational values and create a direct link to long-term business results.
3. Emphasise employee’s exemplary behavior
“X told me that they are using the new network tool to keep track of metrics, based on your feedback on the application. Thanks for supporting us and our new product and setting a source of inspiration for others.”
When a worker does something that others must follow, communicate this. Colleagues believe in word-of-mouth, which holds a lot of power and tend to listen to each other. Setting a good example is the best way to instill ideal behavior into your workforce.
4. Emphasize actions to encourage habits
“I appreciate your diligence and tracking our expenses on [x] software. It helped the team and supported us in maintaining our budgeting. It was an incredible help, which is why I will continue this for our continuing projects.”
Calling out good work will reinforce such behavior and turn them into habits. Humans mimic behavior that provides them with validation and takes the same action again and again. When an employee’s actions are specifically important to job success, you need to take time to demonstrate their actions’ impact and suggest that the employee repeat them in the future.
5. Support employees during difficult times
“I understand that we have had some tough days due to unforeseen circumstances. However, I am impressed by your hard work and durability, and you keep everything afloat repeatedly.”
Businesses face difficult days and times. It is important to recognize the resilience of your employees and celebrate their efforts. Being transparent about problems allows workers to acknowledge what has happened, communicate any incomplete information and clear up any doubts in the room. While this is difficult to do, especially if the issues are personal, still voicing out concerns can signal the end of the storm and let them know that the hard times have passed by.
6. Good team player
“When I say you are a brilliant point of contact for the team, I know I am speaking for the entire team. Thank you for your work and your efforts in keeping everyone united on the same page, assisting the other members in prioritizing their tasks, acknowledging complexities before moving further with any task, and always helping others whenever you get the chance. This makes you an invaluable asset not only to the team but also to our company.”
It is easy to act as a solo individual. However, it is difficult to be empathetic, intuitive, and a kind person who can work well with others in a group. If you have someone who is team-oriented, appreciate them and lift them repeatedly.
7. Great personal development
“I wanted to congratulate you on doing such a great job of acing that [x] skill in such a short span. I admire that you decided to go the extra mile to prioritize your learning over everything else. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to learn that will help you contribute more efficiently.”
Growth is an important part of both organizational and personal success. When employees go above and beyond to improve their skills and abilities, show appreciation by letting them know exactly what you like about them.
Constructive Employee Feedback Examples
When things are not going as planned, constructive feedback can help redirect employees into taking on more successful behaviors. This is not the same as negative employee feedback; instead, it is constructive and can lead to positive outcomes.
Let us review some examples:
8. Handling problematic behavior
“There have been some conversations about how you make jokes that make others uncomfortable. We have very clear rules and condone such behavior in this organization. Any inappropriate jokes and comments that cause hurt or offense to others are inappropriate and will lead to a penalty.”
Handle inappropriate conduct in an organization immediately to uphold a respectful culture, inclusivity, and tolerance. However, supervisors cannot allot all the blame on the individual, as it can be a case of an accidental or unintentional offense. In such a scenario, there needs to be a decent conversation to determine the intentions behind the action and if it was just miscommunication. Additionally, feedback must not be weaponized to blame an employee; instead, it needs to be a way to give specific guidelines about what is acceptable and unacceptable in the organization and why.
9. Communicate during employees failures
“I noticed that you did not meet your mission for this quarter, and these are important to ensure that you and the business succeed. Your output directly affects this business and the results we achieve. Therefore, falling short on this task will directly impact the business and its productivity. Let us have a conversation about the shortcoming and see what changes we can implement to lead to your confirmed success.”
When a worker faces a failure to reach their monthly or yearly goal, the supervisor is responsible for providing immediate feedback to nip the problem in the bud and get performance back on track. It is necessary to ensure that the employees know their progress is related to the business growth. This instills a culture of responsibility and understanding of how they are linked to the objectives of the business. This also ensures a common understanding of the importance of meeting goals and pointing out the reasons for failure. Focus on key points to boost performance and lead to future success.
10. Address performance changes
“While we are aware that you are one of our highest performing employees and you have consistently proved to be excellent, we have noticed that there has been a slight decline in your progress reports. I want to hear you out and understand what might be the reason behind this. I am willing to provide you avenues to discuss this problem and see if I can be of any help for you in this time.”
Competent managers must stay aware of their business and on top of their yearly goals and plans. They need to check in with their employees immediately to see if there is a change in performance. The goal is to figure out the reason behind the change and provide healthy support to get the best performance back on track. Start with positive feedback to emphasize that you recognize their previous efforts. This creates a safe space for discussing changes in performance and what the manager and employee can do to ensure success.
11. Reconnect when there is disengagement
“After constant observation, I have observed that the results of the [x] department are not as successful as I hoped they would be. I assumed that all of you would be more involved and responsible individuals. However, that did not seem to be the case. Hence, I would like to understand why this happened on this project and how we can work to avoid such misunderstandings in the future.”
