Culture

Employment Feedback Handbook 2021: What, Why, How and Much More

Table of contents

  1. Understanding the employment feedback lifecycle
  2. Importance of employee feedback to manager and back
  3. Types of employment feedback
  4. Top 15 employee feedback questions
  5. Employment feedback: Best Practices
  6. Take employment feedback to the next level with SuperBeings

Managers and business leaders are perennially in the process of identifying tools and practices to boost employee engagement. However, constructive employment feedback is generally out of the picture. Put simply, employment feedback or employee feedback is having a constructive discussion with your employees and team members about what is working and what is not. 

Statistically speaking, employment feedback has a direct impact on engagement and performance. Research shows 43% of highly-engaged employees receive employment feedback at least once a week. Additionally, 75% of employees prefer their feedback as early as possible. A culture of employment feedback opens up the gates for two-way communication, leading to greater understanding, synergies and collaboration. 

Understanding the employment feedback lifecycle

More often than not, managers see employment feedback as a unidirectional process. It is understood as a process where a manager evaluates employee performance and offers feedback on the same with a way forward for improvement. However, if you closely look at the employment feedback lifecycle, you will come across three major components, each of which has its own value.

Performance evaluation

The employment feedback lifecycle begins with evaluating the performance of an individual as well as the team as a whole. Performance evaluation can be undertaken using several practices like measuring key performance indicators, achieving targets, etc. Following a few parameters, managers can evaluate how well the employee has been able to perform as well as identify areas of improvement. Performance evaluation must entail a self-reflection exercise as well to understand the evaluation of performance by employees themselves. 

Giving feedback to employees 

Next step in the employment feedback lifecycle is giving feedback to the employees based on highlights of performance evaluation. The objective is to offer constructive feedback on what worked and what didn’t work. Simply, saying your performance could have been better will not suffice. Managers must spend adequate time on offering feedback to each employee highlighting their strengths as well as areas to work on. Additionally, managers should explore offering employees with the resources, guidance or direction on how they can work on the areas mentioned. Feedback is not only about identifying areas of improvement, but also identifying ways and means to improve based on experience of the managers. 

Receiving feedback from employees

Most managers believe that the employment feedback lifecycle ends at the above-mentioned second step. However, this third step which involves seeking feedback from employees is equally important. This involves empowering and encouraging employees to share their side of the story. This should not only be limited to their performance and what worked for them and what did not. Rather, it should entail constructive feedback for the manager as well as the team as a whole. Each employee should be given an opportunity to voice what they perceived worked and what are the areas of improvement on an organizational, manager, team and individual level. This particular step holds great importance when it comes to engaging employees and making them feel valued. 

Importance of employee feedback to manager and back

Now that we have an understanding of the various components of employment feedback, let’s understand why employment feedback to managers matters and vice versa. 

Need for employment feedback to managers

There are several reasons why creating a culture of sharing employee feedback to managers makes sense, including:

1. Gauge employee pulse

Get an understanding of what the employees feels and perceives about the organizations and the manager and address any challenges

2. Create an open culture

Ensure that employees feel free to share their views and perspectives and organizational hierarchy doesn’t stand in the way of open communication

3. Facilitate accountability

Promote a culture where everyone is accountable for their actions and to everyone in the team, irrespective of the position

4. Increase in engagement and value

Facilitate greater engagement as employees feel valued when their opinions and feedback is being taken seriously

Thus, employment feedback to managers ensures that employees feel more connected with the organizations with an increased sense of belongingness. 

Need for manager feedback to employees

Similarly, there are multiple benefits of creating a culture of feedback with managers providing the same to their team members, such as:

1. Clarify expectations and path ahead

Helps employees understand where they are going wrong and gives them the chance to perform better

2. Facilitate individual and organizational health

Allows employees to play on their strengths and work on their weaknesses to boost their performance and bring in greater productivity

3. Decreased attrition

A study by Gallup showed that turnover rates are 14.9% lower in employees who receive feedback than those who don’t 

4. Opens up conversations and communication

Promotes great relationship building that enables managers to understand employee personality and ensure effective mentoring and guidance

Therefore, constructive feedback from managers to employees facilitates greater productivity, engagement, relationship building and retention, promoting organizational growth and success. 

Types of employment feedback

At the first glance it seems that there are just two types of employment feedback, positive or negative. However, on a closer look it becomes clear that there are several types of employment feedback based on the nature, scope, frequency, etc. While the list can go on, we will talk about the key employment feedback types that most forward looking organizations have adopted:

360* Feedback

This is an all-encompassing form of employment feedback from across all stakeholders on all parameters. For a 360* feedback, managers generally take performance evaluation for a particular employee across all aspects to get a comprehensive view. This involves getting feedback from different team members, other managers, and a few key stakeholders in the organization. The idea is to get feedback from superiors, juniors as well as peers to identify strengths and weaknesses and lead the way for improvement. 

Continuous vs Annual Feedback

Amongst the various types of employment feedback, one factor lies in the frequency of the feedback. 

Conventionally, organizations and managers have relied on an annual feedback mechanism. In such a case, employees are given feedback and the chance to share their feedback too once a year based on the annual performance. While this form of feedback is less time consuming and more holistic, it deters incremental growth and implementation of corrective measures in an agile manner. 

