How to give employee feedback

You want your business to be the best. That means getting the best from every employee and ensuring they all work towards the same common goal of taking your company to the next level.

As a UK Certified EOS Implementer, I’m often asked the same question: how do I ensure my employees are motivated and efficient. I believe it is one of our most important jobs as leaders and managers.

People want feedback, they want to do a good job, to know it, and to be recognised and rewarded when they do.

Often their number one complaint is that they don’t know how well they are performing, and that they’ve been thrown out there on their own, to get on with it with no feedback.

So it’s important that they know when they are doing good work, and the standard you want them to maintain.

The most effective way to give employee feedback is to praise in public and criticise in private.

Giving praise

If your employees are doing a great job, let them know!

Sometimes it is not just about money. It is about being told they’re doing a good job by their leader 1-2-1 and being praised in front of their peers.

This creates a standard for the department, as everyone knows what a good job looks like.

When giving employee feedback, be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell people that John is doing a great job today. Describe what he’s done in detail and the outcome and positive impact on the business.

Praising in public is also great for showing your employees that you care and support the work they’re doing.

Giving criticism

Sometimes we get things wrong, make mistakes or just aren’t performing our best. It happens. The important thing is to make sure that your employees understand where they went wrong, where they’re not reaching the required level and learn how to improve.

First of all, make sure your feedback is given in private. If you were to do this publicly, it is not fair to the employee or the team. More importantly, giving employee feedback in private allows you to take a more personal and constructive approach.

This is not about criticising, it is a way of offering constructive feedback about poor performance.

The best approach is to make it about the task, not the person. Tell them your expectation, explain where the performance didn’t meet the standard, and give three specific, detailed examples.

Stay calm and controlled, with a good tone of voice. This is your chance to give guidance on what is expected and a timetable for improvement.

How does it work?

A simple example is when you train animals.

My mother took her two-year-old mare Star to be trained by an expert horse trainer.

The trainer gave Star a lot of praise when she did well, but immediate feedback when she did something wrong.

The positive praise made Star feel at ease, encouraging her to continue doing the same actions and behaviours that the trainer wanted.

When Star did something wrong, the trainer would snap the bridle. This didn’t hurt Star. It just made her uncomfortable. So, she knew straight away that something was wrong and she therefore had to change her behaviour.

Within 30 minutes, Star was behaving and progressing excellently, showing the immediate results of this approach.

This is the same thinking behind the praise in public and criticise in private method. It gives you a chance to clearly communicate to your employees what they are doing right and wrong.

Praise in public, criticise in private

By providing employee feedback where it matters, this method allows your team to quickly learn what work and behaviour  is acceptable – and what isn’t.

Overall, this leadership method is perfect for encouraging better and more productive work from your employees.

If you want advice and support applying the EOS to your current business, contact us today on +44 (0)7795 667480 for a complimentary 90-minute meeting to introduce it to you and your leadership team.

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