Feedback is becoming ever more important in the work place. By 2020 millennials will make up 50% of the workforce and they desire feedback more than any generation before them. To ensure they remain motivated, feedback is going to become more common place in the workplace and have to be carried out more frequently to retain and motivate staff. So how should it be carried out?
Feedback for under-performance can be an emotive subject but carried out constructively it can be extremely motivational. The first step is to appreciate that nobody likes to be criticised. Being critical will immediately put someone on the defensive. Arrange for a place for the feedback to occur away from others. We have all seen the reaction kids have in a supermarket as a parent shouts at them to do something they do not want to. We do not want the feedback to deteriorate to this, so be discrete, be calm, be adult and above all, don’t criticise.
The next step is to diffuse the potential reactions. As with the child reactions will be anger, shock or possibly regret if confronted without tact. Therefore the first step in the discussion is to establish facts, substantiated with examples and get agreement that the current situation is not satisfactory or unacceptable. This can take some time but the time is well spent as it leads nicely on to what the desired outcome should be and the options for achieving. When the options have been identified then an action plan can be drawn up. The action plan leads to the basis of the next review which should be easier if there is an agreed plan written down.
Giving feedback is not easy but with practice can be carried out without the meeting degenerating into a mess. Receiving feedback is not that easy either. Unless the person giving it is very lucid and paces the meeting so you have time to digest the contents you can easily misinterpret what is being said. It therefore pays to keep asking if you are not sure or understand what is being said. The person giving the feedback should be mindful of the fact that without clarity the meeting can go horribly wrong.