More recently, organizations are progressing towards continuous feedback mechanisms where employees receive and offer feedback on a regular basis. There is no need to wait for the year to end for managers and employees to share their opinions, reviews and feedback and identify areas and ways of improvement.

Reinforcing vs Redirecting Feedback

Finally, in the types of employment feedback, our last focus is on the objective or the nature of feedback. For most people this resembles positive or negative feedback. However, it takes the whole idea a step further to make it more constructive and result oriented. 

Reinforcing feedback is on a positive note where the aim is to encourage the employee to continue what he or she has been doing. This generally comes after a performance evaluation which has shown positive results indicating that things are going well. In a way, it aims at reinforcing the actions being undertaken.

Redirecting feedback, on the other hand, comes to the picture when a manager wants to offer negative feedback. However, simply stating that this is not working out is self-defeating. Therefore, redirecting feedback aims to highlight the challenges in the current state of work as well as identifying and sharing corrective measures. 

Top 15 employee feedback questions

To make employment feedback effective, organizations and managers need to ask the right questions. The below mentioned questions are primarily from an employee’s point of view to capture their feedback on their performance, as well as on different managerial and organizational factors.

Personal reflection

  • How would you rate your performance during the last year?
  • What are the major responsibilities that you take care of?
  • What have been the top 3 achievements for you in the past year?
  • What are the skills you have acquired in the year gone by?
  • What do you want to change/improve about yourself as well as the work you do? 

Leadership satisfaction

  • Would you agree that your manager has contributed to your personal or professional growth in the last year? If yes, how?
  • If you were leading the project, what would you do differently?
  • Do you feel confident and comfortable enough to voice your opinion with your manager?
  • Do you feel comfortable sharing feedback about your manager?
  • How would you rate the leadership in terms of offering support that you seek?

Organizational focus

  • What are some processes that you think can be improved?
  • If you were running the organization, what is the one thing you would do differently?
  • How often do you receive/offer feedback to individuals beyond your team?
  • What could the organization do to create a better experience for you?
  • How would you rate your level of satisfaction from the organization?

Employment feedback: Best Practices

With a firm understanding of the importance, types, questions, etc. of employment feedback, it’s now time to explore the best practices. We will cover the best practices to offer employment feedback, followed by a few examples for greater clarity. Next, we will highlight the best practices on how to gather and leverage feedback from employees. 

How to give feedback to employees

Let’s start with how managers should give feedback to their team members to ensure it is effective and meaningful.

Be straightforward

Don’t beat around the bush. Directly come to the point on what worked and what are the areas of improvement. While it is important to set the context, don’t waste time in random conversations.

Be specific

Keep the feedback to the point and be constructive with examples. When you are mentioning what didn’t work, offer a course that might have been better and how one can improve. Be very clear in what your expectations are.

Be open to conversation

Offer feedback with an open mindset to hear their side of the story. Actively listen to what the employee has to say and then respond accordingly. Don’t simply stick to the feedback you have prepared. Customize according to the situation.

Be regular

Offering feedback once a year is not enough. Offer feedback regularly and follow up on the actions suggested. Take a review of the feedback offered before and gauge the improvements before providing the next feedback.

Employee feedback examples

Here are a few statements that you can use to start your feedback sessions which ensure effectiveness:

  • I believe you are really good at ‘xyz’ and you can further hone your skills with ‘abc’
  • I think your performance during <particular incident> was remarkable, keep it up
  • I believe your strength lies in <particular task> and you should focus on the same more
  • Your performance on <area of strength> was good, however, you may want to focus more on <area of weakness>. I would suggest <some corrective measures>
  • I believe that you are struggling with <area of weakness>, you should consider <improvement tips> to step up your game
  • I think a little more focus on <area of weakness> can help you take your performance and growth to the next level

How to gather employment feedback

In the next leg, let’s focus on how organizations and managers can gather and collect feedback from employees to facilitate an open culture.

Surveys

Floating regular surveys is a way to gauge employee sentiment. From pulse to annual, managers can explore different ways and questions to understand what employees feel.

Suggestion box

Creating an anonymous suggestion box for employees to share what they feel can be improved and what they appreciate.

1-o-1 sessions

Encouraging closed room conversations with employees to understand their specific challenges and grievances.

How to benefit from employee feedback

In the last section of the best practices, let’s quickly explore how to benefit from feedback gathered from employees.

1. Actively listen

Ensure that you really listen to the employment feedback and don’t take it as a mere tick in the box. Try to understand the concern and make mental or physical notes.

2. Don’t react instantly

Don’t get defensive on the feedback instantly and don’t take offence if something negative is shared. Take it in the spirit of growth and action on the challenges.

3. Ask questions

Try to get to the route of the problem. Ask follow-up questions to truly understand what the feedback means and how the employee proposes to address the same.

4. Share the next steps

Create a list of action items and share with the employees on how you seek to implement the feedback. Once implemented, share the progress made at regular intervals.

Take employment feedback to the next level with SuperBeings

By now it is evident that employment feedback is a critical part of creating an empowering and positive employee experience. To facilitate the same, organizations must start by gauging employee pulse to understand their sentiment. Learn how SuperBeings can help you gauge employment feedback in the most effective manner with pulse surveys. Furthermore, SuperBeings can empower you with actionable insights to predict employee turnover, address the reasons for low productivity, calculate the cost of turnover and boost engagement. 

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