Everyone has their own preferences, views and thoughts, but one thing that remains consistent is that we all want to feel valued in our daily lives. While at work that value can come from the feedback shared with team members. Understandably not all feedback is positive but important for getting better on and off the job.
Three forms of feedback occur in the workplace. To increase employee engagement, all need to be occurring on a regular basis.
Often all three forms are combined into one conversation, and yet that generally isn’t the most effective. Instead, delivering the three forms in separate and distinct conversations is more helpful.
Performance reviews and negative feedback should always be delivered in private. Yet, when a team member is in the boss’s office with the door closed to many people it is immediately interpreted as the person being in trouble. So state what’s not happening as soon as you start the conversation. Some examples include: “You’re not getting fired.” and “I’m not mad at you, but I am upset about the situation.” Don’t wait for a formal review to provide this feedback. No one should be surprised by a negative performance review because there should be conversations happening regularly about the areas of concern.
For coaching to be impactful, it is crucial to get acknowledgment from the team member that they want help. When a new team member is doing a task in a less desirable way, don’t assume they are doing it inefficiently on purpose. Instead, ask if they would like to see how you approach the task. People are generally open to new ideas if they can see the new idea as an advantage over the old way.
The third form of feedback is appreciation. Engaged team members get a tremendous sense of worth from their work, making it critical for leaders to acknowledge each team member’s contribution. The US Department of Labor says that 64% of Americans leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated, according to the book The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. This doesn’t have to be something complicated to implement, but it does take intentionality. For it to be impactful, it needs to be specific. Just saying, “Thanks for all you did this week,” doesn’t stick with people. Instead, cite specific examples of how a team member made a difference and who was impacted.
Giving feedback often has a negative connotation, and it is time to change that. Encouraging team members to grow both personally and professionally is so important to improving workplace engagement. It also has a profound impact on understanding how they aren’t only contributing to the organization but the world.