Feedback doesn’t have the best reputation. It’s awkward, challenging, and just the thought of it can leave you tense.
But employee feedback, both positive feedback and constructive criticism, plays a critical role in understanding employee wellbeing, resiliency, and engagement.
Employee feedback has taken on heightened importance as how we work has evolved.
During crises and in hybrid or remote work environments, clear communications and expectations make a big difference in business outcomes. Both are achievable in a feedback culture that encourages positive employee feedback and healthy, constructive criticism.
In a series of employee surveys, Gallup found that planned feedback signals to employees that their opinions are valued and that you, as an organization, are willing to listen.
Employees who report their manager is willing to listen to their work-related problems are 62% less likely to be burned out. With a decrease in employee burnout comes an increase in employee engagement, productivity, and overall morale.
Of course, it’s also important to note that listening is just the start. For meaningful feedback to sustain itself, it needs to be acted on.
Employees have an inside perspective that enables them to spot issues that might not be immediately evident to leadership.
In this piece, we’re breaking down every element of employee feedback. With a comprehensive understanding of what it is and what it does, you can craft your own feedback strategy that sets your company up for success.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The importance of employee feedback
- Examples of employee feedback
- How to provide feedback to employees
- How Workhuman® can help you gather employee feedback
- Frequently asked questions about employee feedback
Employee feedback has a holistic impact on any company. Providing positive feedback in the moment communicates that you’re taking notice when employees do a good job.
Constructive feedback (also in the moment) can help employees improve their performance and strengthen the relationships among managers, direct reports, and peers.
Employee feedback doesn’t just empower individual team members. Collectively, it benefits the entire company.
Employees are less likely to leave a workplace where leadership values their opinions and ideas. When team members are comfortable with making their voices heard, they experience less stress and are more productive.
Feedback can also help companies adapt to cultural changes and understand the workforce’s morale. It also helps leadership identify areas where team members might need more training.
Start by asking your employees for feedback. By soliciting feedback, you help establish a feedback channel and an atmosphere of openness, an atmosphere that hopefully leads to trust. At a companywide scale, it shows everyone that all perspectives and ideas are welcome.
Effective employee feedback strengthens a sense of belonging, employee empowerment, and employee engagement.
There are several types of employee feedback that leadership can give and receive. The following examples illustrate what kinds of feedback work best in different situations.
Positive employee feedback examples
Appreciation of hard work
“I appreciate all the extra hours you put into completing this project. Your efforts are why we can deliver this assignment on time.”
This is one of the top-tier positive feedback examples because surveys show that 92% of employees who receive praise for their efforts are more likely to repeat those positive actions.
Recognition is a coaching tool. If you want to see more good work, use feedback conversations to highlight the good.
Recognition of a skill set
“You always have such creative ideas during our meetings and brainstorming sessions. I appreciate your input.”
Recognizing an employee’s specific skill set lets them know that you value their talent and is more impactful than just saying “good work.”
Giving positive feedback with specificity, especially around an employee’s good qualities like their communication skills, can positively redirect people toward their strengths and help them find new opportunities.
Acknowledging achievements outside the workplace
“I really admire you for volunteering at the animal shelter on weekends. It’s nice to know that someone cares about animals in need.”
You shouldn’t restrict positive feedback to what happens in the workplace. Positive behavior deserves some recognition wherever it happens.
Acknowledging a part of their life, like their community engagement or a major life event, shows you value them as a person.
Constructive employee feedback examples
It’s worth noting that we shouldn’t consider all constructive feedback as negative feedback.
Effective employee feedback relies on both parties to navigate a difficult feedback conversation with openness and respect.
It’s one of the many reasons why it is so important to prioritize frequent positive feedback because it can help create a constructive atmosphere from the start.
Talking over others
“I really appreciated your enthusiasm in today’s meeting. However, I noticed that you spoke over some other team members in your excitement.Your input is always welcome, but we also need to hear from others. What do you think?”
It’s easy for some employees to get excited about a project and interrupt their colleagues, even if it isn’t on purpose.
Appealing to a team member’s enthusiasm is a positive way to address the issue.
“Thanks for letting me know you’re behind schedule on this assignment. Let’s look at how you spend your time and see if there’s a way to tackle tasks more efficiently.”
Missing deadlines can affect teams, departments, and the entire company.
Addressing the issue constructively lets your team members know it’s OK to come to you when they’re struggling with a project and helps you pinpoint problems.
