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At the heart of all personal and professional development is feedback. It can have a significant impact on your employee’s performance and behaviour. Research shows that employees would rather receive negative feedback, than no feedback at all. The same research states that an employee who feels ‘ignored’ is twice as likely to actively disengage at work. So, we know we need to provide it, but how?
Giving feedback, positive or constructive, can be challenging. To help you out, we’ve consulted six of our industry leaders to find out how they give feedback in way that motivates their employees:
Bec Djordjevic | General Manager, Munash Organics
At Munash Organics we feel the best way to give feedback actually starts with building a good relationship first. We take a lot of time at Munash to ensure our culture fosters great relationships with mutual respect and honest communication. We live and breathe these qualities which greatly helps when we need to give feedback to staff.
We use a consultative approach, both informal and formal, and I think the best thing we have done is that we treat stuff ups with respect. We find that when we stuff up, we use it as a moment in which we can greatly learn. So much so, that in our monthly team meetings we have an agenda item which is all about “stuff ups” in which feedback is given or sort after by a staff member in a team environment.
At Munash, we always want to find ways where we can better ourselves individually, as a team and as a business. Feedback is integral to our business in order for us all to grow. So we make feedback an everyday process in our business so it literally has become a part of us all.
Tim Matthews | Director, 1816 Bakery and The Forge Pizzeria
Every individual is different, so the style will often vary, however a common focus is to make sure there is enough time provided to ensure the feedback can be heard as intended. This is especially relevant for feedback that may not be expected, require further explanation or they need notice to prepare for.
Following up is useful to ensure the message was heard correctly, the action required is clear and positive outcomes are welcomed and valued. When time doesn’t permit, for example in the middle of service, a similar process is still required albeit in-part retrospective.
Vicki Coltman | Executive Officer, Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre
I have always believed leading by example is the key to good leadership. However recent staff performance reviews had me thinking more deeply about other aspects of my leadership style when I was told ‘you gave me a voice’. This simple statement highlighted the importance my open door policy and honest approach to listening has in empowering staff to be more creative and engaged.
Encouraging respectful communication and taking the time for the little conversations, saying hello or good night, clearly contributes to making the workplace a better and healthier place for everyone.
Rob McMaster | Builder/Owner, G.J. Gardner Homes Ballarat
I take the time to meet with my staff in one on one catch ups weekly, greying out one hour for each person. I have a set agenda to discuss each week, which includes: KPI’s, lead trail, road blocks, a temperature check (how you’re feeling out of 10), jobs requiring help and we finish with a to do list. I email out a copy of what we’ve discussed, once finished.
I always remain positive and consistent in how I interact with the team, keep my emotions in check and reward staff when I see exceptional work or effort. This could be just as easy as saying well done and providing the (proverbial) pat on the back.
John Schreenan | Director/Extreme Digital Enthusiast, Revolution Print
I find the most important factor in providing staff feedback is to do so quickly while it is fresh in everyone’s mind. Positive or negative it doesn’t matter, the feedback needs to be direct, sincere and to the point, otherwise it lingers and the moment is lost.
It is important the staff member is very clear about the topic (good or bad) and what effect their actions have on the business. By doing this we can make the conversation less about the individual person and more about the situation.
I also find it is important not to dominate the conversation, but listen to the staff member’s point of view, even if I don’t agree with it. All with the key goal of moving past the problem and focussing on the solution.
Chris Thompson | Director, Black Iron Technology Group
To give staff feedback I find the best approach is to be genuine and honest. Feedback revolves around relationships, if you have built strong professional relationships with your staff feedback can be a simple procedure whether that be formal or informal. It is also important your staff feel free give feedback in return.
One thing I often find is feedback can be quickly muddied and misinterpreted, we have all been in a situation where two people have been given the exact same information but each of those people have heard something totally different. With genuine conversation you should be able to ensure both parties understand the given feedback in the context you had intended.
As a leader, one of the greatest gifts you can give an employee is meaningful feedback. However, as several of our leaders have pointed out, there is no such thing as meaningful feedback from a leader they don’t trust, employees don’t separate what is being said from who is saying it. Your employees will welcome feedback, when they feel you genuinely understand and care about them, and know you have their development as your primary motivator for giving the feedback.
For more information about giving feedback, check out our infographic Feedback is the new Black.
Claire Huntington has over 15 years’ experience in senior and executive level human resource management and strategic leadership positions. Claire learnt HR under the wings of great mentors and through trial and error. She has a very practical hands-on approach to HR and management, and isn’t afraid to look outside the box. Claire is also a wife, mum to three school aged firecrackers and an avid photographer in her spare time.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.