Top 27 Virtual Team Building Activities for Remote Teams: Promote Remote Employee Engagement

Virtual team building activities are crucial to engage and develop a remote workforce. Explore the top 27 remote team building activities to try today


min read

Team building is one of the most effective investments that organizations can make in their people practices. For one, it definitely augments engagement in the workplace which has a direct impact on productivity and performance. Statistically speaking, 75% employers rate teamwork and collaboration as very important, which is a direct outcome of team building. At the same time, 86% employees believe that a lack of collaboration is what leads to workplace failures. 

While there is no doubt that team building is vital for organizational success, the transition to remote work is definitely adding challenges in the way. Thus, most organizations today are augmenting their capabilities to spearhead and run virtual team building activities in an attempt to ensure seamless collaboration and engagement, albeit remotely.

What are remote team building activities?

Virtual team building or remote team building activities are a set of efforts and initiatives that an organization undertakes to bring remote teams together. It is natural for team members to feel isolated and disconnected with one another in a remote setting. This negatively impacts productivity, engagement, morale as well as motivation. Therefore, remote team building activities aim to bridge the gap by leveraging the digital media to facilitate deeper relationships in the workplace. 

Why do you need virtual team building?

Why an organization needs to focus on virtual team building is an oft repeated question. The need for virtual team building arises from the fact that as individuals we have an inherent need for belongingness and interaction, which takes a back seat in a remote setting. More often than not, the physical distance of working remotely turns into emotional distance where employees start feeling isolated. This leads to a drop in a sense of belongingness and engagement at work. 

The objective of digital team building activities is to foster seamless collaboration between coworkers and create an empowering environment of support and positive relationships. Invariably, virtual team building activities are not only aimed at augmenting workplace productivity, but they also facilitate employee wellbeing, in a situation of complete isolation. 

How to start virtual team building activities?

Initially, the shift to a remote workforce was considered to be a temporary measure and organizations did not brainstorm on virtual team building activities. However, now it seems to be the new normal and increasingly organizations are realizing that normal video calls may not be the most effective tool to drive team building. More often than not, normal calls end up as a buffer time for employees to finish other chores on mute and video off, putting in almost negligible effort towards virtual team building. In the same light, there are a few efforts that organizations can explore to make virtual team building a possibility. While we will discuss specific activities in detail in a later section, this will give organizations a macro view of the initiatives that can be planned:

Everyday Rituals

The morning chit chats on reaching office before one gets down to the business of the day were one of most effective means to boost team building. It gave the employees a chance to learn about their coworkers beyond what they do at work. As a part of virtual team building, many organizations are setting up these simple everyday rituals which include an early morning interaction before work. It includes discussing ‘what they cooked last night, or which series or show they are binge watching or which is their latest read’. The idea is to have regular touchpoints beyond work which prompt bonding.

Virtual Icebreakers

Icebreakers have been a fun tool for organizations to encourage employees to get to know one another before working together. With the rise of a remote workforce, virtual icebreakers are gaining weight. These are important to facilitate virtual team building and prompt strong workplace relationships. Virtual icebreakers can include activities like two truths and a lie where employees share three statements about themselves, two are true and one is not. Others have to make the right guess. At the same time, there can be rapid fire questions or other activities like clicking a picture of your work desk, among others. Such icebreakers would help employees overcome the awkwardness of engaging with one another and encourage them to explore mutual interests. 

Gaming Tournaments 

Another effective tool for virtual team building is hosting gaming tournaments. Organizations can invest time and effort to create virtual teams and have gaming sessions of Ludo, PUBG or any others that employees fancy. This would promote teamwork and collaboration in an unconventional manner. At the same time, hosting virtual scavenger hunts can be fun. Employees will have to work in teams and navigate their way to the final treasure. It would be a good idea to add greater incentive for participation by showcasing winner rewards.

Fun Sessions 

While most organizations are investing in conducting virtual training and knowledge webinars, hosting fun sessions can also boost virtual team building. These activities could range from Zumba and dance to origami. At the same time, hosting stand up comedy or live music concerts can boost team engagement. It would actually be a good idea to leverage inputs from icebreakers to identify the interests of your employees and plan sessions that would generate curiosity. Not only will this add to the entertainment quotient, but will also strike conversations and relationship building among employees who have an affinity towards the sessions conducted. 

Top 17 team building activities for conference calls

As we now understand the macro level activities and initiatives that can be explored, let’s move into specific team building activities for conference calls and online games for virtual teams. 

1. Virtual Murder Mystery

Virtual murder mystery or any other online mystery game is a great way for remote team building. Here team members are divided into small groups and are given access to a platform. There are a number of platforms online which provide these games for a small cost. Different teams receive the same clues which they have to solve with their respective team members to unravel the murderer or the mystery. While it is deeply engaging and engrossing, it also encourages people to collaborate with one another and acknowledge the strengths of different team members. 

