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Constructive feedback

Appropriate and constructive feedback keeps everything running like clockwork. 

Good use of constructive feedback ensures everyone in your organisation understands how to behave. It’s not just about formal reviews. Feedback should happen all the time, so employees feel positive about the way they are working and are clear on what they should and shouldn’t do.

It’s important that the way you feed back is kept clear and simple. Often it helps if this is done from the top down – at senior level, by individual managers and then across the wider team.

Feedback mechanisms

Mechanisms can be established at all three levels of business. Consider creating the following feedback systems at each level:

Organisational level:

  • Progress updates and reviews on objectives
  • Business Plan and Development Plan
  • Cost benefits and return on investment from development activities
  • Outcomes of employee surveys
  • Organisational achievements
  • New customer information
  • Industry award wins

Team level:

  • Team survey
  • Whole team meetings
  • Regular reporting on progress
  • Celebrating the achievement of team objectives
  • Evaluation of development activities
  • Recognition for team contribution
  • Feedback from the management team or board

Individual level:

  • 1:1 reviews
  • Personal development plan
  • Celebrating the achievement of personal objectives
  • Recognition for individual contribution
  • Constructive, regular two-way feedback between manager and employee

Balanced feedback

As a manager, you should keep feedback honest, accurate and fair. Try to find the positives, like offering extra training to help with a problem. Make sure your employee has the opportunity to respond to any feedback you have, and that you listen to what they have to say, then take their perspective onboard.

Praise and reprimand

It’s always easier to reprimand for poor behaviour than to praise everyday good working, but it’s important to remember, doing things right deserves recognition as much as going wrong. Praise when things are working and solve when things aren’t – it’ll help your team understand when things are going well and what they need to do to keep it that way.

Ideally, your feedback should take the form of a short personal statement lasting around 45 seconds. This should be:

  • Immediate. Give feedback as soon as you can after the event. Don’t store it up for later
  • Specific. Tell people exactly what they did right or wrong so they understand what to repeat or to correct
  • Personal. Tell them how it made you or others feel
  • Encouraging. If their behaviour is good, encourage more of it. If it is bad refer to a time they have done something better as a positive comparison