What Drives Employee Engagement? Part 5: Sharing Feedback

Posted by April

Sep 12, 2013 8:53:00 AM

For the last part of the Employee Engagement Series, I want to talk about the importance of sharing feedback and progress regularly to employees and managers. While it is not unusual to see negative or aggressive feedback in the workplace, I will encourage you to approach feedback in a more positive manner. I understand that sometimes team members screw up, but if you take the time to put your concerns in a different, more positive perspective, then more people will oblige to feedback.

First of all, how do you give feedback? It’s very important when giving feedback to identify what was done, how it was done, and give a reason it is important. (Or if trying to help a colleague improve, instead of giving a reason why it is important, give them a piece of advice or knowledge that will help them improve).

For example, “John, I see you completed your new project. The way you organized and delivered your findings was great. It definitely sold well to our new clients.” That’s one way of giving positive feedback. John was approached and given feedback on a job well done with his presentation to a new client.

On the other hand, when something was not completed correctly, there has to be a way to communicate that to employees and managers as well. “Sue, thank you for getting the paperwork completed for our new clients. All the information was there, but it wasn’t delivered to them in a user friendly manner. How about I show you the way we usually organize the documents so clients feel more comfortable and you can sort and file the information in a more efficient way in the future?”

With this, Sue can learn from what went wrong and take something positive away from the situation. She was thanked first (positive) and then offered knowledge from a colleague that would help her make things less cumbersome for both the clients and herself in future dealings.

So that’s the basic groundwork of giving feedback. Use that in the workplace to approach and communicate to others their strengths and areas that need improvement. But remember, try to make it positive! Because as we have learned in previous posts, a positive workplace is a happy workplace!!

To all the managers out there, research has shown that when you ask for feedback from your employees, they tend to be more engaged in the workplace. From Forbes, here are the statistics on feedback and employee engagement:

  • 29% employee engagement when a manager neither asks for or gives feedback
  • 34% employee engagement when a manager doesn’t ask, but gives feedback
  • 48% employee engagement when a manager asks for and doesn’t give feedback
  • 74% employee engagement when a manager asks for and gives feedback

(www.forbes.com, “Workplace Feedback: Tis Better to Give Than to Receive”)

That means as a manager, you need to be engaged and involved in your employees work. Obviously as a leader, you are there to offer feedback when an employee does something great, but you are also there to provide employees with guidance as necessary. Asking employees conveys a feeling of respect and it increases the level of communication between manager and employee.

Employees, you can give your colleagues feedback too. That is an important part of the previous post about having an encouraging support system at work, so give timely and specific feedback to your peers for a positive, happy office space.

Employees and managers both should be constructive with feedback, as it shows recognition on what others are doing well and what could use improvement. Just remember you’re trying to help someone, not hurt them. Give feedback on the successes and strengths of the day, even if they are small.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Russ Lidstone, CEO of creative agency Havas Worldwide London:

"When times are tough, there can be a tendency to focus on what needs improving. What I’ve been trying to do is create a more positive framework for feedback within the agency – taking time to ask what’s good what’s been achieved today and to recognize and bolster employees and colleagues.”

(www.fastcocreate.com, “Happiness Mean Creativity: One Company’s Bet On Positive Psychology”)

Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, Talent Management