Here’s how to give feedback to employees (without destroying morale)

Clear communication between employer and employee is an essential ingredient to the success of any small business. As an employer, a large part of your communication with employees will be providing feedback on their performance – good and bad. Feedback is an important tool to keep staff on track, and your business moving forward. Here’s how to give feedback to employees without destroying workplace culture or morale.

1. Acknowledge the good, not just the bad 

Probably the most important thing to remember about your role as an employer, is that you have enormous power to set the mood and culture of your business. Make it a priority to pro-actively recognise the good work you see your employees doing. Not only will this lift spirits and bolster productivity, it will also strengthen your relationships and make any discussions about poor performance much easier.

2. It’s not called ‘constructive’ feedback for nothing

As a small business owner, it’s very likely that at some point in time, you’ve performed every role within your growing business. You know the responsibilities of your employees better than they do. This puts you in a great position to train, mentor and coach them. But, the risk is that you may have a tendency to feel no one can do the job to your high standards. Bare this in mind before providing feedback on what you feel may be underperformance. Consider: is the feedback you intend to provide constructive? If you can’t think of a constructive purpose for giving feedback, best not to give it at all. However, when it is necessary to provide constructive feedback, be clear and descriptive, avoid judgement and provide clear examples about what changes in behaviour you require.

3. Communication should flow both ways

It’s important to ask your team for regular feedback on how they feel you’re performing in your role. Be prepared for some constructive feedback to be directed at you! This is your opportunity to deepen trust and respect with your team and show leadership by modelling the way you’d like your staff to respond when you provide them with constructive feedback.

By putting careful consideration into how you communicate with your employees, you have the opportunity to grow a rich and positive workplace culture. Not only does this make your business a happier place to work, but your bottom line will benefit from increased productivity and increased staff retention.

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