A drop in productivity
“I wanted to check in and see how you’re doing. You seem a little distracted lately, and I’d love to know if there’s anything I can do to help. Let’s set up a time to talk. We can review your goals and figure out how to get back on track.”
Even the best employees can experience a drop in productivity due to personal issues or problems in the workplace.
Constructive feedback is an important note to strike here because it lets them know that you care and want to see them succeed.
Negative feedback could exacerbate the problem.
Employee improvement feedback examples
An employee is continuously late for work
“I’ve noticed that you’ve come into work late several times this week and missed yesterday’s meeting. Let’s review what you missed. Plus, if something’s affecting your arrival, I’d like to know. We can devise a plan to ensure you don’t miss any more meetings.”
While an employee showing up late can interrupt everyone’s workflow, circumstances outside of their control might affect their ability to show up on time.
Being empathetic is essential while ensuring they understand how their tardiness affects their peers.
An employee isn’t participating in team meetings
“I really appreciate how you meet all your deadlines and consistently turn in exemplary work. I have noticed that you don’t speak up during our meetings, and I want you to know that I value everyone’s insights. It would really benefit the entire team if we could hear from you at our next meeting. If I can do anything to make you feel more comfortable, please let me know.”
There are various reasons why an employee doesn’t speak up during meetings. Some team members come from cultures that don’t encourage speaking up, while others might be shy.
Employee input is valuable at every level, and addressing the issue in a friendly manner can make your employee feel more welcome.
An employee is displaying toxic behavior
“I appreciate your willingness to work overtime to meet deadlines, and you have great attention to detail. However, I’ve noticed that when you interact with team members, you’re sarcastic or roll your eyes. I wanted to check in and see if anything’s wrong. Is there anything I can do to help you enjoy being here like you used to?”
A toxic employee can harm the entire team’s morale, but sometimes a team member doesn’t even realize that they’re behaving negatively.
Discussing the issue can help you determine if there’s a workplace problem that you need to address or if the team member needs some flexibility to help them deal with something personal.
Employee performance feedback examples
“I’m impressed with how you’ve handled recent conflicts with team members. You were extremely professional and polite. I hope you always feel empowered to address such issues.”
When an employee does something well, you want to encourage them to repeat these positive actions. Specific feedback is more impactful and makes your expectations clear.
“I would really appreciate it if you could block time on your calendar for specific tasks. I know you’re busy, and letting things slip through the cracks is easy if you don’t set aside some time.”
Suppose an employee regularly forgets to complete tasks or misses deadlines. In that case, it might be more encouraging to give them some helpful tips instead of focusing on the negative behavior.
“I noticed you raised your voice several times during the morning meeting. When you do this, it makes your team members uncomfortable, which is unacceptable. Moving forward, please refrain from raising your voice.”
Sometimes performance is so toxic that you need to address it directly, and you must make it clear that problematic behavior isn’t acceptable.
New employee feedback examples
First day check-in
“I just wanted to check in and tell you how happy I am to have you on our team. If there’s anything I can help you with, please let me know.”
When you make an employee feel welcome on day one, they are typically happier and more likely to stay with the company than employees who don’t get any attention on the first day.
An employee’s first day can set the tone for the rest of their career.
One week check-in
“Hey, I know you’ve only been here for a week, but I’ve already noticed your positive attitude and motivation. I really appreciate it. I’d love it if you could participate in our next team meeting if you’re comfortable. It would be great for the team to hear some new insights.”
Checking in with your new hire after their first week can serve as an informal performance review and let them know that you already see them as an asset to the company.
Plus, if there are any issues, it’s always better to provide feedback as soon as possible.
Commemorate their first month
“Congratulations on your first month on the team. You’ve done a great job meeting your goals, and I’m excited to continue working with you.”
Commemorating someone on their first month with the company is an excellent way to make them feel included while letting them know that you expect them to keep excelling.
Use these examples as a guide to provide feedback at milestones like anniversaries.
Highlighting dedication and tenure helps retain employees and should be embedded in organizational values. Don’t reserve such praise for an annual performance review.
Examples of employee feedback about the company
Praising the company
“I appreciate how team members support each other, whether they’re generous with their time or giving positive feedback. It’s easier to complete my tasks knowing I have everyone’s support.”
When the company culture sets employees up to thrive, employees are more likely to provide positive feedback that can help them continue to improve.
Areas of improvement
“It would be great if team members were comfortable asking each other for help. Unfortunately, some of our projects have suffered setbacks because of this.”
