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Tips for Giving Effective Feedback

Effective feedback meets the following four characteristics

  • Descriptive: Feedback should be specific, not general, and provide measurable and observable details.
  • Objective: Feedback should be based on facts, not your beliefs, assumptions or hearsay. It should be provided in accordance with a known standard, criterion, or performance expectation.
  • Timely: Feedback should be given as close to the performance as possible so that it is meaningful and can be integrated into the future performance.
  • Professionally Delivered: Feedback should be delivered in a manner where both the words you say and the way you say them (tone of voice, body language) are professional.

Involve the employee in the feedback process and ask the employee to prepare a list of accomplishments.

Request feedback from the employee's customers, coworkers, colleagues or other managers.

Feedback should be a combination of both positive and constructive feedback.

Start the conversation stating something the employee does well.

  • Positive feedback involves telling your employee about good performance. Be descriptive and objective in describing the behavior. Tell the employee why you liked it and why it is important. When possible, tie the performance to the Agency's goals. Example: You solved that database migration problem very quickly this morning. That really got prevented disruptions to the system's operations.
     
  • Constructive feedback alerts an employees to an area in which his performance could improve. When providing constructive feedback, be sure to describe the following:
    • Situation: Describe the situation in which the performance occurred. Give your perspective on where and when the performance occurred. Example: "This morning at the meeting when we were discussing the new project,"
    • Behavior: Describe the behavior that you observed or heard. Focus on the employee's actions, not the person. Example: "This morning at the meeting when we were discussing the new project, you may not have realized it, but you interrupted me several times."
    • Impact: Describe the impact the performance had on you, others and/or the Agency. Be specific and objective about the impact by providing your actual observations. Link the impact of the employee's performance to expected standards. Example: "This morning at the meeting when we were discussing the new project, you may not have realized it, but you interrupted me several times. These interruptions confused the staff and required numerous clarifications which took away time slated to address additional key items of concern."
    • Next Steps: Describe specific changes in behavior that you expect in a specific period of time and follow up as scheduled. Ask the employee's help in solving the problem. Example: "While your participation is important, I'd like for you to refrain from interrupting speakers. When others are speaking, you should indicate to the speaker that you have something to say and wait until the speaker acknowledges you. Let's schedule time to get back together next Tuesday to see how this process works."

Check to make sure the employee understood by asking a question or observing changed behavior.

End on a positive note.