Feedback has a bad reputation because it’s often mistaken for evaluation, and a lot of companies do treat it that way. But the feedback process is meant to be an enriching, two-way discussion that informs and teaches; it neither judges nor criticizes.
Done right, a constructive feedback process provides opportunities for improvement and growth—both for employers and employees. It is an effective tool to improve employee satisfaction because it reinforces the value of an individual as part of a whole. Also, it realigns people with their personal goals, as well as the common goal of a company.
Here are some ways that managers can improve the feedback process to increase employee satisfaction:
Nurture a Safe and Open Environment
Employees who don’t feel safe about sharing and receiving feedback can make the process a waste of time. Without honest insight and a receptive mindset, it can be hard to solve problems and identify points for improvement.
So managers must nurture a safe environment that puts importance on the feedback process so that lines of communication are open. This will also help encourage team development.
Feedback shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Managers should regularly check in and provide feedback to employees, not just when a problem happens. Make sure to follow up a few days or weeks later, as well, to make sure that the feedback has been addressed.
Ensure Anonymity and Confidentiality
Ensure feedback about employees is confidential, i.e. shared only with them. If they have insights about the workplace, especially negative ones, guarantee that it will be used as a point of improvement.
Employees who do not wish to be identified as the source of a complaint should have their privacy respected. These suggestions can help employees feel more secure about airing their ideas.
Focus on Performance
Feedback should always focus on performance—never about personality nor personal preferences. You are here to talk about how the person is doing their job or how the company is providing an environment conducive to productivity. Don’t criticize; focus, instead, on objective observations.
Review the points of feedback that you want to give and make sure to deliver them in a way that can’t be construed as a dig on a person’s characteristics. You can do this by framing issues as cause-and-effect situations. Additionally, avoid giving unsolicited advice.
Feedback isn’t always straightforward. There may be layers behind the performance or reception of an employee, so managers must approach the feedback process with a bit of empathy. Although it’s important to be firm and professional, you must still be understanding and approachable.
Recognize and Reward Good Work
Though it’s mostly to help employees improve, the feedback process is also an opportunity to recognize and reward good work. Managers should take the time to praise their employees for high performance and delivered targets, reinforcing a sense of value in the experience.
Provide Opportunities for Improvement
The feedback process is useless if it fails to result in concrete action plans. Once you’ve pinpointed points for improvement, provide opportunities for employees to make themselves better and grow. These can be new measures for success, training, or whatever the employee feels he or she needs to improve their job efficiently.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback is a two-way street. Employees should also be given the floor to express what they feel that their company or managers can do better. During this time, be open-minded and listen to what your employees have to say. A lot of them may have great ideas that can improve the work environment. They’ll also expect accountability, so make sure you follow through on any promises made.
The feedback process is a chance for managers and employees to have an honest and constructive conversation to help each other improve and grow. So it’s crucial, especially for managers, to create a non-judgmental atmosphere and hear all employees out, from managers to virtual assistants.
In addition, managers should create a process to make employees feel valued and to realign their focus on their and the company’s professional growth. A good feedback process improves employee satisfaction and, in turn, can increase productivity and drive better results for your company.