Merge's Blog

Five tips for specific constructive feedback to develop your employees

Since the beginning of this year, all my video blogs have been focused on specific and practical tips to develop your employees.  Today we’re up to Strategy #10: offer constructive feedback.

Offer constructive feedback

A sure-fire way to grow and develop your employees is to make it a point to offer them constructive feedback, information that they can use to change their behaviours and actions to give them better outcomes and results.  The key word here of course is “constructive”.

In order for feedback to be constructive, there are some definite dos and don’ts.  Here are five specific things to take into account:

  1. First, make sure that you speak in specifics. So offer facts rather than opinions.  “You are disorganized” is an opinion and not something the employee can use to positively alter behaviour.  However, “I have observed that you are unable to quickly locate a file when I ask for it” is a fact, and much more useful to an employee who wants to improve the situation.
  2. Second, be timely. Give feedback within 48 hours of the specific instance under discussion, or within 48 hours of you learning about it.
  3. Stay problem-focused rather than person-focused. “You are constantly late” is people-focused, and is not as effective as “When you are late, other team-members have to cover for you which affects their workloads”.
  4. Offer feedback in private, not public. Enough said.
  5. Stay future-focused rather than past-focused. “You have been late every day this week” is past-focused and will only generate a litany of excuses.  Instead, try “What needs to happen for you to be on time from now forward?”

If you truly want to grow and develop your employees, then offering them feedback that is constructive is critical.  How are you doing?  Please share by adding your comment below.

For additional tips in this series, look at:

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