Feedback is one of the most important parts of professional life. As a manager, you must ensure that your employees know what they are doing well and where and how they could improve to help the company function more productively.
Constructive feedback takes skill, however. You need to learn how to give feedback that allows your employees to develop skills and more effectively pursue their goals. Read on to learn some valuable tips for giving employees constructive feedback.
What is Constructive Feedback?
Constructive feedback is a type of guidance that focuses on areas for improvement and offers strategies or solutions to accomplish the improvement. Constructive feedback is thoughtful and supportive. The goal is always to help the employee improve their work performance.
Constructive feedback, also called constructive criticism, is a crucial part of the manager-employee relationship. It is constructive because it seeks to help the employee understand what areas of their work performance need improvement and how they could best accomplish that goal.
When to Provide Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism can be provided at any time, but there are some situations when providing this valuable guidance is vital:
- Performance reviews
- Following an incident
- Concluding a project
Tips For Giving Employees Constructive Feedback
Focus on observations
Stick to “I” statements and avoid character judgments. Focus on the employee’s actions.
State the feedback clearly and directly
Be kind but blunt. The employee needs to fully understand the issue and how they can positively change for the better.
Show empathy and sincerity
Employees may be upset that they’ve made an error or performed poorly. Be considerate and let your employees know you care about them and sincerely want to help them improve.
Share Constructive feedback in person and privately if possible
Constructive feedback is always more effective in person and should be given privately, so the employee doesn’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Offer suggestions for how the employee can improve the situation.
Include positive feedback
Show the employee that you see and appreciate the good work they’ve done makes them more receptive to the constructive comments and guidance you’re offering.
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Sometimes things happen at work that disrupts the environment and requires management to think fast and act. This doesn’t mean that employees should fix these disruptions. There are things, accidental and otherwise, that management shouldn’t ask employees to do.
Though some “asks” are obviously a no-no, others may not be so clear. Here are four.
Anything You Wouldn’t Do
One of the best guidelines for managers is simply this: Never ask your employees to do something you wouldn’t do. If the duty is part of their job description, fine, but generally speaking, if you aren’t willing to do it, don’t assign it to an employee. Always take the first turn and set the example.
Anything Illegal or Unethical
This should go without saying. Examples of illegal or unethical things that employees should never be asked to do include:
- Falsifying documents
- Lying to customers
- