Providing Effective Employee Feedback

Providing constructive feedback is one of the only ways for employees to grow and develop.

Yet many people still feel in the dark about their job performance, only getting feedback during the annual review or when something goes wrong.

A survey found that 62% of millennial employees—aged 18 to 34—have felt “blindsided” by a performance review. And 69% of younger workers think the performance review process is flawed.

But millennials do see the value in constructive feedback and performance-related conversations: Nearly 70% feel that the review process can help them learn and grow, while 85% said they’d feel more confident if their managers engaged in more frequent performance conversations.

The takeaway from this data is that feedback—positive or negative—needs to be provided regularly. Rather than reviewing employees after the fact, managers should be coaching for improvement on a daily basis.

62% of millennial employees have felt “blindsided” by a performance review. Click To Tweet

But what does effective employee feedback look like? Before we get into feedback examples, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t do the “feedback sandwich”: The actual message tends to get lost when you hide negative feedback between two compliments.
  • Focus on the behavior: Feedback should focus on specific behaviors, not personal qualities. People shouldn’t feel they’re being personally attacked.
  • Follow up: Managers should always check in with employees to see what improvements have been made. Growth doesn’t happen overnight, it often takes regular coaching.

Employee Feedback Examples

Time Management

  • Job Well Done: “You set realistic timetables to keep your projects on schedule. You never miss deadlines, and your time management helps the entire team stay on track.”
  • Needs Improvement: “I noticed that you missed the deadline on your last project. As one component of a larger effort, that’s going to delay the rest of the team’s work. Let’s touch base to discuss and make sure that you have the time and resources you need moving forward.”

Goals

  • Job Well Done: “You excel at setting smart goals for yourself. You accomplished your goal of X this past quarter and helped the team increase revenue by 18% from the previous quarter.”
  • Needs Improvement: “You established solid goals for yourself this quarter, but I’m worried that your goal of X isn’t realistic at this point. Let’s re-examine this goal and come up with an action plan for the rest of the quarter.”

Employee Engagement

  • Job Well Done: “The way you lead team meetings and conduct calls with clients really embodies our company’s core values. The energy you bring to the office everyday boosts morale and inspires your teammates.”
  • Needs Improvement: “You’ve been showing up late to meetings recently and it seems like you’ve been more quiet than usual during our daily huddles. Let’s meet for 15 minutes tomorrow—I’d love to hear any ideas you have for our department, the company, processes, etc. And I want to make sure I’m providing the right support.”

Obstacles

  • Job Well Done: “Whenever you’re confronted with an obstacle, you find a creative and innovative approach to overcome it. For example, when [obstacle] happened, I noticed that you did [creative solution] and delivered [result]. Great work!”
  • Needs Improvement: “I know it’s frustrating, but when [obstacle that happened], I noticed that you responded by [ineffective response]. I just got off the phone with the client—I smoothed things over, but we can’t risk losing them. Next time something like this happens, please check in with me so we can come up with a solution together.”

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