In today’s digitally advanced world, team members are usually disconnected due to varying circumstances. Therefore, managers should not focus solely on personal opinions on the issue’s crux. Make sure everyone is on the same page regarding responsibilities and the importance of being on the same page. Make sure to inquire how their disconnect happened and how to solve the issue in the future.
12. Discuss errors productively
“Unfortunately, the materials sent to our departments contained an error which was overlooked by your team. I understand that your team might have missed the error, but we expect a better mechanism to seek out these problems beforehand. I would like to hear from everyone to figure out how the mistake happened and what measures we can take to counter such mistakes in the future.”
Mistakes are part of human nature, and talking about these issues is an uncomfortable experience. However, without constructive feedback, no improvement can ever come to the work quality. Employee feedback must not be based on confrontations or blaming others. Instead, it needs to be about having a productive discussion and how to counter any errors that arise. It needs to be about impacts on the organization and how to address such problems. Most importantly, you want to ensure your employees learn from their mistakes so that they are not repeated in the future.
13. Absence or lack of punctuality
“Your passion and talent for [x] keep our team excited and inspired. I know the creative process can be tiresome and lengthy, but be aware of how you prioritize your time. We missed you during our weekly meeting this morning. These meetings provide an opportunity for collaboration and connection. Furthermore, they serve as check-ins to learn how everyone is progressing on their projects. Attendance at meetings is mandatory in the future, as I do not want you to miss important information regarding our projects.”
While it is natural sometimes to forget to inform absences, or there can be some emergencies coming up, such behavior consistently can prove to be dire for the company and team morale. So, discussing such behavior and being on top of it from the beginning is important. In addition, letting the employee know that you have noticed your tardiness or absence will keep them on alert to inform you next time or show up on time.
14. Shy or anti-social employee
“I value your ability to work alone and focus on your projects. I know I can rely on you to handle your work without extra management. However, I have observed you never speak up much during the team meetings, and our team would benefit from gaining your insights. Therefore, I would like to see you speak up at least once during next Monday’s meeting.”
Some people excel at working independently but often have trouble collaborating with others or providing input during meetings. You can applaud their strong work ethic while communicating the benefits of practicing their interpersonal skills at work. This can seem unimportant, but getting to hear all opinions is important for their growth, as well as getting to hear original thoughts. Moreover, communication skills are a core part of each employee’s soft skills, so always encourage your employees to speak up more.
Providing frequent and consistent feedback can help employees feel more comfortable discussing their work.
If you have constructive feedback about a specific task or project, communicate it sooner than weeks later. This approach ensures that the event is fresh in your and your employees’ minds. As a result, you will find it easier to identify issues and determine how to avoid or fix them in the future.
Here are the responses to some commonly asked employee feedback questions.
What are the types of employee feedback?
There are multiple ways of giving employee feedback:
- Reinforcing feedback: This is given when you want someone to keep doing a certain positive behavior. When you give this type of feedback, you verbally reinforce the positive effects of someone’s actions.
- Redirecting employee feedback: It is good practice to ask before providing someone with redirecting feedback. It is important to ensure the recipient is in the right mindset to receive whatever you have to say. Before giving feedback, try to understand how the person is feeling and if they know the topic you want to give feedback on.
- Third-party feedback: This entails telling employees that you have been hearing some things about them and how you can discuss those concerns with them.
What is formal feedback?
Also categorized as constructive feedback, this focuses on information and observations. Formal feedback includes an overview of project results, work performance documentation, and peer surveys. Formal feedback involves managers and leadership.
Formal feedback has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if employees know that a performance review is upcoming, they have the time to prepare, tie up messy ends, and showcase their best work. However, it can increase the pressure on them. With so many people involved, they are being watched under a microscope. Examples of formal feedback look like this:
- Annual performance reviews
- Evaluation scores
- Human resource reports
- Peer surveys
How do you give good employee feedback?
There are some guidelines to follow to provide concrete feedback to employees.
1. Be conscious of timing
Think of the person you are giving feedback to, and consider whether they are in the best mindset to get your feedback and if you are in the mindset to provide it. Strong and negative emotions can cloud over a person’s ability to tolerate feedback, so they try to reinforce or redirect them. Wait for a better time to give feedback.
2. Be prepared
Think about the person you are about to speak with before providing feedback. What do you want the outcome of the conversation to be? What is the purpose of your feedback? For example, do you see any value in the person changing or repeating their behavior? What do you think they could do to achieve this end result? Your employee feedback needs to provide enough information for someone to either continue what they have been doing or change it.
