I’ve been banging on about feedback and acknowledgement a lot lately. Why? Because it’s one of the most effective ways to uphold your workplace culture; retain good employers; drive more inspired work; boost sales and quite frankly preserve your own sanity.

Feedback and acknowledgement are also cheap. Actually, it’s free.

In case you’re not sold, I want to answer a few light Feedback FAQsto ease you into it.

When is a good time for feedback?

My answer for this is; always, basically.

But more specifically, it’s a good idea to have regular evaluations with staff. Monthly is effective. But it’s also really important you give feedback freely, topically, as it comes to hand. If someone’s done a good job or has put in some extra effort––regardless of the outcome of their efforts, it’s important that goes acknowledged. Weave it into the culture of your language in the workplace.

Sorry, I got no time for feedback, what of it?

I had a client recently come to me with a problem–– a staff member was asking for a considerable pay rise. My client, a CEO of an organisation, wasn’t feeling comfortable about the pay rise because; a) it was a bit steep, and b) because she felt the employee wasn’t happy anyway.

I see this way too often, an unhappy staff member asks for a pay rise, and a few months later asks for another, and a few months later, leaves. The pay rise in this case is the band-aid that patches up the unhappy employees’ problems until they decide, in their own time, to leave. An expensive band-aid.

I strongly believe feedback and acknowledgment are a great alternative––regular check ins with your employees can save a lot of time and money in the long game. Not only will your employees feel better engaged, but you will see the writing on the wall sooner if one of your staff  is ready to move on.

In short, engaging in regular feedback will give you back time you may lose otherwise.

Do they only want positive feedback?

Studies have shown that employees actually respond better to constructive feedback, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want positive feedback or acknowledgement for good work.

According to an old study by Harvard Business Review from 2014, 72% of workers surveyed preferred “corrective feedback” over positive enforcement, and a whopping 92% agreed that “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” We will discuss the appropriate delivery of feedback, but isn’t this interesting? Your staff are probably gasping for some direction.

While I agree that negative, or rather, constructive feedback is vital, I still think positive feedback, acknowledgment is vital for a good culture.

I think we can separate the two by prioritising a time for constructive or negative feedback within an evaluative meeting––a block of time specifically set aside where you can structure a mix of negative and positive feedback. Your team (and you) will benefit so much from regular (planned) evaluation, but there’s still plenty of room for engaging in positive acknowledgement more randomly.

You’ll see a boost in staff morale, no doubt about it. Your team will also feel heard, and valued, and comfortable enough to approach you with a genuine problem––rather than resorting to the pay rise sting if they aren’t happy.

Which brings me to my next point…

Is there a better method of delivering feedback?

Giving feedback to someone, whether it be positive or negative, in your personal life or at work, is a moment of trust. You are delivering an evaluation of that person. You’ve judged them and they have to be open to receiving the judgement or it won’t have any value whatsoever. 

Some pointers for delivering negative feedback, and maintaining trust:

  • Prepare

It’s most important that you create a safe space for your employee to receive the

Feedback, and this takes careful preparation.

  • Have data.

This will help to show them where they went wrong.

  • Be clear.

Ensure they are comprehending where they went wrong.

  • Be supportive.

Constructive feedback is for the benefit of growth, you know this, make sure they do also. Assure them it’s not a strike.

  • Have a solution.

This also come into your preparation. Whether you have a solid solution going into the discussion, or perhaps you’d like to brainstorm solutions with them, either way, have something ready to present.

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