2. Virtual Offsite

In conventional times, offsites were the prime time when employees got to know each other better and unwind from work. While a physical offsite looks difficult in the near future, organizations can explore the idea of virtual tours together. There are multiple platforms out there that are offering guided trips to exquisite locations across the world at nominal charges. Your team can together visit the streets of Paris, Rome and London, while sitting in their rooms in their pajamas. This will give them a chance to take a break from work and learn about different places that they aspire to visit. 

3. Virtual Escape Room

Much like the virtual murder mystery, organizations can explore other online team building games, including virtual escape room. Like its physical version and like the name suggests, employees will be grouped into small teams and will find themselves locked in a room. They will have to explore different things in the room to find clues and solve them to actually find a way out. Not only is this a fun way to engage employees, it will also sharpen their critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

4. Aliens Have Landed

One of the final virtual team building activities that will not only promote engagement between employees but also a greater interest and affinity towards the organization is Aliens Have Landed. On a simple level, it is a group activity where a few employees come together and pretend that aliens have landed on Earth. They have to explain the organization to these aliens and have exactly 5 minutes. This will spark conversations among team members, for greater collaboration. At the same time, this would prompt delegation of responsibilities as some would focus on creating the pitch, others would focus on the design and pictures, and some others would deliver the pitch. On the one hand, it will  boost collaboration. On the other, it will help you understand how well your employees understand the organizations, its values and goals.

5. Guess Who With a Twist

We have all played ‘Guess Who’ during our childhood days where we pick a card and describe the person without taking the name while others guess who the person is. With a similar idea, organizations are reinventing the game to match their employees. Here each team member will try to describe another one in 5-6 sentences and the others have to make a guess. Not only will this create a lot of buzz and excitement, but will also help all team members understand how much others know about them and what impression they carry.

6. Share your Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list, a list of items they want to tick off in their lives or before they reach a certain age. Sharing a bucket list with one’s coworkers in a remote setting is something team members rarely engage in. Most of these discussions happened over coffee breaks, which do not exist in a remote setting. Therefore, it would be interesting to schedule a conference call to encourage team members to share the top 5 things on their bucket list. While this will help employees to get to know each other on a personal level, it will also facilitate bonding amongst those who share bucket lists. 

7.  Hobby Groups

Clubs and interest groups are a norm in a conventional workplace, where employees get together based on shared interests. However, transition to a remote workforce, has left behind these acts of togetherness and bonding. Organizations should focus on building virtual hobby groups where those who have similar interests can connect and collaborate. These groups can be over whatsapp or any collaboration platform like Slack, that employees are comfortable with. An upside of having such hobby groups is that gradually, they can also come up with interesting remote team building activities and conduct the same. 

8.  Two Truths and a Lie

Another fun activity to encourage team members to know more about one another and to facilitate bonding is two truths and a lie. The rules are simple, employees put down three points about themselves, out of which two are true and one is a lie. The person themselves or someone else from the team will read aloud those statements and others have to guess which one is a lie. In the end, the person reveals which one is actually a lie and those who guessed it right, score a point. 

9. Virtual happy Hour

While outings, team lunches and dinners were a norm during the old days, they have come to a standstill in the new normal. However, we may not be able to go out, but employees can still have happy hours together. Organizations can simply order some nice food items and drinks to be delivered to the homes of their team members, and everyone can enjoy a meal together over a video call, with random conversations and chitchats. 

10. Virtual Treasure Hunt

This virtual team building activity also takes everyone down the memory lane. Treasure hunts were almost a daily affair for everyone. So, why not take a stab at conducting the same virtually? The rules are simple. Those organizing the event can create a list of items that are generally available at every household and share a few items every few minutes while those participating have to search for those items and send a picture within the designated time. The one with the most pictures in the least time wins. There can be another twist to the game by encrypting the clues in riddles which employees have to solve and then find the item, click a picture and share. 

11. Pictionary

There are multiple platforms out there which organizations can explore to conduct this virtual team building activity at absolutely no cost. The process is simple, everyone logs onto the pre-decided platform and the platform automatically selects a team member and random and assigns a word. The selected participant has to use the virtual paintbrush to draw the word in the best way possible and others have to guess the same. The one who draws the best and guesses the most wins. 

12. Virtual Dance Off

Many employees miss dancing at office gatherings and events. Why not take dancing to their homes. Organizations can either conduct dance or zumba sessions for their employees by collaborating with some expert. At the same time, they can simply get a video from the internet and play it live for all team members, who must copy the steps. Not only will this be a great way to stay fit, but watching others and oneself performing steps in a goofy way will bring on a lot of laughter to the team. 

13. Guided Meditation

The uncertainty and ambiguity that has accompanied the last year has been stressful for almost everyone. Meditation has been one way that has helped individuals maintain their mental wellbeing. Taking cue from that, organizations can conduct guided meditation sessions to encourage their employees to learn about different aspects of meditation and focus on their wellbeing. 

