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Feedback in the Workplace

October 22, 2013

Author:  Alina Melita, HR Professional and Blogger - HR Backstage 

Giving and receiving feedback is a powerful tool at the workplace. It informs employees about their performance and behavior within the team. Without feedback, employees will get stuck in a frustrating uncertainty.  Feedback should be given and received in all directions in a hierarchy: from peers to peers, from employees to managers, from managers to employees. The purpose is to give guidance and to motivate people in reaching their goals. Giving feedback is not as easy as it may seem. If not done properly, the effect can be extremely negative: people will feel unmotivated and might even take the feedback as a personal attack.

It is commonly known that the feedback can be positive or negative. We need both of them to improve our performance even if the negative feedback is sometimes harder to accept. Both forms are ok from my point of view as long as they are constructive. Knowing how to give feedback is especially important for managers because they are the ones who need to guide and motivate the team. If they fail in giving right feedback, the performance of the whole team will suffer. What I discovered to be a very efficient way of giving feedback is the sandwich technique. In this process positive and negative feedback are offered alternatively. This way the employee will accept easier the negative comments as he will see that despite the things he needs to improve there are also things for which he is appreciated. Let’s take for example a meeting between a manager and one of his employees where the manager wants to give feedback to the employee about a specific situation.

This is the way I would see things going:

  • The manager asks the employee his opinion about the situation he wants to address:
    • “How do you think it went?”
    • “What did you think went well?”
    • “What do you wish you had done differently?”
  • The manager gives positive feedback: compliments the employee on the behavior or performance he wants to encourage and states the specific current behavior or performance that is complimented
  • The manager gives negative feedback: focuses on the actions of the employee, not on the person, mentions the actions the person took or specific things said and defines positive future steps
  • The manager gives positive feedback again and develops goals that the employee can work toward and explains how he will provide guidance.

Most of us are afraid of negative feedback because it is unpleasant and hard to accept. However both positive and negative feedback should be seen as sources of learning and improvement.

If we don’t receive feedback at work, we should go and ask for it. Otherwise we will lose a great chance to grow personally and professionally. 

Our guest blogger today is Alina Melita - HR professional/Blogger with wide experience in the coordination of HR operations and programs. Covering different HR roles in hospitality and recruitment companies, she has gathered specialized experience in recruiting and hiring practices, training coordination, personnel development, employee relations and performance management

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