When used properly, feedback can serve as a powerful tool in the workplace. It’s an essential component to growth and change. How can you expect your employees to develop in a professional setting if they don’t know where they’re succeeding or falling short? Despite its effectiveness, feedback in the workplace is often the most underutilized tool. In a Gallup Inc. study of over 1,000 U.S. based employees, it was discovered that managers giving little or no feedback failed to engage 98% of their employees.
Feedback is an ongoing form of training that can have a major impact on your employee’s performance. The right feedback should reinforce positive behavior, as well as serve as an opportunity to correct any poor performance or unaddressed issues. It’s important to have a balance – give as much positive feedback as you do negative feedback. Positive feedback acts as a mechanism to reinforce your employees’ desired behavior. According to a study by OC Tanner, simply saying “thank you” raises employee engagement by 30%. In other words, positive feedback doesn’t always have to be formal. When you tell a person that he or she is doing something well, you’re stimulating the reward centers in the brain and encouraging them to continue doing what they’re doing. In my opinion, positive feedback in the workplace helps your employees to see the value in their work. People like to know how their work contributes to the overall vision and mission of the company. It’s a win-win situation for you and your employee.
Giving “negative” feedback may seem like an unfavorable situation, but it shouldn’t. Think of it as constructive feedback. Use this opportunity to discuss areas of improvement, but follow-up the conversation by developing goals and letting your employee know you’re here to help motivate them and foster their success. When giving constructive feedback, be tough, not mean. Avoid using words and phrases that could unintentionally criticize their personality rather than their actions. You may leave them feeling humiliated and resentful, which doesn’t benefit either one of you. Believe it or not, the right kind of constructive feedback can actually boost employee morale.
Just as important as giving feedback is receiving it. Make it known to your employees that you welcome their feedback on your performance, both positive and constructive. By opening those lines of communication, you’re promoting a healthy work environment. When you and your employees have a mutual respect for one another, everything else starts to fall into place.
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