14. Virtual Celebrations

Celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, etc. have been an integral part of team building for most organizations. It is often said that a team that celebrates together, stays together. Organizations must continue celebrating important milestones, albeit virtually. Simply sending a cake or a goodie basket along with a collective celebration over a conference call can make a lot of impact when it comes to boost employee morale and motivation. This will also enable team members to get to know each other more than just work and create long lasting bonds.  

15. What’s the Answer

Quizzes have always been a great tool to bring people together and facilitate interaction. Organizations can conduct virtual quizzes on different topics which can either be specific to their industry to ensure that team members are updated on the latest trends, or just for fun with random questions. One of the team members can be the quiz master, while others can participate. Some goodies or prizes for the winners will definitely boost participation for this virtual team building activity. 

16. GIF War

GIFs are the new thing in town and leveraging them as one of the tools for online team building games is definitely worth a try. Conducting a GIF is actually a piece of cake. The process is quite simple. All participants can connect over any collaboration or messaging platform and the one conducting the activity can share a random phrase or sentence, like ‘The cutest elephant’. Others have to send different GIFs which they feel describe the phrase shared the best. While this is no competition, it is sure to bring about many laughs on the table. 

17. Blind Origami

We are all aware of the Japanese paper folding art, Origami. However, in a virtual set up, organizations can add a twist to the ancient art form. The rules are easy to follow. Simply divide all employees in teams of two. Send a list of origami instructions to one of the team members and instruct the other one to collect the required material. Now the one with the instructions has to verbally explain the folding process to the other, to create the end product. On the one hand, it will be really fun to relive the childhood days. On the other hand, it will help gauge the communication level of team members, i.e. how well they are able to express their thoughts and how well the other one listens, comprehends and performs. 

Top 10 icebreakers for online team building activities

The above 17 virtual team building activities have been adopted by many organizations and have proven to deliver great results. However, many organizations also struggle with breaking the ice when team members join the calls. The result is awkward silence and a direct jump to the activity at hand. Fortunately, there are some amazing icebreaker questions that organizations can experiment with before conducting the online team building activities.

  1. What is the one superpower you wish you had?
  2. What has been your rose (positive) and thorn (negative) moment for today?
  3. Which is the best vacation you ever had?
  4. What was the last song you listened to?
  5. What was your last Google search?
  6. Would you rather have no internet or would you rather lose your phone?
  7. What did you want to become when you grew up (as a child)?
  8. Which historical figure would you like to meet?
  9. What is the one thing on your bucket list you want to check before the end of the year?
  10. What is your favorite food and drink? 

Best tools for virtual team building activities during quarantine

The secret to conducting virtual team building activities during quarantine in a way that ensures success lies in using the right platforms and tools. Simply using the same conference call platform to conduct all activities may not be the best way out. Here is a list of tools organizations can leverage:

For video conferencing

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Webex
  • Teams

For collaboration

  • Slack
  • Google Docs

For project management

  • Trello
  • Jira
  • Asana

For gauging employee pulse

  • SuperBeings

Taking the first step towards virtual team building activities

Mentioned above is a comprehensive list that organizations can leverage to refine their team building efforts and customize them for a remote workforce. However, before embarking on any of these activities, organizations must make an effort to gauge the employee pulse to understand the gaps that these activities need to bridge. Here, platforms like SuperBeings with their pulse surveys can help organizations gauge the level of engagement and areas of disconnect for employees. Based on these insights, the platform shares data-backed action steps for managers, aligned with industry standards and benchmarks for sustainable impact. As the scope and nature of work has changed in the remote setting, so have employee expectations about team building and engagement. Organizations need to stay on top of the new trends to attract, develop and retain the top talent.

Suggested Reading:

Challenges of working from home and how to overcome them

Managers can Prevent Work From Home Burnout

Find more tools to take your employee engagement to new heights, book a free demo today with Superbeings!

Sudeshna Roy

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hi There! I am Sudeshna. At SuperBeings, I lead our content strategy to bring you the best and latest on everything related to people management

Latest posts

min read

50+ Most Useful Employee Onboarding Survey Questions

‘Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time’ - George Bradt, founder and Chairman PrimeGenesis

Did you know that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%? 

However, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job at onboarding new employees. 

This clearly states that while employee onboarding has a direct impact on the bottom line, most organizations miss out on how to get it right. 

Don’t let that happen to you. To onboard new employees like a pro, keep reading.

What is an onboarding survey?

By definition, an onboarding survey is a questionnaire that is administered on new hires to gauge their initial experience and level of satisfaction, in an attempt to understand their engagement and retention potential. 

