7 Expert Tips for Providing Effective Employee Feedback

7 Expert Tips for Providing Effective Employee Feedback

Anyone who has ever managed someone in the workplace knows that one of the most challenge aspects is giving constructive feedback. This becomes increasingly challenging as your team grows, regardless of whether the feedback happens to involve praise or coaching. The following expert tips should help make it much easier to provide employee feedback as an integral component of your practice culture.

Set a goal first.

As with anything in business, if you want to accomplish anything significant with your constructive feedback, you should have a specific goal in mind before broaching the subject. This is especially important if the topic at hand is negative in nature, as in being late on a task or failing to reach a milestone. Setting a goal for your feedback will help you stay focused and keep the conversation on track. 

Be honest.

Sometimes, the truth hurts. But you can’t move past problems in your clinic unless and until you face them head on, and that includes providing open, honest feedback to your employees. Keep your comments grounded in fact and avoid exaggerating (whether positive or negative). Be professional and thoughtful, but direct with your employees. Sugar-coating and skirting the subject won’t accomplish anything. 

Put a positive spin on things.

Try to avoid being a Debbie Downer, always bringing doom and gloom to the team. There are ways to make negative feedback into a more positive conversation. For instance, rather than simply pointing out that an employee is perpetually missing the mark on deadlines, frame your approach more as an opportunity to improve performance and possibly even advance their career. It’s all about perspective.

Offer solutions or alternatives.

Feedback that merely criticizes or points out problems isn’t effective in generating positive change. It’s not enough that you tell your employees what they’re doing wrong. You must also back those statements up with a proposed solution or alternative. This will create a foundation upon which the employee can take action and begin to turn his or her behavior or performance problems around for the better. 

Don’t let it get personal.

Yes, caring about your employees is natural and even encouraged. But when it comes to feedback, too much emotion can be a bad thing. Remember, for feedback to be effective, it must be objective and honest. If you find yourself having a hard time offering constructive criticism to a particular team member you are fond of, try to step back and focus solely on the behavior, action or habit you’re trying to change, rather than the person to whom you are addressing the feedback.

Be aware of emotions.

While it may be tempting to offer feedback in the heat of the moment, during or just after a mistake has been made, doing so is not always good nor effective. For example, if a team member is aware they’ve messed up and is angry at themselves for it, giving immediate feedback will likely only serve to add fuel to the fire. Be aware of emotions and understand that you may need to press pause and revisit when things have cooled down a bit.

Balance your message.

Constructive criticism is necessary for progress, but if the only time you give feedback to your team is to let them know when they’re doing something wrong, you can expect morale to tank. Instead, make a point to balance your approach so that you equally offer positive feedback and recognition along with opportunities for improvement. And if you find that this is difficult to do with a particular employee, it may be time to reconsider whether or not they’re a good fit with your practice culture overall.

Mastering the art of providing constructive feedback isn’t always easy. It requires forethought, restraint and empathy. That said, it’s something every good manager needs to do in order to keep the practice moving forward in a positive, productive way.