How to Provide Feedback During an Employee’s First Year

Praising your new employees does not have to wait until a yearly performance review. Here’s how to provide regular feedback for new hires.

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How to Provide Feedback During an Employee’s First Year

Here's what you need to know:

  • Consistent, constructive feedback during an employee's first year can set them up for long-term success
  • Feedback should be concise and specific
  • Chip in suggestions on how improvements can be made
  • Never demean your workers or offer critique publicly
  • Show appreciation or criticism based on employees' performance and not their personality
  • Conversations should be a two-way street between the manager and the employee

New hires tend to begin their jobs with a wave of excitement and positivity. They’re excited about projects and tasks and eager to take on work. The trick for every organization is to figure out how to help these hires keep up this mindset.

Feedback is one way to keep this excitement up, especially when dealing with new hires. Consistent, constructive feedback during the first year can go a long way toward setting new employees on track for long-term success.

Why regular feedback during the first year is important

Employee feedback is a highly effective tool. It has the potential to build and develop your organization’s personnel, boost levels of trust and communication, and strengthen ties between employees and management if delivered appropriately. It’s especially important during an employee’s first year because this is a crucial time for the employee to acclimate to your organization’s philosophy and expectations.

Here are a few specific reasons why regular employee review during the first year is important.

It creates an honest and open environment

New employees are far more likely to respond in the same way if they believe their coworkers and management will be honest with them. Employees are more likely to make mistakes in their first year of employment. Knowing that the management (and their coworkers, if necessary), will be honest with them and provide necessary feedback will make them bolder and more likely to take the initiative in their work.

Productivity of new hires increases

New employees often bring plenty of excitement and new ideas to the table. Providing good feedback rather than shutting them down or ignoring them allows your new hires to improve on their ideas instead of discarding them.

You never know where the next big idea for your company will come from. Play-Doh started as a soap-making company but switched to making toys thanks to a suggestion from an employee’s sister-in-law. Remember that employees are a lot more productive when they feel they are working on their own ideas rather than what is imposed on them.

Employees will feel valued

For new hires, recognition is important. Research on employee feedback from OfficeVibe says 43% of highly engaged employees get weekly feedback, compared to 18% of less engaged employees. Celebrating your new hire’s achievements goes a long way in making them feel valued. This will increase employee satisfaction and reduce your turnover rate.

43% of highly engaged employees get weekly feedback, compared to 18% of less engaged employees.

Types of feedback

Feedback usually comes in three forms: appreciation, evaluation, and coaching.

  • Appreciation is the act of recognizing and praising someone for outstanding performance. It brings people together and motivates them. Appreciating your employees is a way of providing an emotional reward for a job well done. It can also come in the form of physical rewards.
  • Evaluation is the process of assessing a person against set criteria in order to match expectations and guide decision-making. Employee review forms can provide a helpful way to systematically evaluate performance.
  • Coaching is concerned with assisting people in broadening their skill sets and knowledge. It usually entails one-on-one sessions focused on improving specific aspects of an employee’s performance.

Together, these forms of feedback create a process that helps you appreciate your employees while also providing constructive criticism and helping them through the learning curve.

How to provide feedback for new employees

There are employee review guidelines that you should follow when providing feedback for new hires.

Be specific

Feedback should be concise and specific. The entire point of feedback is to help identify problems, offer solutions, and praise or acknowledge a job well done. If you’re looking to offer corrections, specificity is important. You cannot simply say “I am not happy with your work” or “ You need to improve.” Be more specific.

Don’t forget to chip in suggestions on how improvements can be made. It shows that you are not only pinpointing problems, but you care enough to offer solutions. This helps your new hires feel like you’re in their corner and their development matters to you.

Don’t focus too much on corrective feedback, though. Balance critique with praises and positive feedback so they are aware of what they’re doing well and motivated to work on what they can improve.

Always keep criticism private

Never demean your workers offer critique publicly. This is especially important for new hires as they are still learning your company’s culture and trying to feel comfortable. If you want to reduce the turnover ratio of your organization, then offer criticism privately. You might also think about providing written feedback to your employees. This will give you time to think and respond more thoughtfully.

Feedback can sometimes be unpleasant for both the giver and the receiver. You can help relieve some of the underlying pressure by moving the meeting to a more informal setting.

Concentrate on performance rather than personality

This is particularly important in today’s world. All employees — and especially new hires — should know that their feedback is not based on who they are. Focus on results and show appreciation or criticism based on employees’ performance and not their personality. This helps ensure your employee feedback is inclusive and unbiased. Before they can give you their best work, employees need to know that they are welcome, regardless of their personality.

Solicit a dialogue

Conversations shouldn’t be a one-way street between the manager and the employee receiving feedback. Make room for a dialog. New hires can have particularly valuable perspectives on the organization since they haven’t been entrenched in it for years.

Employees may get defensive if they feel you’re not open to their perspective or that you only want to critique them. Pose questions to employees and encourage them to discuss how they might improve and what they enjoy about their jobs. You can also urge them to develop their career objectives for themselves.

Make feedback a priority from the beginning

Feedback is a core aspect of employee management and is especially important when dealing with new employees. The first year for any employee is a critical time for professional development and learning your workplace culture and expectations. Make ongoing feedback a key part of your new hire template plan. Be sure you have plenty of room for constructive, open employee feedback right from the start.

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