In every enterprise, there are times when leaders need to give tough feedback to their employees. This can be difficult, especially when constructive criticism is being shared with top-performers that are highly regarded across an organization.
While it is crucial that leaders give their employees the feedback they need to continue contributing positively to the organization, it is also important to deliver the message effectively to avoid hindering employees’ performance. Fast Company shared data from research psychologists at Kansas State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Texas A&M that revealed rather than motivating employees to improve, negative feedback during annual reviews had the opposite effect. Here are four ways enterprises can deliver sensitive feedback in a way that improves, rather than damages, high performance:
1. Be Timely
At BetterWorks, we think both constructive and positive feedback should be given on a regular basis as part of an effective performance management system. Often times, tough feedback shared during an annual review can be blindsiding and leave employees feeling as though they were never given the opportunity to improve earlier in the year. Both employees and enterprises will benefit most from constructive feedback that is shared right on time.
“Negative feedback shared during an annual review can be blind-sighting.”
2. Be Specific
It’s also important to give specific examples when sharing tough feedback rather than making broad generalizations. By doing so, leaders give the employees the insights and tools they need to exceed expectations. Leveraging interactive performance management and goal setting software, leaders can give employees a measurable visual of how their performance is tied to company goals.
3. Be Honest and Empathetic
According to HubSpot, 69 percent of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being better recognized. The best way to ensure employees take constructive feedback well is to also focus on their accomplishments and positive contributions to the team.
4. Invite Dialogue
According to Forbes, employees are 74 percent more engaged when managers invite a reciprocal dialogue when delivering feedback of any kind. With performance management and goal setting software, employees and managers will be in a better position to engage in informed discussions, even when sensitive feedback is shared.