Employee Feedback

How Opening the Door to Employee Feedback Can Build Stronger Teams

5 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Author
Lynsey Sutherland

Feedback. Sometimes we love getting it, and sometimes we hate it – but good or bad, insightful employee feedback can impact how well your team thrives. 

Feedback not only allows space for proactive solving, but it can also save time and ensure that minor problems don’t balloon into big ones. Feedback should be a space for sharing thoughts, feelings and opinions and can help create a culture of appreciation that can nurture high-performing teams.

What is employee feedback?

Employee feedback is any information that employees formally or informally exchange about performance, skills or abilities.  But what does employee feedback look like? This can and will vary in each workplace, but if you want to build some solid feedback practices, make sure you are:

  • Specific: The more detailed and specific feedback is, the more impactful and useful it will be. 
  • Regular: By ensuring that feedback is regular, whether good or bad, you can increase confidence in the recipient. 
  • Consistent: Delivering feedback in a consistent way means it’s easy to understand and action. 
  • Honest: Opening the channels for honest employee feedback creates greater feelings of trust.

Why is employee feedback important?

Things can look great on the outside but slowly turn sour on the inside. The best way to avoid minor problems that grow into big issues is to deal with them when they’re still small and manageable – and an open pipeline to employee feedback is one of the best ways to do it. 

It can help employees feel more motivated too. A 2021 study from Gallup found that when employees felt they’d received meaningful feedback within the last week, they were four times as likely to be engaged. 

The process can create a stronger, more harmonious workplace when feedback is done tactfully. Positive and negative feedback is essential because it helps break bad habits, reinforces positive behaviour and enables teams to work more effectively toward their goals. 

Employee feedback can enhance morale, increase retention and help build a more positive culture – what’s not to love?

What types of employee feedback are there? 

Feedback comes in many different guises. It could be an off-the-cuff comment or part of a structured appraisal system. Every other kind of feedback has its positives and negatives, (and how effective each is can depend a lot on the personality receiving the feedback). The best place to start figuring out which to use and when is to get an idea of the key types:

Positive

This is the most enjoyable and straightforward feedback to give. Everyone enjoys sharing good news, and it can be very satisfying when you get the chance to tell an employee how great they are and how much their efforts are appreciated.

Negative 

Sometimes you have to be the bearer of bad news and pass on the fact that an employee’s behaviour or performance hasn’t been adequate. This can be tough to do, but it can also be very valuable – for both the employee and the team.  

Constructive

Constructive feedback can be some of the most effective because it builds the opportunity for growth. When giving constructive feedback, the backbone may be either positive or negative, but it will always be complemented by some insight and guidance for further change. 

For example, ‘we were very impressed with how you reacted quickly to the fulfilment issue last week. It’d be excellent if you also copied me into the chain next time, so we know we’re supporting you in the moment.’

What are the benefits of prioritising employee feedback? 

Detailed and well-thought-out feedback can help employees and businesses become better versions of themselves. A study in the Harvard Business Review saw 72% of employees agreeing that they thought their performance would improve if their managers provided corrective feedback. 

They also found that 92% of the respondents agreed that negative feedback is effective at improving performance as long as it is delivered appropriately. How you give feedback is just as important as giving it in the first place!

How to give employees feedback

When giving employees feedback, remember to be calm, open and specific. The more direct you are, the easier it will be for someone to grasp what you’re saying. 

It’s important to be warm and human when giving feedback, but stay professional too. This will be easier if you’ve built a framework for providing feedback in your regular interactions, whether in a weekly one-to-one meeting or periodic reviews. 

Some people prefer to receive feedback in or close to the moment, especially when it’s constructive or negative. Be sure to ask your team members how they prefer to receive feedback – whether it’s immediate, on a regularly scheduled 1-1 call, written or in person.

If you are giving negative feedback, it is a good idea to keep it private as this allows the opportunity for growth and reflection rather than feelings of discomfort or shame. 

If you’re giving positive feedback, there’s an opportunity to share it with the wider team and increase the ‘social currency’ of the interaction. Sharing feedback with everyone can increase performance as well as feelings of happiness. 

How to ask employees for feedback

Feedback works best when it’s a two-way street. People who are good at taking feedback also tend to be good at giving it – and there can be a huge amount of value to listening to what your employees have to say, whether it’s good, bad or somewhere in between. 

Don’t be defensive. Stay open and willing to listen. Embracing the habits of empathetic leaders can establish a conduit to the kind of feedback that allows your team to work with more trust and openness than ever.

Be sure to create a safe and supportive atmosphere. Suppose you want employees to be honest with you. In that case, you need them to know that your reasons for asking for their feedback are to foster a better culture for everyone and that there will be no negative ramifications for them sharing their honest opinions. 

Building rewards, recognition and feedback into everyday

At Mo, we believe in the power of communication and appreciation – that’s why we’ve built tools that help teams stay more connected. Our recognition platform makes it easy for the whole workplace to identify Moments worth celebrating and ways to Boost colleagues when they’re doing well or need a little encouragement. 

Create meaningful connections within your team; giving and receiving employee feedback will be easier and more natural in no time. 

Transform Your Culture 1

Mo is an employee engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues.

Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today!

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