As an HR, you can get multiple insights from an onboarding survey, including:

  • what employees thought about the organization when they heard about it for the first time
  • how their impression changed over time 
  • whether or not their experience aligns with their expectations, etc.

It can help you estimate how long the employees are likely to stay and how you can further optimize your onboarding process to make it more aligned with employee expectations. 

Why are onboarding surveys important?

An effective onboarding survey can help you reflect on your performance through the onboarding process, which directly impacts KPIs for organizational success, including:

1. Retention

93% of employers believe a good onboarding experience is critical in influencing a new employee’s decision whether to stay with the company. At the same time, 25% of a company’s new hires would leave within a year if the onboarding experience was poor. 

2. eNPS

20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member and an onboarding survey can help you identify the reasons for the same. However, new team members who were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date also had a 79% increase in willingness to refer others. Thus, illustrating how onboarding surveys and feedback can impact eNPS.

Read: How to use eNPS for better employee engagement

3. Satisfaction and Engagement

Employees with exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace and 70% say they have ‘the best possible job’.

4. Performance

77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process were able to meet their first performance goals. However, 49% of individuals who failed to reach their first performance milestone had no official onboarding instruction. An onboarding survey can help you determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process.  

5. Other

In addition, your new employees might also have an inclination towards providing feedback as a part of the onboarding survey, which you will lose out if you don’t conduct the same. Research shows that only 26% of new employees recall being asked for feedback on their candidate journey and the hiring process before their start date wherein 91% of new hires are willing to provide this feedback. 

Employee onboarding survey: Best practices

Now that you understand the importance of an employee onboarding survey, let’s quickly discuss how to effectively run an onboarding survey. 

1. Set the cadence

You must coincide your employee onboarding survey with important milestones for the new employee in the organization. Mostly, these milestones coincide with the end of the first few months. Thus, you should circulate your onboarding survey after 30, 60 and 90 days respectively, with different objectives for each. Furthermore, you can send interim surveys in case you feel the need, for instance, when the employee starts a project, or when the orientation process is over. 

“Effective employee onboarding isn’t about swag, stickers, & company value pamphlets on their desk the 1st day. But, how you help them understand their goals & how co values are interwoven in operating are more important.”- Suhail Doshi, founder and chairman of Mixpanel, Inc.

2. Identify critical areas and build questions

Based on the milestones or cadence you have set up, it is important to identify areas you would want to cover with each milestone. For instance:

In the first 30 days, you should focus on themes like: 

  • Orientation process
  • Initial thoughts
  • Expectation alignment 
  • Recruitment process
  • Onboarding experience

In 60 days, you can touch on themes like:

  • Knowledge transfer
  • Level of engagement and satisfaction
  • Induction process

By the end of 90 days, focus should shift towards:

  • Manager support
  • Role clarity
  • Likelihood to stay
  • Organizational alignment

Once you have decided the themes, you can start building questions, a snapshot of which is covered in the next section or you can download the template now here. The themes can be fluid across milestones, depending on the context for your organization. 

3. Roll out the survey for participation

Once the milestone arrives, you should roll out the onboarding survey and drive participation. It is important to explain to your new employees why the onboarding survey is important and how they can fill it up. Give them the requisite time, deadlines and communicate what will be the next steps to encourage them to participate. 

4. Follow up

Simply rolling out the survey is not enough. You must reach out to your new employees to remind them to fill the onboarding survey as amidst numerous new things, they might lose track of it. Don’t push too hard, yet send subtle reminders to get genuine responses. For instance: employee survey tools such as SuperBeings integrate with chat tools like Slack, Teams, Gchat to send personalized nudges to fill out the survey in the flow of work at set intervals as well as allows them to participate directly without switching context. 

Unlock a wide array of survey questions and employee analytics. See how SuperBeings can help

5. Take action

Once your onboarding survey responses are in, slice and dice them to get insights into what your employees feel and leverage the data points to further refine your onboarding process to facilitate engagement, retention and advocacy from the beginning. 

Sample onboarding survey questions for 30-60-90 day review

Taking cue from the section above, here are 50+ onboarding survey questions that you can leverage to gauge the pulse of your new employees as they complete different milestones.

You can also download these questions as a template and use it whenever you need. Click here to download

1. Onboarding survey questions for 30 day review

a) Onboarding and orientation process

  1. How can we change or improve the onboarding process?
  2. What did you like most about the onboarding process?
  3. Was the orientation interactive and engaging?
  4. Did the onboarding process meet your expectations?
  5. Do you feel welcome and proud to be working here?
  6. How would you rate the duration and quality of your onboarding experience?
  7. How would you describe your first day?

b) Decision related questions

  1. What were the top 3 reasons for joining this company?
  2. Do you think those reasons have been met?

c) Technical training and knowledge transfer

  1. Have you received the training that you were promised during your induction?
  2. Did the training meet your expectations and was accurately described during the hiring process?
  3. Is the training relevant to your roles and responsibilities?
  4. Were adequate tools and materials shared during training to facilitate knowledge transfer?

