Business coach Ray McCreadie shares his tips on giving constructive feedback

If you are a leader, it is important that you set up ways of working within your organisation to ensure employee feedback processes are put in place and are applied in a consistent manner. When high-performing teams have delivered a project, it is essential that the leader of the group provides feedback to the whole team and to each of the team members on an individual basis. Regular feedback to employees can make them more aware of their performance, company expectations, goals, and areas of improvement.  

Research has shown that positive feedback can have an impact on team performance. High-performing teams share nearly six times more positive feedback than average teams. In comparison, low-performing teams share nearly twice as much negative feedback than average teams. 

It is important to give constructive feedback to team members and to show empathy when focusing on a weakness. It is also important to focus on the way in which feedback is given to team members. Constructive feedback is one of the most important things a leader can provide. 

Employees who receive positive feedback from their leaders feel supported and are less likely to seek employment elsewhere. This will save the company time and money spent on recruiting and training new employees. 

Here are ten points to consider when providing effective employee feedback: 

Positive feedback – it is important that all feedback, where possible, is positive and provides the employee with the relevant data to give them a measurable view of their progress.  

Negative feedback – when providing this type of feedback always compliment them on something else that they do well first. The goal is to encourage employees to improve instead of suggesting that they are not good at several aspects of their job.  

Lack of efficiency - when talking about efficiency ensure the employee understands the standards that are in place and the expectation that employees review their work before they consider it complete. This also gives an employee an action to complete to meet your expectations next time.  

Inclusion - this positive feedback provides the employee with a specific example of how they used teamwork effectively and in line with the preferences of the company. This feedback helps employees to build confidence in their leadership abilities.  

Collaboration - if you want to foster a spirit of collaboration among a team, offer positive feedback when you notice people working well together. Look to discuss specific instances where you have noticed people collaborating with one another and provide examples. 

Frequent errors - if an employee makes frequent errors, you may have to provide some negative feedback. As you offer this feedback, try to add positive feedback into the conversation to encourage the employee to develop an improvement plan. 

Workplace conflict - when providing feedback after a conflict, it is important to encourage employees to move forward from the incident. While you may need to provide some negative feedback at this time, it is important that all parties agree to resolve any further issues in a considered manner. 

Reaching a milestone - when a team reaches a milestone, positive feedback and a celebration can help them understand how they accomplished that goal. Where possible name specific instances where you saw them working well. Additionally, consider suggesting a number of ways they can continue to develop in their career.  

Displays of leadership – when employees display leadership skills, consider pointing this out to them with positive feedback. This can increase their confidence in certain workplace settings. Providing positive feedback for leadership demonstrates your desire to see others succeed.  

Negative feedback for unmet goals - if an employee is struggling to meet their goals, you can provide some negative feedback and help them find new strategies for improvement. It is important to offer this feedback considerately, so they feel motivated to improve.  

As you can see there are many factors to be considered before you provide feedback to an individual. Preparation is the key, make sure you are aware of the fact. For instance, you may try writing down the purpose of your feedback and what you would like the outcome to be for each employee. Where possible provide examples during feedback, as many employees benefit from knowing exactly what they did to receive your feedback. This helps them understand what behaviour is needed to improve in the future. 

In conclusion, it is important that organisations recognise an individual’s contributions to teams and that feedback is provided both at the individual and team level. Where possible companies should provide training in giving feedback to ensure that the feedback process is delivered effectively. Make feedback actionable by giving specific ideas on how to improve their performance. This will help employees focus on what they can do to reach their goals.