Feedback benefits both companies and workers. Here’s how to foster constructive and positive communication among your staff members.
Here's what you need to know:
- Asking for employee feedback can contribute to their level of engagement
- Set a schedule to encourage employees to speak up on a consistent basis
- Feedback can relate to a recent event or employee performance
- Examples of continuous communication in all professional situations include general, informal, formal, and specific feedback
- The best way to establish trust is to balance positive and negative feedback, and don’t make the feedback personal
Every relationship should start with excellent communication. Hearing the needs and expectations of the people you spend the most time with is essential to fostering an equal partnership. This can pave the way to a long-lasting relationship.
And employee feedback is no different.
Your workforce puts in hours of their energy into ensuring the company they work for thrives. This is especially true if all your employees are working toward the same goal. But, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel hesitant about giving their feedback and asking for what they want out of each other.
If you’re hoping to build an agile and responsive team, let’s explore why feedback could be the foundation of a bright future for your business and the employees that make it run.
Why is feedback important for business and employers?
Globally, only 20% of employees feel engaged in their workplace, according to a 2022 Gallup study. When employers value employee satisfaction, everyone at the company feels like they’re working toward the same goal. Each individual feels supported as each as they reach for their objectives. Asking for employee feedback (both by the employer and the employee) can contribute to their level of engagement.
Businesses are moving, updating, and shifting all the time. Everyone in a company is getting hit with new information every day that can make employees feel disconnected. That’s why communication is key. It closes the loop between their to-do list and their goals.
Providing feedback also doesn’t need to wait until a yearly performance review. Set a schedule to encourage employees to speak up on a consistent basis. This will create a more honest and open environment, improve productivity, and help employees feel more valued. This goes a long way for setting employees and leadership teams up for long-term success.
Communication should be a 2-way street
Feedback can come in many forms. It should always be productive, yet can come across as negative depending on what the colleague is experiencing. It can happen among peers in the workplace or coworkers at different seniority levels.
Set up a system for feedback and ensure that you’re getting the most up-to-date information and that you’re covering the points both parties need to meet. Feedback can relate to a recent event, or be regularly related to employee performance.
When should companies ask for employee feedback?
Company changes can bring on a host of opportunities for communication. It allows you to listen to how your employees or colleagues are feeling and assess any action items to meet their needs. This can speed up the learning process and ensure all parties are on the same page moving forward.
Management often held the reins for what came next in a business for a long time. However, employers who provide feedback to their employees are more likely to keep them engaged regardless of the shifts that occur in the company.
There are many types of feedback systems you can put in place. Here are some examples of continuous communication in all professional situations:
Setting up feedback times is a great way to check in with each other. Throughout the year, you can get a pulse check for each other’s goals and observations to set up a path for how to move forward. This can happen as often as necessary and at times that work best for all parties.
Informal feedback is key to boosting employee engagement. This could be weekly one-on-ones or monthly meetings to realign with the overall goals of each individual.
These could involve wage increases and map the path toward promotions. This can be as general or as pointed as you want such as through Slack messaging, emails, or video calls.
Each year an employee is at the company, management should set up formal feedback meetings. Both parties can express their needs and requests for each other. It could involve human resources to document the interaction and set benchmarks of progress.
In the case of big company changes such as a merger or management transitions, specific feedback can generate a helpful understanding of what’s to come. This way, every employee can get their needs met while aligning with the new launch. Specific feedback can ensure faster transitions into company-wide developments.
Employee feedback can not only show your employees you care about their input, but can help you design a transition period around their needs. For example, with new management coming in, big shifts could occur.
If this new executive is not aware of what their employees need to be successful, workers can feel disengaged and unmotivated to contribute. Open feedback and communication can bridge this gap.
Similarly, giving feedback to an employee can help them understand what it is that they’re doing well, and what they could improve on. You could show appreciation for their hard work and realign if their work seems off-center from the overall company goal.
How to give constructive feedback to an employee
Providing constructive feedback to your colleague or employee can be a sensitive place to be in. The most important part of this exchange is establishing trust. You could create a baseline for communication. Otherwise, without trust, the feedback may not land with the recipient and they may not be able to put the words into action.
The best way to establish trust is to balance positive and negative feedback.
The best way to establish trust is to balance positive and negative feedback. This can let them know that you believe in their potential, appreciate their work, and recognize their abilities. With trust, you can also build a foundation for future open communication.
You may also go into the conversation after observing certain behaviors and patterns. Giving the recipient of the feedback a chance to explain themselves and tell their side of the story offers the floor for more honest answers.
How to give workers specific feedback
Furthermore, you need to be specific with your feedback. If the communication is based on a specific event or you want to ensure you’re both coming away from the conversation on the same page, you should give examples of where you’re seeing room for improvement.
For instance, you may have seen them produce incredible graphics, but the colors or message may not align well with the client. This balances both positive and negative feedback that validates the employee’s hard work, yet gives them a specific example of how it may be missing the mark.
You want to ensure your feedback is coming in promptly before the employee spends more energy on producing work that isn’t exactly what you want.
Finally, don’t make the feedback personal. No matter what role this person holds, everyone feels stressed or overwhelmed at times. This could cause them to miss the mark on a project or interaction. You should never make an assumption about their character.
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Feedback fosters employee engagement with companies
If you want to establish a functioning, agile business flow, employee engagement is the best way forward. Despite changes within your company or teams, establishing an open-door policy of feedback can ensure a well-run business flow.
At Zenefits, we give you the perfect platform to manage all your HR, payroll, and benefits tasks. Our employee performance management module can set your teams up with simple benchmarking and communication any time, anywhere.