2. Onboarding survey questions for 60 day review

a) Engagement related questions

  1. Would you recommend the company to others in your network?
  2. Do you see yourself working here in 2 years?
  3. Do you feel motivated to come to work in the morning?
  4. Do you feel prepared for your role?

b) Onboarding experience

  1. Did the first 30 days of onboarding go as expected?
  2. What is the one thing you would like to change from your experience so far?

c) Company policies

  1. Are you clear on the different company policies shared with you?
  2. Do you have any concerns about any of the policies that you would like to highlight?
  3. Do you think any policy is missing that you think must be a part of our governance?

d) Questions about team

  1. Have your team members been integral in smooth onboarding?
  2. Have you been able to connect and collaborate with all your team members?
  3. Do you consider your team members to be welcoming and inclusive?
  4. What is the thing you would like to change about how your team works currently?

e) Reflection questions

  1. Have you been able to achieve the goals you set out for your 60 days?
  2. How has your journey been so far?
  3. What has been your biggest accomplishment in 60 days?
  4. What are some achievements you would like to ensure in the next 30 days?

3. Onboarding survey questions for 90 day review

a) Role and expectation clarity

  1. Do you have an understanding of what is expected from you as a part of this role?
  2. Is your role similar to what was communicated to you during the hiring process?
  3. Do you have the necessary resources you need for the role?
  4. Do you have clarity of your goals?
  5. Do you understand how your work will be evaluated?
  6. Does your role meet your career aspirations?
  7. What do you think is the most difficult part about your role?
  8. What excites you most about your current role?
  9. Do you understand the importance of the work you do?

b) Organizational alignment

  1. Do your values align with the organizational values?
  2. Do you believe in the vision and mission of the organization?
  3. Do you believe your ideas are valued?
  4. Do you have clarity on the organization’s future plans and do you align with them?
  5. Do you see yourself as a part of this organization 5 years from now?

c) Manager support

  1. Have your conversations with the managers been effective?
  2. Does your manager support your career aspirations?
  3. Does your manager provide you with the necessary support to perform your role effectively?
  4. Do you receive regular feedback from your manager?
  5. Does your manager include you in key discussions, wherever applicable?

d) Other questions

  1. What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
  2. Do you feel your onboarding was successful?
  3. How can we help you in improving the overall experience?
  4. Do you feel included and accepted by everyone in the team?
  5. How do you see yourself progressing from here?
  6. Do you have access to all the information you need?

Wrapping up (TL:DR)

By now, it would be very clear to you that an employee onboarding survey can help you in multiple ways to create a high performance culture. It can enable you to augment retention, engagement, satisfaction and advocacy among employees to ensure that there is minimal turnover and you are able to attract high quality talent. Ensure that you roll out an onboarding survey at 30/60/90 days frequency to check onboarding experience, knowledge transfer, manager support, role clarity, etc. 

You should focus on other forms of employee feedback on culture, training and development opportunities, level of engagement, manager effectiveness, workplace collaboration, work-life balance, among others. 

Finally, you should focus on leveraging technology and automation to add efficiency and effectiveness to your onboarding survey and process. 

Research shows, automating onboarding tasks resulted in a 16% increase in retention rates for new hires.

Thus, consider partnering with a survey platform which enables you to:

  • Use science-backes best practices onboarding survey templates
  • Track employee milestones automatically and roll out surveys on due date with zero to minimal manual intervention 
  • Integrate surveys with existing chat tools for reminders and sending out survey questions
  • Use NLP for decoding sentiments behind open comments to understand the reason behind each response
  • Use other employee engagement surveys to get the whole picture of new hire engagement

Related Reading

How to use employee engagement survey comments

Best employee engagement survey tools in the market today

min read

How to Give Constructive Feedback? (With Examples)

When it comes to performance management for employees, you would agree that feedback plays an important role. However, only offering positive feedback and appreciating the performance of your employees is not enough. You need to give them an equal amount of constructive feedback which is specific to ensure high levels of performance. If you feel that your employees may not embrace constructive feedback, think again.

Research shows that 92% of people believe that constructive feedback is effective at improving performance.

In this article we will help you understand how you can give constructive feedback and examples you can leverage. 

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is essentially a tool that most forward looking professionals leverage to help others in their team with specific and constructive inputs on areas where one’s performance can be improved. Put simply, if you have an employee who doesn’t pay attention to detail, constructive feedback involves helping them acknowledge that this is a problem area, and more than that, enabling them with the support to overcome the same. It involves not only identifying a performance problem, but also, providing action items and ways to address the same. 

