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How often should I give employee feedback?

X

I know how important it is to give highly structured feedback to employees. It helps with productivity and retention, which is something everyone (myself included) wants to raise. I think a lot of it has to do with the format in which you present the feedback. What formatting have people had good success and response with? How often should you present feedback?


24 Replies

Rich Goidel
2
0
Rich Goidel Entrepreneur
Business strategist, group facilitator, agile practitioner and corporate muse
In my experience, when people say "feedback," they really mean "review."

Formal reviews (quarterly, yearly, etc.) can be great opportunities for growth and alignment. And, for getting very clear on goals and expectations. There's no shortage of online content for good review formats. I'd suggest a simple search, and pick what resonates with you.

One of the best reviews I ever heard about was kind of a "reverse" review: Instead of providing a critique to the employee, you ask the employee to give you the review. This is a wonderful way to open up real dialogue.

Now, feedback, on the other hand, generally works well when it's given often, authentically, without drama and without judgement ... and with a healthy dose of appreciation and support.

Further, I would submit that, without regular feedback, formal reviews lose much of their value.

Personally, if asked to choose, I'd focus on feedback skills first, and worry about formal reviews second. I've found a total lack of the former, and way too many ineffective instances of the latter.

Food for thought, anyway. :-)
Sam McAfee
1
0
Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
Feedback loops should be as tight as you can make them without it getting cumbersome. It depends on how many direct reports you have (more than 5 or 6 per manager gets unwieldy, and I have had as many as 25 in a past job).

I would typically do a 30 min walk-n-talk with each team member once a week, if possible, definitely every two weeks. Once a month or quarter is kind of pushing it. If you do it more frequently, the conversation can be shorter. If you have to do it farther apart, maybe stay in the office because the conversation will be longer.

Also, the feedback is two-way. Be prepared to hear feedback from them as well. In fact, you may have to encourage that since some people will be intimidated to give you honest feedback. You can always surface some of your own self-critique to get them started. It should just become a part of your culture that you have regular, safe, open and honest conversations, both between peers, but also with managers and reports. Good leaders are unafraid of solid, honest blunt feedback from their employees.

Finally, it's good to have specific, actionable goals established first as a guideline for what kind of feedback you are giving and getting. Don't be wishy-washy. Use goals that are both for their personal growth but also aligned with the company goals.

There is more I could say, but that's the basics.
Tom Stearns
0
0
Tom Stearns Advisor
Marketing and Sales Strategy, Content Strategy, Sales Development
I'm a fan of good open and ongoing communication with employees and colleagues. I think formalizing it is nice if the organization is large enough to need that. In my experience in smaller companies and startups there is no need to bog things down in format. Ongoing feedback presented in a constructive manner is healthy and can happen as often as necessary.

I do a lot of coaching and training with newer younger members of companies and they crave regular feedback and instruction. They want to learn and they seem to be ready to hear just about anything. Good and bad. As long as it helps them improve they're game to hear it.
Erika Torres, PhD
0
0
Erika Torres, PhD Entrepreneur
Program Manager & Psychologist
Ongoing feedback is the best. However, formal written evaluations every 6 months are a good start. The key is for the evaluation not to come as a surprise. Weekly or monthly informal discussions about professional goals can be helpful.
Gian Carlo Sciuchetti
1
0
Global Leader - Leading Marketer - Entrepreneur - Lecturer
Hi Ryan, I am a big believer in spontaneous feedback, given immediately. And then of course you also need the structured sessions. But the first ones make the real difference in motivation and going the extra mile. Best, Gian Carlo Von meinem iPhone gesendet
Jeffrey Gray
1
0
Jeffrey Gray Entrepreneur
Founder and CEO at Brave Enterprises, LLC
The frequency depends on how closely you are working together. If you supervise them directly and work together all day, you should be giving feedback in real time.Things like "Nice work"and "Good job" are good to hear regularly, but a little more personal works even better, like "I like how you phrased that" for an email or proposal, or "you have a gift for creative thinking". To bring them to the next level, you followup witha way for them to improve their work. "Thisis a great approach toresponding to their request. But if you added, blah blah blah, it wouldopen an opportunity to cross sell them into blah blah blah. This turns a service problem into a revenue opportunity." If you are working remotely from the employee, you can still provide real time feedback, but it is harder to read them and know if they are taking it well. Coaching is easier face to face so that you can modulate your feedback to their ability to absord it. Formal employee reviews should be done at least annually, but if you are giving real time feedback, and if you have performance based pay systems that reward merit, then the annual review will be reduced to a very nice one on one chat with each employee, which can help to build employee alignment. For new employees, start up operations or those in transition, a six month or three month review can be more appropriate. A steady state operation or established employees can be less frequent.Jeffrey Gray [removed to protect privacy] cell [removed to protect privacy]
Laura Lunsford, PhD
1
0
Associate Professor, Psychology at University of Arizona
People management is one important so I'm glad you asked this questions! You are giving your employees feedback every time you interact with them. Negative experiences are more memorable than are positive ones and successful people struggle on how to handle criticism or negative feedback. I have found success if you provide feedback on what people have done well as that helps them do more of that behavior.
Laura Lunsford, PhD
0
0
Associate Professor, Psychology at University of Arizona
Forgive my first two sentences (Dragon Dictate!). I meant to write: People management is one of the most important tasks to ensure success in an organization. I'm glad you asked this question.
Rick Feldman
0
0
Rick Feldman Advisor
CEO at Universal Quality Machine LLC
Formal feed-back, performance reviews, evaluations, informal feed-back, feed-back-loops: this is all about communications within an enterprise, and all the evidence I know of strongly supports the notion that any enterprise regardless of size will collapse if sound, fluid, open, honest, continual, and persistent communications are not fully established and practiced. As organizations grow, communication channels become more complex, and each person's meaningful communications arena becomes more local (departmental, work group or team, etc.). Even then, the more open and constant the information flow from all levels to all other levels, the better. One of our country's space flights blew up at launch, killing several astronauts; remember the infamous "O-Rings"? At the root of that catastrophe was poor communications between shop-floor engineers and upper level decision makers. There are, unfortunately, thousands of similar stories. Do it all: as an enterprise leader, your responsibility is to perfect internal communications, be honest and direct and immediate while also employing sound HR practices (periodic reviews, use of "360" evaluations for yourself and other team leaders, etc.). Walk around, take notice, ask questions, talk. The path to sustained profitability is paved with communications.
Stevan Vigneaux
0
0
Stevan Vigneaux Advisor
Director of Product Management and Marketing at Mimio
Positive feedback should be an ongoing and continuous stream. Never fawning, never false praise, never praise for just doing the job. But if you have the right people working for you opportunities for praise will abound. You will never lack for opportunities to praise.

Negative feedback should be rare, if you have the right people that will be the norm. But it ought be clear, specific, and clearly related to business goals and performance.

"Clearly related to business goals and performance" can include attitude, personality issues when it affects the work environment, accuracy, meeting timelines, being a team player, "using "I" far more often than "we," and all those other "soft" attributes that are nonetheless important, particularly when the team is small.

Positive feedback should be public. Few things encourage people more than being praised in front of their peers and bosses.

Negative feedback should always be private, though with a witness if it is "danger zone" feedback.

And when you mess up by not praising enough or by criticizing wrongly, and you surely will, apologize publicly. That kind of modeling brings long-term crucial cultural benefits while reminding us of our mortality and fallibility.

Stevan

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