Summary: People want feedback more than once a year. Provide the feedback by being specific, open, create accountability and being timely.
This is a conversation that comes up at least once a month.
Client: We need new performance reviews.
Me: Ok, what are you trying to accomplish with the reviews?
Client: We need to give our employees feedback.
Me: Is this the only time you give feedback?
Client: Well…..yes….unless something really blows up.
Me: Let’s talk more about giving feedback.
One of the reasons I have dislike for performance reviews is because this conversation is all too common. We aren’t providing our people with feedback on a regular basis, it’s not really intentional…we aren’t really looking to hide how a person is doing…mostly it is a matter of time or timing.
First, let’s talk about the amount of time it takes. If you sit down and think about how long it takes someone to say “good job” it’s a few seconds. Do you have time for that?
Second, what about timing. You can probably guess the answer here. The timing should be in the moment it happens.
Lastly, how to give feedback. There is a little of an art form to this in order to have impact and have others understand the feedback you are giving to appreciate it.
Be specific: “Good job” alone may sound great, however it could leave a person wondering “for what?”. Tell people what they did well and under what circumstances. For example: Great job on handling customer smith’s complaint about the late shipment. I appreciate how you kept calm and got it resolved. In this example, the is no room to wonder “what did I do right”.
Be open: Let’s face it, there will be times when the feedback won’t be positive. Don’t make the person feel worse, this will just close them off and make them not want to tackle issues in the future. Instead of – The next time this happens, I need you to do this, or else we loose the customer. Say – Tell me what happened. Let them tell you in their own words what happened, remember you haven’t heard the whole story.
Create Accountability: When things do go wrong, create accountability in the team or person. Instead of telling them what to do, have them come up with solutions to either fix, resolve, or prevent in the future. This is as simple as – tell what you can do the next time to avoid/solve this issue.
Be timely: Talk about it right after it happens. Let’s be honest, we don’t remember details a week later and sometimes a couple days later. Take the time to provide the feedback as soon after the event as possible. This will not only give the employees the feedback they want it, it shows you are being attentive and the incident is fresh in their memory.
Your people do want feedback more often than once a year, this is how they know they are on the right path. Lack of feedback makes people nervous, unsure, less confident and disillusioned. Don’t let it happen to you.
Share your feedback stories below in comments.