Importance of constructive feedback

Now that you have an understanding of what constructive feedback means, let’s quickly look at some of the top reasons why constructive feedback is important. Constructive feedback:

  • Improves performance: It enables your team members to understand how they can perform better with specific inputs on areas of improvement
  • Reinforces expectations: It helps your employees clearly gauge what is expected out of them in terms of performance, and sets clear deliverables and measurement parameters to avoid any surprises during performance appraisal
  • Boosts morale and confidence: It involves also appreciating employees for a job well done and illustrates how they can become a better version of themselves
  • Facilitates employee stickiness: It ensures that employees see your organization which cares about their professional growth and encourages them to stick around longer, and even act as advocates for others.

Positive feedback vs constructive feedback 

When delivering feedback, you must understand the difference between positive and constructive feedback and ensure that you use both of them where they fit the best. Here a quick distinction between positive feedback vs constructive feedback:

  • Positive feedback focuses on a job well done and highlights where an employee has excelled. Whereas, constructive feedback talks about areas of improvement and action items for desirable outcomes. 
  • While positive feedback seeks to reinforce the positive behavior, constructive feedback focuses more on facts and traits.
  • Positive feedback is a reflection of the past performance and doesn’t necessarily have a futuristic orientation, however, constructive feedback takes reference from the past to feed better performance in the future.  
  • “Your presentation during the board meeting was crisp and informative” is an example of positive feedback. Whereas, “While your presentation was informative, you can focus more on articulation to ensure that all your research is communicated in a way that everyone is able to understand. Using pointers can help here”, is an example of constructive feedback.
In a nutshell, positive feedback is a reinforcement tool, whereas constructive feedback is a mechanism to facilitate development. 

How to give constructive feedback

With an understanding of the fundamentals of constructive feedback, let’s quickly jump to the best practices which can help you deliver constructive feedback in a nuanced and effective manner. 

1. Decide when to give the constructive feedback

The first thing you need to focus on is ensuring that the timing of the constructive feedback is ideal. For instance, a busy period when the employee is putting in a lot of effort may not be ideal for giving them feedback about their performance from three months ago. At the same time, ensure that you provide constructive feedback regularly and consistently, to avoid recency or primacy bias. However, don’t offer feedback when you are angry about their performance either. 

2. Set the context and build trust

Before you get down to giving the feedback, set the tone. Share with the employee the purpose of the meeting and make them comfortable prior to sharing your reflections. It is important that you build trust so your employees can share their perspective and don’t feel intimidated by what you have to say. 

3. Share your reflections

Once the context and tone is set, start sharing your reflections. Your focus should be on sharing what you have observed about their performance. However, ensure that you also share how the same is likely to impact their career growth as well as organizational success. For instance, if you are providing constructive feedback about missing deadlines, you can use the impact of losing clients for the organization and a casual attitude marker for the employee.

4. Give specific examples

When sharing reflections, use specific examples of when you noticed a particular behavior. For instance, in the above example, you can share instances of when the employee missed his/her deadlines. Ensure that you use examples which illustrate a pattern, rather than a one off incident, which is very uncommon. Furthermore, always use concrete examples and not interpretation of what you hear or see.   

5. Balance positive and negative

With constructive feedback, your focus should be on helping the employee improve their performance and work on their areas of development.

However, simply pointing out their weaknesses or negatives in their performance will not help. You need to also talk about some of the positive aspects of their performance and how those qualities can help them absorb and implement their constructive feedback. 

6. Be empathetic

Emotional intelligence is extremely important when delivering constructive feedback. You cannot be apathetic towards your employee when delivering the same. Put yourself in their shoes to choose your phrases carefully. We will share some examples in the next section. Also, use your EQ to read the situation when you are delivering the feedback. If you see that the employee is getting uncomfortable, take a pause and comfort them first. Read their gestures and body language to ensure that the employee is not feeling attacked. 

7. Don’t make it personal

Like it or not, constructive feedback involves pointing out one’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. However, you should refrain from equating the performance of the employee with his/her personality or whole self. For instance, if someone misses deadlines, encourage them to be more organized or prioritize important work, than labeling them as a procrastinator. 

8. Encourage response from the other side

While you are delivering the constructive feedback, you have to make sure it is a dialogue.

The idea is to give the other person enough room to share their side of the story.

Try to understand whether or not they agree with your feedback and how they perceive the same. They may share the lack of support or resources, which have resulted in a weak performance. Be open to some reverse feedback as well. Again, your EQ must be at play here. If your employee has an outburst, or reacts negatively, you need to stay composed and calm them down. 

9. Discuss potential solutions

Once you and your employee are aligned on the areas of improvement, the most important part of constructive feedback is to provide adequate solutions to address the performance challenges. Don’t give abstract or vague solutions like be punctual if the employee misses deadlines. Rather, give very specific and action oriented solutions which are directed towards a particular outcome. The idea is to collectively understand the cause of the weak area of performance and use concrete solutions to remedy the same. 

