Workplace Feedback – How Serious Are You About It?
There’s a lot of drama surrounding workplace feedback these days. Traditionally, managers evaluated employee performance semi-annually or annually and gave feedback based on this evaluation. However, these periodic performance reviews are sorely detested nowadays.
Most organizations are experiencing a dramatic shift in the way feedback is given. There is a serious focus on real-time feedback throughout the year. Feedback which penetrates employee defenses and shifts their thinking and behavior is the viral trend.
Feedback is the backbone of people management process. It’s like a weapon which when wielded correctly can engage and improve employee performance tremendously. But a wrong shot can destroy the workplace morale. As a result, it can reap rich benefits if managers learn how to deliver feedback effectively.
A common and popular model to give effective feedback is captured in the acronym ‘SMART’: giving feedback that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Although common, it’s most uncommonly used! Before giving any feedback, take a step backward and evaluate if it’s SMART. If not, perhaps it’s not worth giving.
Another way to look at feedback is coaching employees. Feedback is not supervising, instructing or shouting in anger/frustration. Feedback is about giving information to employees calmly with the intention to guide them or get them back on the right track. Sometimes just getting the intention right can make all the difference.
Most often giving feedback might seem like skating on thin ice – too much negative feedback can hurt the morale, while only positive feedback could lead to overconfidence. The key is to strike a balance between negative and positive feedbacks. Show kindness and concern, but be strict and hold your employee accountable where required.
Actively involving employees in feedback sessions can go a long way in earning their trust and making feedback effective. Provide short, consistent and frequent feedback sessions, and actively seek employee participation.
Giving feedback is a managerial skill. And like any other skill, it should be learnt and improvised. How do you give feedback to your employees?