When an employee is giving constructive feedback like this, it’s vital to address the issue as soon as possible. That’s especially true for processes and ways of working that could influence future projects.
Pointing out toxic behavior
“Some team members like to gossip about their peers, which makes many of us uncomfortable.”
When you receive this type of feedback, address the entire team unless you’ve personally witnessed the behavior and know who’s engaging in it.
Toxic behavior handled swiftly can boost morale and lead to more positive outcomes.
Employee feedback to manager examples
Asking for guidance
“If you have the time, I’d really appreciate a regular check-in with you. It would help me stay on the right track with this project.”
When an employee asks you for guidance, it means they trust you and are invested in doing a good job. This type of feedback culture should be the goal for any workplace.
“I’m unsure if I can take on the new project we discussed earlier. With my current workload, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate myself to it fully.”
It’s understandable for a manager not to realize when employees are stressed or overworked when they’re so busy themselves.
When an employee expresses these feelings, use it as an opportunity to rethink your delegation process and reward employees for bringing critical feedback to the surface.
“I appreciate you highlighting my work during this morning’s meeting. I put in a lot of time completing that project, and it means so much to get recognition for that.”
When managers give positive feedback, it’s always nice when employees return the favor.
When anyone in the office can exchange feedback on this level consistently, you are strengthening a feedback culture that will impact everyone.
We highlighted the basics of feedback for managers who need tips on encouraging meaningful feedback from employees and team members.
When giving feedback to employees, you can take the following steps:
- Identify the issues you want to address and craft your message before delivering your feedback.
- Always be sincere when providing feedback.
- Focus on problem areas separately from areas where an employee is excelling.
- Clearly explain how the employee is impacting the company with their behavior.
- Allow the employee to respond to your feedback.
- After delivering the feedback, sit down with the employee to discuss solutions.
At Workhuman, we’re here to help you optimize employee engagement, including gathering employee feedback.
It’s essential to be clear and specific when giving feedback to remote employees. When you can’t meet in person, it’s harder to pick up on body language and tone. Regular video calls can establish a connection with team members to make feedback conversations easier. Active listening in these calls will help you create a custom approach to feedback for each employee.
Effective feedback is clear, concise, and respectful while maintaining the dignity of leadership and the employee receiving the feedback. It’s also done as close to the moment as possible. Handle employee feedback with care and be sure to encourage, whether positive or constructive criticism. If you provide negative feedback that belittles someone, it won’t produce the effect you’re looking for and might even worsen the situation.
Formal feedback involves regularly scheduled performance reviews and one-on-one meetings between a direct report and their manager. Informal feedback includes checking in during the workday and complimenting someone during casual conversations. Both forms of feedback are essential to creating a healthy workplace.
The first rule for providing feedback is don’t expect them to be mind readers. Choose your words carefully. You can be direct while still being polite. Your feedback should always be clear. If your feedback is confusing, you’ve wasted your time and your employee’s time. Oh, and we’re not sure where the “feedback sandwich” started, but leave the sandwiches in the lunch room.
It’s essential to be clear and specific when giving feedback to remote employees.
When you can’t meet in person, it’s harder to pick up on body language and tone.
Regular video calls can establish a connection with team members to make feedback conversations easier. Active listening in these calls will help you create a custom approach to feedback for each employee.
Effective feedback is clear, concise, and respectful while maintaining the dignity of leadership and the employee receiving the feedback.
It’s also done as close to the moment as possible. Handle employee feedback with care and be sure to encourage, whether positive or constructive criticism.
If you provide negative feedback that belittles someone, it won’t produce the effect you’re looking for and might even worsen the situation.
Formal feedback involves regularly scheduled performance reviews and one-on-one meetings between a direct report and their manager.
Informal feedback includes checking in during the workday and complimenting someone during casual conversations.
Both forms of feedback are essential to creating a healthy workplace.
The first rule for providing feedback is don’t expect them to be mind readers. Choose your words carefully. You can be direct while still being polite.
Your feedback should always be clear. If your feedback is confusing, you’ve wasted your time and your employee’s time.
Oh, and we’re not sure where the “feedback sandwich” started, but leave the sandwiches in the lunch room.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to giving feedback to your employees and encouraging them to provide feedback in return.
While implementing a successful employee feedback mechanism takes effort, you don’t have to do it alone.
Contact us today to schedule a demo and see how we can assist with the employee feedback process.