10. Create a time bound action plan

Now that you have shared some potential solutions, you must revise the top action items with your employee to avoid any confusion. At the same time, you should focus on creating a time bound plan with key milestones to ensure that development is taking place. Summarize what was discussed and how you will proceed from there. Best is to set up a date to review the progress to ensure constructive feedback is paid heed to. 

Read our article on Start Stop Continue Feedback to give action oriented feedback

20 Constructive feedback examples 

Here are top 20 constructive feedback examples that you can use during your next conversation. To make your constructive feedback more effective, we have also illustrated examples of what you should steer away from.

1. Communication skills

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I would really like to know how you have progressed on the tasks assigned to you last month. It would be ideal if you could share a progress update on what has been achieved with a small summary of challenges/ support needed at the end of every week to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have not kept your team updated about your work, this is highly unprofessional.

2. Attention to detail

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I was going through the work you submitted last week and I can see you have put in a lot of effort. However, I could see that there were some small errors and inaccuracies in the report across multiple sections. I believe that if you proofread your work thoroughly before turning it in, it will reduce the number of iterations and improve your quality of work. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You seem completely distracted as you have been submitting flawed and below average work, this will not be tolerated. 

3. Time management

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I understand that you are working on multiple projects, however, you need to ensure that the most important projects are not overlooked and their timelines are not missed. Therefore, I would suggest you create a list of tasks you are working on and check with the respective reporting managers on the priority and set clear expectations to ensure that no deadlines are missed. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have missed your deadline again, it seems like you are not serious about you work. 

4. Goal achievement

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you have been able to achieve only a part of the goals that you set out for this year. Maybe you were trying to spread yourself too thin. I would suggest you reduce the number of projects you are working on and ensure that the goals you set you are able to achieve. Furthermore, you must be vocal about the support or resources you need to achieve your goals. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

Are you even serious about your work, your level of goal achievement indicates otherwise. 

5. Absenteeism

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you have been taking some time off lately, without any prior intimation. Let’s try to understand if there is a particular reason for the same. We can work on your schedule to make it more flexible. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have been missing all meetings lately, this tardiness is not appreciated. 

6. Problem solving

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you are excellent at execution of ideas. However, I believe that you need to focus more on coming up with solutions on your own. I would suggest participating more in the brainstorming sessions and coming up with solutions. Try to think on your own, before you reach out to others with the problem.

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You lack any problem solving capabilities, and will be stuck to execution for the rest of your career.

Wrapping up

Constructive feedback is integral to organizational success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always use facts and examples to deliver constructive feedback
  • Don’t forget to differentiate between positive and constructive feedback
  • Make sure you have practical tips or suggestions 
  • Leverage specific constructive feedback examples for specific performance problems, instead of being vague

Related Reading

50 top 360 degree feedback question examples

150 performance review phrases

min read

How to Use Performance Management Cycle for High Performance Teams

While performance management has been a key priority for organizations, for a long time, year end reviews were considered to be the most effective way to facilitate the same. However, recently organizations are observing a shift towards continuous performance management with an introduction of the performance management cycle. This article will focus on different aspects of the performance management cycle and how it enables unlocking the potential of high performance teams. 

What is a performance management cycle?

Before going into the diverse aspects, you should first understand what a performance management cycle essentially is. If you have an idea of what continuous performance management is, you’re already a step ahead in the understanding. Performance management cycle primarily is a way or a model in which you evaluate or focus on the performance of your employees throughout the year. The idea is to break down the different elements of employee performance into different stages and focus on them consistently. It starts with setting goals and ends with rewards for a job well done, which leads to setting of new goals and the performance management cycle resets.  

Understanding 4 stages of the performance management cycle

While you may want to divide your performance management cycle into any number of stages, mostly there are four stages. 


The first stage, at the very beginning of the performance management cycle, focuses on creating a plan for the performance ahead. The idea is to have a clear understanding on what your employee must achieve and how you will eventually review and evaluate them. During the planning stage, you and your team member, collectively should:

  • Set SMART goals of OKRs based on the performance expectations
  • Have clear KPIs or metrics which you will use for performance appraisal
  • Clarify how individual goals or OKRs contribute to organizational vision

Thus, the planning stage of the performance management cycle sets the tone for the year ahead and ensures there is clarity at all levels. 


Once the goals have been set in the planning stage, you enter the monitoring stage of the performance management cycle. This stage essentially focuses on ensuring that things are moving as planned. The idea is to ascertain that your team members are more or less on track for specific milestones outlined as a part of goal setting. Additionally, this stage will help you address any performance challenges that you may observe, sooner than later. Monitoring stage includes:

  • Regular one-on-one meetings to review performance so far
  • Providing feedback to your team members on what you think has been going well and what needs to improve
  • Relooking at goals in case they are behind or ahead of schedule in terms of achievement
  • Understanding the kind of extra support or resources your team members might need to improve their performance
  • Having candid conversations with your employees on wellbeing, professional development objectives, and other factors which may impact performance, morale and engagement 

The monitoring stage essentially focuses on tracking the performance of your employees against the set goals to provide constructive feedback and help them perform better. 


