Employees Want Feedback — But No One Is Giving It

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Did you know that more than 75 percent of employees believe feedback is important? This makes sense: Workers want to know how well they’re performing and how they can do their jobs better.

The problem is, employees aren’t getting the feedback they crave: 65 percent of workers say they’d like to receive more feedback than they currently get.

This needs to change — but merely scheduling an annual or biannual performance review doesn’t provide the kind of constant feedback workers rely on to perform their best.

That’s why it’s smarter to focus on giving feedback continuously. Think of it like a fitness program: People who track their progress from week to week are more likely to reach their goals than those who only track their progress once every few months.

Organizations looking to get the most from their employees must develop and implement methods of continuous employee performance management in which workers are regularly updated on their performance. You’ll see major improvement across the board when you design feedback processes with these points in mind:

1. Stay in Constant Contact

Research shows that most employees want to receive feedback on a monthly or quarterly basis. Very few think annual feedback is useful.

Managers need to make sure they’re constantly checking in with their workers. Even if an employee is performing well and doesn’t need to make any major changes, they should still be recognized for their achievements. Doing so boosts engagement.

It’s worth pointing out that not all managers have quick, direct access to their employees. Surveys show that more and more people are now working outside the office. If this describes your team, you should look into using a management tool that lets you provide regular feedback to remote employees. They need just as much attention as their in-office counterparts.

2. Be a Coach

According to a study of managers at a major energy organization, leaders who focus on coaching their employees tend to find their workers to be much more productive.

Yes, part of your responsibility as a boss involves making sure people are on task, but your job isn’t just to supervise your employees. You also need to make sure your workers feel like they have the chance to develop their skills and progress in the company.

Holding regular coaching sessions gives high-performing employees what they crave: the opportunity to become even more valuable to the organization. Employees who may be struggling also benefit from coaching because they know they’re in the hands of a manager who will give them the guidance they need to thrive.

3. Accept Feedback

Giving feedback is important, but so is receiving it. Research shows most people aren’t as self-aware at work as they might think. Managers are not exempt from this. While you probably have someone above you in the company whose job involves letting you know how you’re performing, your employees might also have worthwhile insights.

There are many ways in which you can get feedback from your team. For instance, consider ending the week with a short survey. Keep it anonymous to help you get honest responses, and focus on a specific aspect of your performance or management style. Doing so gives you the same kind of regular feedback your employees crave.

Your workers will be even more engaged when they know they have the chance to speak up when they have ideas that will help you and the entire team work better.

4. Offer Suggestions, Not Criticism

People naturally have a negative reaction to anything that seems like a threat. It’s simply ingrained in human nature. If negative feedback makes an employee feel like their job is at risk, odds are good they’ll shut down and perform even worse, not better.

That’s another reason regular feedback should be part of your management style. Potentially negative comments are less intimidating when an employee is used to hearing them.

Just make sure your employees know you want them to succeed. There are going to be times when a team member is struggling. It’s your responsibility to point this out; you’re not doing an employee any favors by ignoring an issue they need to fix.

However, you’re also not helping if you don’t give the employee an actionable way to make changes. When an employee has to receive negative feedback, make sure you help them address the issue through extra training or other forms of assistance.

You’ll notice major changes in your team’s performance when you start giving the kind of regular feedback employees need. Trends show that workers want to hear from you much more often than they probably do.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined international relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Follow Rae on Twitter.

By Rae Steinbach