Providing Valuable Feedback to Your Employees

Updated: May 26, 2020

In today's business world, most companies have some sort of annual performance review system. Some are formal, some are informal, and some don’t even exist based on the type of organization. Most of us are not happy when it comes to annual reviews whether we are the ones providing it or receiving it. The purpose of an annual review is to set goals and competencies with your employees, see how effective they are at achieving them over an established period of time, and review how they are compensated based on the result.

Your employees want feedback, constructive feedback, and honest feedback. Giving accurate feedback will help employees improve their overall performance and solidify their trust in you as their manager. If feedback is given frequently, then there will be no surprises during the review process. Here are some tips on how to provide detailed feedback to your employees:

  • Set the expectations at the beginning of the year. Make it clear and concise on how you will evaluate your employees.

  • Be positive, focus on what the individual has achieved, highlight tasks they excel at, but most importantly, keep the focus away from what they can improve on.

  • Do not focus on the person, but instead on the behavior. Keep your emotions at bay while discussing a performance concern.

  • Be specific as possible and provide tangible examples of the behavior in question, such as, “I’ve received complaints about your attitude, in regards to addressing employee questions, this is the incident (site the incident), can you please explain what happened?” or “I noticed you’ve been late everyday for the last couple of months, usually you are here before myself, but you’ve been arriving after myself, and I wasn’t aware of a change in schedule, is there are problem?” Don’t be vague, as that will lead to the individual being defensive and no real way of improving the situation. Example, “I’ve been hearing complaints about your attitude” or “I noticed you’ve been late everyday for the last couple of months”. These provide no value, do not determine the root cause, nor do they provide the foundation for improvement.

  • Give frequent feedback, both negative and positive. Waiting for the scheduled performance review will not address the problem and will set up the employee to fail. The closer the feedback is given to the behaviour in question, the more valuable the feedback will be.

  • When giving feedback make sure you are clear on why you are giving feedback, such as a scheduled review, or result of a recent observation. Make sure the feedback is delivered in a positive way so the individual can improve and learn.

  • Feedback is based on observations, facts, statistics, or information shared from a neutral environment. If feedback is provided from a neutral place, the individual will not feel singled out, allowing them to decide if they want to change or not.

  • The best way to deliver constructive feedback is to make it a two-way conversation. Take the necessary time to engage the employee and ensure they understand. Focus on “teamwork,” and avoid phrases like; “this is what you are doing wrong” or “this is what has to change.”

  • Always follow up after feedback is given. If your feedback addresses a problem, look for occasions to “find them making improvements”. Reinforce positive behavior when the opportunity arises.

  • Employees are more receptive when you have authority, credibility and trust already established in the relationship. Without these three factors, it makes it more difficult to deliver the feedback, while keeping the expectation that the employee is going to welcome your feedback.

To provide an effective evaluation or feedback to an employee, you must first remember that you want them to regard it as a positive, encouraging learning experience, while providing mutually agreed upon areas of focus moving forward.


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