Providing Employees With Real Performance Feedback

September 9, 2015

Providing Employees With Real Performance Feedback

Top performers are always making it to the top because they are consistent in making their best even better. They are believers of continuous improvement. Leadership guru Ken Blanchard has rightly said that, "feedback is the breakfast of champions." It's a pragmatic mantra that works in every situation, be it corporate performance appraisal, review of a football match, or assessments in institutions.

Gone are the days of feedback linked only to annual reviews, often viewed as unpleasant, yet necessary evil, with neither side getting much out of the process. Today, with the Milennial generation, periodic feedback is more crucial than ever before; it is like their life-support system, without which, they eventually fail to function. Halted or suppressed growth is view as unacceptable.

If done right, feedback can be motivating and and help employees focus in more closely on their goals. According to studies, feedback plays a strong role in contributing to employee satisfaction and productivity in an organization. An organization that does not provide a performance review is like moving on a journey without maps or signposts. According to one study, 70 percent of employees agreed that their performance and chance for success in their career would have increased substantially if they were given more timely and constructive feedback. Here are 4 P's that make giving constructive feedback systematic and smooth:

1. Prepare. The review process is critical in nature, thus it requires careful forethought and planning. A good analysis of the condition will clarify any existing ambiguities related to goal-setting and achievement. Know exactly what you're going to say and how you're going to say it. Before you can go ahead in assessing the employee, it is crucial for you to be clear about what you want done, and, more importantly, why you want it done.

2. Participative approach. Make the feedback process engaging to get a clear picture of actual performance. The reviewer should express an openness and interest in a conversation leading to view the employee has of his or her performance. Begin with something like, "What's your viewpoint on the ABC project?" The effect is enhanced if it is delivered in a friendly tone and a calm tone with relaxed body language. Putting the employee at ease will ensure he or she is willing to be more involved in the process.

3. Positive aspect of the performance. During coaching, it is very common for employees to find something that deflates their enthusiasm. It is the role of the reviewer to focus not just on what needs improvement, but what should be commended. Mention something notable that the individual did. It builds rapport and increase confidence. It also allows the employee to envision getting closer to his or her career goals and helps him or her take the right steps in the right direction. To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as a monetary one. According to the Losada ratio, three positive comments for every negative one is considered crucial to achieve high performance. 

4. Present the actual scenario. Discuss the facts of their performance. The reviewer needs to keep in mind that his or her approach should be direct and firm, but at the same time it should not offend or impugn. Avoid using strong or inflammatory language. It sets a negative tone and reduces trust and respect in the relationship. It is imperative to be considerate while delivering, but it should not take the form of embellishments. The employer should be plausible, and that can be achieved through giving due time and attention to employees in order to understanding their work behaviors. Even though delivery is important, credibility is truly what gets the message heard. 

The rationale behind giving feedback is continual improvement. It is significant to measure the status at periodic intervals and make adjustments accordingly. Employers can also consider feed-forward, it will provide individuals, teams and organizations with suggestions for the future to help them achieve a positive change in behavior. 


The Authors: 

Surabhi Paliwal, M.B.A., is an entrepreneur, HR practitioner, and a HR blogger located in India. She can be reached at