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How to Give Employee Feedback

Published 20 Aug 2020
5 min read
How to Give Employee Feedback

When we think of feedback in the workplace, we often go straight to the annual performance review. While performance reviews are an obvious time for employee feedback, it’s not the only time. So, why do so many businesses save all of their employee feedback for their annual performance review when we know all of the benefits associated with giving regular, recurring feedback? Is it because managers and employers don’t know or see the value in employee feedback? Or is it because we’re so busy in our day-to-day that it simply goes to the bottom of the list? Regardless of why it’s not occurring, employee feedback can help take your teams’ performance to the next level. It can also be a vital piece of your people and culture strategy – improving engagement, boosting productivity and increasing employee happiness. With so many benefits from giving and receiving feedback, it’s no wonder that some of the most successful companies in the world are embracing the power of a healthy feedback culture. Before we dive in, take a squiz at this; Studies have shown that four out of five employees appreciate both positive and negative feedback, with 40% of respondents that experience little or no feedback identifying as actively disengaged. Eek! So what’s the recipe for success when it comes to employee feedback? Keep reading as we share why employee feedback is your secret weapon for building a high performing team.

What is employee feedback?

Employee feedback is the process of providing information to someone based on their performance and actions in the workplace. It is used to help guide professional development and improvement within an employee’s role. According to Marcus Buckingham, feedback is about telling people what we think of their performance and how they should do it better—whether they’re giving an effective presentation, leading a team, or creating a strategy. For feedback to be as effective as possible, you need to provide it in a constructive and consistent manner. The last thing you want to do is come across as intimidating or make your employee dread their feedback conversation.

How can I structure my employee feedback for it to be effective?

How can I structure my employee feedback to make it effective - Employment Hero

Provide specific examples

For feedback to be effective, you should provide examples and make it as specific as possible. If there was a particular time or event that happened, make sure to bring it up. When you do this, the recipient becomes more aware of their actions and can make sure to change it moving forward — or continue doing it if they hit it out of the park.

Spend some time preparing prior to giving feedback

Providing valuable feedback comes back down to preparation. The last thing you want to do is walk into a meeting unprepared and fumbling on your words. You should know exactly what you need to say and how to make it actionable. If your employee has done a great job, ask them to do it again next time or find ways to make it even better. When preparing, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your intention in sharing this feedback with them?
  • What would be a successful outcome of this feedback?
  • How will you deliver feedback?
  • What was the SITUATION?
  • Describe was the BEHAVIOR (what did the person do)?
  • Explain the IMPACT of the behaviour on you and/or others?
  • If you are emotionally charged about the feedback, how can you personally prepare for the conversation? What words can you use to start the feedback?
  • How might they react or respond to this feedback? How can you prepare for this?
  • What information do you have to support what you will say?

Provide actionable ways to improve

The most important part of providing effective feedback is to provide feedback on ways to improve. Whether you’re giving positive or constructive feedback, setting actionable tasks or goals is the best way for professional development and growth.

Be aware of the timing of feedback

When it comes to providing feedback, it’s important to take into consideration the timing in which you chat with the recipient. If they’re receiving feedback that requires them to improve their performance, you don’t want to be providing it to them just as they’re walking into a meeting where they’re presenting. This could make them emotional, especially if they aren’t expecting the feedback. You should be aware that when an employee is invested in the company and the work that they’re doing, emotions can cloud their ability to accept feedback.

Examples of effective feedback

  • I saw you did [insert task or project]. You did a great job on this and I really saw professional growth in the areas of [insert area of growth].
  • I would really love it if you could do more of [XYZ]. I think it would really help you develop your skills so you can reach your goal of [insert goal here].
  • I’ve noticed that you’re having a really positive impact on [XYZ]. Keep it up.

We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve - Bill Gates

What’s the difference between effective and ineffective feedback?

Ineffective feedback

Ineffective feedback is vague, defensive and non-actionable. An example of this is: “I feel as though you’re very rude to me in all of our meetings and you always try to put me down in front of our manager. You treat me like I’m stupid and you steal my ideas”.

That didn't help at all - Sheldon
Source: Giphy

Effective feedback

Effective feedback is specific and provides steps for actions to be taken. An example of this is: “In the meeting at 11am on Wednesday, I felt as though you were talking over the top of me. I’d really appreciate it if you could not talk over the top of me as ____ . I’m always open to feedback and would love to hear your thoughts after I’ve finished explaining my ideas.”

The Simpsons - Marge saying much better
Source: Giphy

Using the SBI model to give and receive feedback

To ensure you give effective and specific feedback, you can use the SBI (Situation, Behaviour, Impact) model. The SBI Model for Effective Feedback - Employment Hero

Example of effective SBI feedback for a manager

SBI Model for Managers - Employment Hero

Example of SBI feedback for peer to peer feedback

SBI Model for peer to peer - Employment Hero

Using technology to help support your employee feedback

For employee feedback to be as effective as possible, you want to make it easy to give and receive. With this in mind, using software like Employment Hero is one of the easiest ways to incorporate feedback into your culture. Employment Hero has developed different features like the Feedback tool and 1:1s that can help support feedback within your organisation. Not only does Feedback streamline the process by making it easier than ever to give and receive feedback, but it also collates each piece of feedback for you to look back on. By capturing the feedback in one location, employees and managers can use it as a building block for development. Why? Coaching and developing existing employees is cheaper than hiring to fill skill gaps.

Feedback for managers in Employment Hero

  • Managers can provide measured and considered feedback without it being misconstrued
  • Managers can review their direct reports’ feedback and easily identify areas of need for coaching and improvement


Feedback for employees in Employment Hero

  • Employees can submit their own feedback to their peers and managers
  • Employees can easily view their own feedback and can identify their strengths and areas for improvement


Interested in learning more about how Employment Hero can help you create a culture of feedback?

Get in touch with small business specialists today who can walk you through how feedback can help take your business and team to the next level. 👇 Button - book a demo of Employment Hero

Want more information? Here’s some additional reading. 📚

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