12 Tips for Giving Feedback That Employees Will Act On

As a manager or supervisor, providing constructive feedback is an essential part of developing and improving employee performance. However, giving feedback is not always easy, and if not done correctly, it can demotivate employees and harm their productivity. To ensure that your feedback is well-received and acted upon, it’s essential to provide it in a thoughtful and constructive manner. In this article, we’ll provide you with 12 practical tips to help you give feedback that your employees will appreciate, understand, and act upon. By following these tips, you can improve employee performance, boost morale, and foster a positive work environment.

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Tip #415: Give Feedback Regularly

Providing regular feedback is an essential tip for managers looking to develop and improve their employees’ performance. When feedback is given consistently, it can help to create a culture of continuous improvement and encourage employees to strive for excellence. It is important to remember that feedback is not just about identifying areas for improvement but also recognizing and celebrating successes.

Regular feedback can also help to keep employees engaged and motivated, as they feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. Therefore, it is important for managers to make regular feedback a priority to foster a positive work environment and encourage growth and development.

Tip #416: Turn the Feedback into a Productive Discussion

When offering feedback at work, be open to listening to your employees’ thoughts on your advice. Just as you would expect an employee to listen to your suggestions, treat their opinions the same way. 

Having an honest and thoughtful discussion allows both parties to understand where the other is coming from and encourages ongoing communication to help their team improve and grow.

Benjamin Farber, President, Bristol Associates, Inc.

Tip #417: Focus on Behavior, Not Personality

It is essential for managers to focus on the behavior that needs improvement rather than the personality of the employee. Criticizing an employee’s personality can be detrimental to their confidence and demotivate them. Instead, managers should provide constructive feedback on the specific behaviors that need improvement.

By focusing on behavior, managers can identify areas for improvement that are within the employee’s control and help them to develop the skills they need to succeed.

Furthermore, making personal attacks or judgments can harm the working relationship between the employee and the manager. It can create an atmosphere of distrust and negativity, ultimately resulting in a less productive work environment.

To avoid this, managers should provide feedback that is objective and non-judgmental, focusing on the behavior rather than the person. By doing so, managers can ensure that feedback is well-received and acted upon, leading to improved employee performance and a more positive work environment.

Tip #418: Help Your Employees Succeed

One practical tip for giving feedback that employees can act on is to focus on specific behaviors or actions they can improve. Instead of giving general feedback that can be difficult to work on, provide specific examples of what they did well and what could be improved, and offer suggestions for how they can make those improvements. 

For instance, instead of saying, “You need to communicate better with your team,” you can say, “I noticed during the last team meeting that you didn’t provide enough detail about the project. In the future, try to provide more context, so everyone is on the same page.” This helps employees understand what they need to work on and how they can improve, rather than feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to make changes based on vague feedback.

Kenston Henderson, Sr., Chief Empowerment Officer, Live With Lyfe, LLC

Tip #419: Make It Actionable

One of the best things a leader can do is to offer ways to take action on feedback—that ‌promotes action. Offer specific examples of things they can do to make positive changes. Often, employees are given feedback, but they don’t know what to do with it or how to change it. So, discussing specific ways to take that action is important to move forward.

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

Tip #420: Provide Feedback in a Timely Manner

Providing feedback in a timely manner is crucial for its effectiveness. If feedback is not given in a timely manner, it may no longer be relevant or applicable, and the employee may have moved on from the situation. Delayed feedback can also lead to frustration and confusion for the employee, who may not understand why they are being criticized for something that happened weeks or even months ago.

Therefore, managers should aim to provide feedback as soon as possible after the situation occurs, while it is still fresh in everyone’s mind. By providing timely feedback, managers can ensure that employees have a clear understanding of what they need to improve upon, and can take the necessary steps to address any issues before they become bigger problems.

Tip #421: Giving Feedback to Your Employees that They Can Act On

The “Sandwich Technique” is a great way to provide actionable feedback to employees. This technique involves sandwiching constructive criticism between positive comments. Start and end with positive comments, with constructive comments in between. This method balances negative and positive feedback to improve employee motivation and performance.

The Sandwich Technique begins with “I appreciate your commitment and effort on this project.” Then, provide constructive feedback such as, “However, I noticed that you could have improved your team member communication in certain areas.” Finally, say, “Your contributions were valuable overall, and I am confident you can improve in the future.”

This method provides actionable feedback to employees. Positive feedback increases self-assurance and motivation, while constructive criticism helps with development.

Derrick Hathaway, Sales Director, VEM Medical

Tip #422: Focus on Providing Solutions or Strategies

Focusing on solutions is an important aspect of giving feedback to employees. While it’s important to identify areas that need improvement, it’s equally important to provide solutions or strategies for improvement.

By focusing on solutions, managers can demonstrate their support for their employees and empower them to take the necessary steps to improve their performance. Providing clear and actionable steps can help employees understand what they need to do differently and feel more confident in their ability to succeed.

Additionally, this approach can help to create a more positive work environment, where employees feel supported and encouraged to grow and develop. By focusing on solutions, managers can help their employees reach their full potential and contribute to the success of the organization.

employee feedback

Tip #423: Listen Actively to Your Employee’s Response

Listening actively to your employee’s response to feedback is an essential aspect of effective feedback. Encouraging employees to ask questions or seek clarification can help to ensure that they understand the feedback and feel supported in their efforts to improve. Active listening also demonstrates that the manager values the employee’s input and is willing to work collaboratively to address any issues. This approach can help to foster a positive working relationship between the manager and employee, leading to improved communication and increased trust.

Additionally, listening actively can provide managers with valuable insights into their employees’ perspectives, allowing them to tailor their feedback to meet their employees’ individual needs. By listening actively, managers can create a culture of open communication and mutual respect, ultimately leading to a more productive and engaged workforce.

Tip #424: Give Feedback in Private

Providing feedback in a private and confidential setting is crucial for ensuring that employees feel comfortable and are more likely to respond positively to the feedback. Criticizing an employee in front of others can be demotivating and can lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame. Therefore, managers should aim to provide feedback in a private setting where the employee can feel comfortable and more open to discussion. This approach can help to establish trust between the manager and employee, allowing for a more honest and productive conversation.

Additionally, providing feedback in private can help to ensure that the employee feels valued and respected, even when the feedback is critical. Overall, providing feedback in a private and confidential setting can lead to a more positive working relationship and improved employee performance.

Tip #425: Be Specific and Clear

Being specific and clear is essential for effective feedback. Providing feedback that is vague or unclear can lead to confusion or misunderstanding, ultimately hindering the employee’s ability to improve. Therefore, managers should aim to provide feedback that is specific and clearly articulated, focusing on the behaviors or actions that need improvement. By doing so, employees can better understand what they need to work on, and take the necessary steps to improve their performance.

Additionally, providing specific feedback can help to avoid any misinterpretation or defensiveness on the part of the employee, as they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Overall, being specific and clear in feedback can help to ensure that employees understand what they need to do differently and feel supported in their efforts to improve.

Tip #426: Follow Up With Employees

Following up with employees after providing feedback is a critical aspect of the feedback process. It helps to reinforce the importance of the feedback and ensures that employees are taking steps to improve. By following up, managers can demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ development and show that they are invested in their success.

Following up also provides an opportunity to answer any questions or address any concerns that the employee may have. This can help to ensure that the employee feels supported and valued, even after receiving critical feedback. Overall, following up with employees is an essential step in the feedback process, and can help to create a culture of continuous improvement and growth within the organization.

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