3. Provide specific examples
Whether providing redirecting or reinforcing employee feedback, specifying things is necessary for learning. Specific feedback also serves as a base for measuring growth and steering future behavior. For example, telling someone they did a good job is a nice compliment, but that person will not know which specific behaviors they must repeat in the future.
4. Make feedback actionable
Give employee feedback on situations someone can do something about. Avoiding personal feedback is necessary for effective feedback. Research shows that when we are not motivated to change, we receive criticism for past behavior. So instead, we simply shut down and become defensive. In contrast, receiving feedback that taps into what we can do to reach our goals or improve ourselves is empowering.
5. Make employee feedback a regular process
Not every situation or action requires feedback, but it is important to make constant feedback and communication a priority. When reinforcing feedback is done constantly, redirecting feedback becomes less needed. Regular feedback also shows employees that you care about them.
How should a manager provide employee feedback?
Most employers provide feedback on these skills:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- The skill to meet deadlines and accomplish goals
- Quality and accuracy of work
There are five important steps to follow to provide excellent employee feedback.
- Provide regular informal feedback
- Be honest
- Do it face to face
- Use tangible, pertinent examples
- End on a good note
Why is employee feedback important?
With no feedback, communication holds no real significance. So, feedback is the primary component in communication as it allows the sender to analyze the message’s effect. In addition, it helps the sender ensure that the recipient has interpreted the message correctly.
Feedback is a powerful, cost-effective method of assessing and developing people, teams, and organizations. Without transparent conversation or feedback, individuals are left in the dark about the impact of their actions and decisions on their organization and relationships. With feedback, they can get some self-insight.
How can feedback be improved in the workplace?
Focus on becoming better in these skills:
- Be specific
- Create goals that match your feedback
- Give feedback one-on-one
- Share both positive and negative feedback
- Offer feedback often, not just during milestones
- Practice active listening
- Focus on specific behavior
- Leave emotions out
- Use performance data to support your ideas
- Mentor with your feedback
- Deliver group feedback when applicable
- Have follow-up discussions
- Be empathetic
- Maintain consistency
- Talk in-person
How does employee feedback improve performance?
Ongoing feedback between managers and employees helps fuel growth, build trust and development, and remove misconstrued expectations. Teams benefit from increased alignments and understanding. When team members understand how others think of them, they can work to become better teammates.
Feedback improves confidence, motivates to learn, and ultimately, is what a learner wants. The majority of the employees echo that they want more feedback. Feedback, like recognition, builds employees’ sense of feeling valued. It aids in reinforcing positive habits and enables more of the undertaking you want to see. In addition, feedback builds self-awareness and allows everyone to become mindful of their actions’ impact.
What could be the outcome if employees are not given feedback?
The lack of feedback can impact employee performance. The majority of the percentage of employees claim that they work harder if they feel their efforts are being recognized. When managers offer less or zero feedback, it leads to higher resignations, turnover rates, and high monetary losses for your organization.
What are the challenges with employee feedback?
There are some limitations when providing feedback:
- Making feedback too personal
- Making feedback too impersonal
- Too much negative feedback
- Psychoanalyzing the situation
- Postponing feedback
- Setting vague expectations
How do you overcome feedback barriers?
Feedback regulates, reinforces, and stimulates the communication process. Without it, the message sender cannot know whether the receiver has accepted the message or understood it. Listening is closely linked to feedback, as it is impossible to have effective feedback without having listened to the message.
When should you not give feedback?
Do not give feedback when:
- Personal Preference: It is more about your own preference or style than the quality of the person’s work product or approach.
- Limited Information: You do not have a full understanding of the situation.
- Circle of Influence: The problem is out of the recipient’s control.
- Unknown Solution.
What qualities should your employee feedback have?
- Constructive instead of critical
How do you give feedback to a sensitive employee?
It is easy to get flustered or frustrated in the face of tears. Of course, the person needs to hear the message as kindly and empathetically as possible, but the message is the message.
Remember, a hard message does not have to come with a stern voice or tone. Instead, deliver it thoughtfully and considerately.
If the employee’s behavior is a constant issue and pattern, you must address the person’s reactive tendency head-on. For example, you can say, “I notice you always get [upset] during feedback. However, I have your best interests at heart. So what can I do to help you receive feedback with more acceptance? And here is what I require from you in these interactions.”
Break the repetitive and toxic cycle of avoiding difficult feedback conversations.
Other tips include:
- Deliver the feedback during the end of the shift so the person can leave for home afterward
- Have tissues on hand. This acknowledges that you understand their emotions and gives the other individual a chance to collect themselves.
- Know that you will have to meet the person again once they have calmed down.
What is the purpose of employee feedback?
Employee feedback has multiple benefits; the biggest purpose is to improve employee performance.
Aside from this, the other benefits include:
- Transferred ownership of professional development
- Diffused office conflicts before they happen
- Increased employee engagement
- Give your people something they want