In the absence of positive feedback, even the most intuitive employees won’t know how well they’re meeting expectations. But with the right kind of feedback, HR leaders can encourage team members, zero in on opportunities for growth, and create an ongoing conversation about performance. Here we’ll explore employee feedback examples and effects that could inspire positive change in your workplace and world.
“Feedback is important because it builds psychological safety in teams and drives better business outcomes,” Emily Goodson, CEO and founder of consulting firm Culture Smart, says.
And with the right objectives in mind, a little communication can go a long way toward bridging or closing gaps. Here’s how the power of feedback for HR department purposes can benefit an entire organization.
Underperforming employees may not understand the various contours of their roles or responsibilities. When that’s the case, good feedback for HR to receive would include that the employee lacks the clarity, direction support needed to succeed. That enables HR to respond with constructive feedback to reward employee engagement, clarify expectations and illustrate what success in their role looks like.Builds confidence
Offer positive employee feedback for a job well done to encourage team members and build their confidence. HR leaders often see potential that employees don’t see in themselves. Giving feedback can elevate an employee’s belief in their own abilities.
Frame any negative feedback as an opportunity for growth. Highlight where employees could improve to increase their eligibility for advancement at your company or along their career path.
Ideally, giving effective employee feedback is part of an ongoing conversation. “There should not be a quota on feedback, but it should be provided regularly,” Marlo Green, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CEO of Green Ocean HR, says.
Because feedback is best internalized when it’s timely and specific, managers and HR leaders should provide it in the moment and with appropriate regularity. Here are a few opportunities to provide HR feedback to employees.
Some specific events — positive or negative — warrant immediate, meaningful feedback. Whether an employee has nailed a presentation or dropped a ball, HR leaders should provide specific feedback about employee performance. What did they do well, and what needs improvement?
Create an open dialogue around performance by forming a feedback culture with weekly check-ins. A prime time to discuss challenges, triumphs, and concerns, weekly check-ins are a chance to strengthen the feedback loop between manager and employee.
Performance reviews are a natural occasion for revisiting feedback. Because of the information exchanges managers and HR leaders have established with their direct reports, formal performance review talking points should not come as a surprise. So take this time to re-energize employees for a job well done or further course-correct by reinforcing feedback if necessary.
Follow these best practices for giving feedback, whether it’s positive or negative.
Be specific with employee feedback and examples. Even meaningful feedback without context is ambiguous and can feel inauthentic or targeted. “You’ve done an amazing job over the past few months” is not as powerful or motivating as, “We’ve been impressed with how you’ve handled the overnight transition to remote work. You’ve excelled at communicating with the team and managing shifting priorities.” You should see that encouragement reflected in future projects.
Be prompt in providing feedback. Timely, regular feedback further builds the context that helps employees understand what went well or could be done better next time.
Especially when providing constructive criticism, feedback should include examples of how an employee could improve next time. Make the conversation solution-oriented and future-focused rather than punitive.
Kindness doesn’t mean feedback can’t be critical. But how you phrase feedback does impact how an employee will receive it. When offering critical feedback, consider providing examples of times when employees exceeded expectations as proof you know they can improve in this area as well.
Provide positive reinforcement in the moment and in weekly 1:1s. Effective feedback is easy to hear, so feel free to offer it to employees off the cuff. A few ways you can phrase this feedback are:
Take a moment to check in with employees before redirecting feedback. If you’re giving timely course-correcting feedback, start the conversation by confirming now is a good time to speak. Then ask them to join you somewhere away from other team members. Try saying:
Be especially mindful of the HR best practices when giving feedback that addresses performance issues. Explain what you’re observing to the employee and the specific ways they are not meeting expectations. If you’ve touched on the same performance issue in the past, reference the former conversations you’ve shared about the topic.
Ask employees to problem-solve with you by asking open-ended questions. And be sure to practice active listening. Lastly, if you’ve addressed an issue a number of times, share the action you’ll take if the behavior continues.
Don’t underestimate the value of feedback for HR team or management performance. Follow up with employees about the effectiveness of your feedback to them. Was it well-received? Has it helped? If so, how so; if not, why not?
Remember that ideally, feedback between employees, employers and managers should be an ongoing conversation that helps to inform and improve mutual understanding and support. Also realize that many employees may never have thought about how to give feedback to HR. You might want to extend the invitation.
Critical constructive feedback for HR might sound something like:
Feedback is a powerful tool for development. By hearing other people’s perspectives, we’re able to reconsider our own performance or behaviors. Be timely, specific and kind, and approach feedback as a lever for growth for each team member.