Feedback: This Is The Positive Environment Your Employees Want
Your employees are tough enough to handle a few negative comments. Quality employees welcome it. Really, how else could they grow personally and professionally without a few critiques? So, it’s no surprise two-third of employees who responded in the What’s New In Employee Management Trends report by my company, Quantum Workplace, want immediate feedback – even when it’s negative.
Constructive criticism is healthy for employees, but too much can put a damper on your company culture. And with your culture directly affecting retention rates, it’s crucial leaders understand how to properly give – and receive – all types of feedback.
Think about the different workplace attitudes and leaders at your company. There’s always at least one person in the office who everyone runs from because they constantly spew negativity. It’s time to transform these negative attitudes into helpful feedback:
Start with Training
Feedback is about smooth communication – both giving and receiving negative feedback entails great attention to detail. Undoubtedly, some people have a natural ability to listen and respond well, but we all know a few who have far less tact. When we think of training opportunities, we tend to think only of hard skills that will increase productivity. But soft skills – like listening and communicating – are just as important.
Start by clarifying to your team that “negative” doesn’t equate to anyone doing poorly. Rather, it’s a constructive response on how to improve and grow within their role. Explain to your team the weight negative feedback holds, its purpose, and that the amount of positive feedback should outweigh the negative.
Create training opportunities for leaders and employees to learn how to effectively give and receive negative feedback. Practice implementing through team bonding exercises that promote healthy listening techniques. For example, have co-workers share stories by facing each other, keeping direct eye contact, and never interrupting each other. Encourage a relaxed setting where both can keep an open mind.
Giving Feedback Isn’t Enough
When a conversation ends on a negative note, looking only at what went wrong, the recipient is left with a bad taste. When these conversations repeatedly happen, it can create lasting tension in the workplace and leave employees feeling discouraged.
Feedback should be followed up with actionable tips on how to improve, and words of encouragement where possible. This needs to be encouraged by managers and peers alike. Our State of Employee Feedback report found half the respondents who said they saw a positive ROI thanks to their engagement strategy, said they also have a formal peer-to-peer recognition system in place.
Put a positive spin on negative feedback by encouraging leaders to follow up with an open conversation. Asking employees what they can do, and what they need help doing to fix the issue is the best place to start. After hearing what they had to say, employers can make informed suggestions for improvement. Strong leaders give tips on how to follow through with plans for improvement . They make suggestions to avoid making the same mistake again. You can even direct employees to co-workers who have gone through the same struggles.
Balance is Crucial
Frequently meeting in a one-on-one setting to discuss goals and expectations will likely decrease the amount of necessary negative feedback. Ensure there’s enough time in meetings to get through all feedback to reduce the chances of employees leaving discouraged because of a focus on the negatives. Ask each staff member if they prefer meeting weekly or monthly to hear how they’re performing and discuss what they need from leadership to better their productivity.
Company morale depends on leaders’ abilities to find balance between positive and negative feedback. Making time to learn not only how to give feedback, but what employees need to effectively implement it will boost confidence, motivation and productivity for all team members.
What tips do you have to decrease negative attitudes in the workplace? Let us know!