The third stage of the performance management cycle comes into existence towards the end. It involves reviewing the performance and providing ratings based on the established KPIs and metrics. While this is the formal review process, if you have been constantly monitoring the performance of your employees, this will essentially be a consolidation of all the reviews and feedback shared overtime. While delivering performance reviews, ensure that you:

  • Shed any performance review biases that might come your way, including primacy effect, recency bias, halo/horns effect, etc. 
  • Give your employees concrete examples and facts to support your review, rather than being vague and ambiguous
  • Should try to get 360 degree feedback and review for your team members
  • Answer some of the following questions to create an informed review:
  1. Did the employee achieve the goals set out?
  2. What were the key enablers in their achievement?
  3. Did you observe growth in the employee during the performance management cycle?
  4. Did the employee share any concerns, and were they addressed?

Since you have been connecting regularly with your employees, the reviews will not come as a surprise to them, but will help you monitor the trends of their performance and guide the next stage for the employee’s professional growth. 


Finally, the rewarding stage in the performance management cycle acts as a culmination to one cycle and sets stage for the commencement of the next. The objective is to take into account their performance over the performance management cycle and create a culture of rewards and recognition to celebrate and appreciate high performance. Some of the quick ways to reward your employees include, giving them:

  • Healthy increments and promotions
  • Public appreciation through social media, company intranet
  • Bonuses and other incentives
  • Rewards like vouchers, gifts, etc. 

This stage is important to make your employees feel valued and motivate them to keep the performance going. It will also push average performers to step up their efforts and enable you to create a high performance culture. 

Why is a performance management cycle important?

Now that you understand the various stages of a performance management cycle, let’s quickly look at why the performance management cycle is important for your organization. It will help you:

  • Clearly define goals and expectations from your employees to drive directed performance.
  • Keep your employees engaged. When you constantly connect with your employees for 1-o-1 meetings and consistently take interest in their performance improvement, they are likely to feel engaged, satisfied and motivated.
  • Address performance challenges preemptively and provide your employees with corrective actions, resources and support to bridge performance issues.
  • Retain talent as employees who feel that their performance is being valued and receive regular feedback tend to stay longer at an organization. 

Top 4 ways in which performance management cycle leads to high performance

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, a performance management cycle can help you build a high performance culture in a number of ways. Some of the top aspects include:

Clarifies KPIs and metrics

What constitutes high performance can be abstract. For some, closing 5 deals can be high performance, for others, it might be closing 15. Planning stage in the performance management lifecycle will help your employees understand what constitutes high performance and thus, proceed towards it. 

Boosts recognition

A key part of the performance management cycle is the rewards and recognition. When employees feel their performance is being valued and recognized, they tend to double up their efforts, leading to a high performance team.

Facilitates communication and feedback

Monitoring and tracking followed by 1-o-1 conversations can help you communicate with your employees regularly. Not only will you track their performance, but will also listen to their concerns or challenges and offer them feedback. Such conversations and feedback have a positive impact on performance, leading to a high performance culture. 

Ensures appropriate training

One of the foundations of high performance is enabling your team members to undergo the right training. Performance management cycle can help you understand which training is important for your employees at which performance stage, realizing high quality results. 

Top tips for managers for effective performance management cycle

As a manager, there are several ways in which you can unlock the true potential of a performance management cycle. You are one of the key stakeholders who plays an important role in every stage of the cycle. Here are a few tips that can help you augment the effectiveness of the performance management cycle:

  • Invite employee participation and make the OKR setting process collaborative and action oriented
  • Provide constructive feedback to your employees, instead of being too sweet or too negative
  • Help your employees access the right resources and training they need to meet their goals
  • Give your employees a safe space to share their concerns and challenges
  • Don’t micromanage your employees in the name of monitoring
  • Be open about relooking at the goals in case of a misalignment as you move along the performance management cycle

Benefits of using a performance management tool

A performance management tool can significantly help you streamline your performance management cycle by offering the following benefits. 

Performance snapshots

Get automated performance snapshots of your employee’s performance over the 9 box grid to track performance trends over time and provide reviews without recency bias.

1:1 conversations

Leverage guided templates with AI based suggestions for your 1:1 conversations with employees during the monitoring stage based on performance over time. Receive suggested talking points for goal-centered conversations.

Compare performance

Look at historic feedback to see improvement in performance and compare performance over time. You can also compare performance of peers over specific parameters. 

Related Reading

How to create a high performance culture using OKRs

7 steps to effective performance management system

12 common performance review biases to avoid

Ready to get started?
Speak to our team today

Book Demo