Performance reviews, evaluations and surveys (among others) may be the first options that come to mind when providing employee feedback is the topic. These are definitely common methods of providing feedback and can be considered formal as well. However, feedback can also be effectively given to employees in informal or more casual ways as well.
Support, influence, and planning are three key components to help motivate employees and provide effective feedback. While working with organizations and teams, I’ve found that many managers only provide performance feedback when an error has occurred or when they are reprimanding an employee. This causes the employee to become defensive when receiving the feedback and they may become reluctant to apply changes or follow instructions. This can potentially create a hostile work environment with minimal opportunity for learning and productivity.
As effective leaders, it is important for managers and those in leadership positions to incorporate the following approaches of feedback to effectively motivate their employees to succeed:
Offering support to your employees comes in various forms, but major contributors of effective employee feedback include listening to suggestions and/or concerns, offering additional training or resources, and follow-up. Many times, ineffective employee performance isn’t because there’s a lack of skill or competency, but it is due to lack of resources or unclear workflow processes to complete their jobs. It’s very difficult to produce stellar work with a broken process. Take the time to listen and consider employee concerns and suggestions, and also monitor workflow processes regularly. This can help identify what the true inhibitors are in performance. Be sure to follow up with your employees on the progress as well.
Effective leaders lead by influence. Managers/Supervisors should be cognizant of how their practices and behaviors are seen by their staff. Employees won’t be accountable for their performance (good or bad) and demonstrate initiative if their manager displays the opposite. In addition, influence consists of encouragement. Be mindful of the accurate and positive work that employees do and acknowledge it. Make it a priority to understand what their individual motivators are and apply them to your leadership practices. Improving work performance doesn’t always mean corrective action, but simply influencing employees to continue great work and initiative. This will help feel valued and not overlooked.
Employees are more responsive when they feel considered and that their employer wants to invest in their professional development. Managers should work with employees to determine a career progression plan that is specific to their professional needs (and growth). In addition, the progression plan should align with the goals of the organization as well. Take the time to understand the talents of each employee and where they see themselves within the department/company over a period of time and establish goals. This will help determine the best methods and resources to help them work toward attaining those goals, thus making them more motivated to improve weakness and work toward succession.
Although employee feedback is one aspect improving performance, it is indeed significant in the performance improvement process. Adopting these approaches to providing feedback will help yield continuous results.