How to give constructive feedback to employees

“That was a good job!” a common phrase we love to say. As a manager/employer, we know that we are supposed to appreciate well-working employees. However, we know that this is not the easiest of tasks.

Know the right timing

It’s tempting to give the employee feedback on the hallway after a presentation. At this point, you are not expected to go deep into details- a smile, a pat on the back, and simple words of affirmation are enough. The best time to give constructive feedback is having a sit down with the employee and doing it in a relaxed environment.

Similarly, waiting until the end of year evaluation will not be helpful to the employee. It is advisable to have feedback and evaluation as often as on a weekly basis. This is because the situation is still very fresh and relevant and it will be impactful to the employee both at that time and in preparation for the next task.

Feedback Sandwich

This is one of the best feedback mechanisms to employ. It helps to create a balance between negative and positive feedback. Negative feedback is crucial in propelling a business, corporate or personal relationship forward or breaking them. It is therefore important to know how exactly to do it.

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In a sandwich, what makes it a sandwich and not just boring bread is the middle part. Which in this case, is the constructive criticism(negative feedback).Therefore, the best way to give constructive feedback is to find a genuine positive remark about the person.

For example:“I really admire your confidence and how open you are to taking challenges. It’s a great asset to have.”

It’s good to note that, this should be a genuine remark so that it does not look like mere flattery. As human beings, we all have an ego and love to feel appreciated, so by giving a positive feedback first, you soften the heart of the person, and the moment you give the negative feedback then they don’t feel attacked, hurt or get defensive.

For example, you could continue,”In order to be viewed as credible and well-informed, you need to always be prepared, conduct a thorough research on the topic or subject matter. This makes it easier to go into details on your presentation and you can handle any question that is given to you. I noticed that you struggled a bit with handling the tough questions, which could have easily been answered to the clients. In this way, you will end up closing more deals”

Finally, conclude with positive feedback, so that the person feels once again appreciated and not left nursing hurt from the criticism.

For example:“I can tell you have a lot of great potential in you, and you can do even better in the next presentation. Let me know if I can help to get the information you may need, such as the company financial projections that may not be very clear.”

The feedback sandwich is therefore very helpful, not only in creating a balance which considers the employee’s feelings but also ensures that you go into details. It is also vital to ensure that you make it personal where necessary and not cause embarrassment in a group setting.To give constructive feedback,be keen on the timing and HOW to do it.

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