The Importance of Feedback in the Workplace

The importance of feedback in the workplace can’t be understated. Feedback is one of the best tools a supervisor can use to improve his/her employees. Feedback can be both negative and positive and should occur on a continual basis. In many workplaces employees rarely receive feedback from their bosses. When feedback is given, it’s normally focused on what the employee is doing wrong. Lack of constructive feedback can be very damaging to a work environment. Often times, employees don’t even know what they are doing wrong. Although it’s important for an employee to know what they are doing wrong, it’s just as important for employees to know what they are doing right so they can continue that behavior. Feedback is the foundation for a successful work environment.

Why is feedback important?

  • Feedback keeps the lines of communication between supervisors and subordinates open.
  • Feedback reinforces expectations and goals for the employees.
  • Feedback can be very motivating to the employees.
  • Feedback can increase productivity in both poor and strong performing employees.
  • Feedback allows an opportunity to teach employees.

Tips for providing quality feedback.

  • Give feedback as often as possible. Don’t wait until the annual appraisal because at that point it is too late.
  • Reinforce positive behavior. A simple “good job” can go a long way. This can even work surprisingly well with employees that aren’t performing that well.
  • Be positive even when talking to an employee about something they are doing wrong. For example, if you have an employee that is underperforming you can say something like “You aren’t producing as much as I would like but if you do this just a little different we can really start to get those numbers up.”
  • Keep emotions out of feedback. Getting mad and yelling at an employee can really do the opposite of the desired effect. Feedback should be done calmly even if the subordinate starts to get a little upset.
  • Make it a two-way conversation. The employee should have input on how they are going to correct their areas of deficiency.
  • Be clear and specific with goals and expectations. Don’t assume employees know what they are doing wrong or right.
  • Always leave the underperforming employee a path to success. Telling an employee what they are doing wrong does very little if the employee doesn’t know how to fix it.

Although feedback can sometimes be uncomfortable for a lot of supervisors, the importance of feedback in the workplace outweighs the feeling of being a little uncomfortable. When done correctly, work areas can see vast improvements in productivity and morale in the workplace. Just like most difficult things in life, the more often it’s done the easier it becomes.

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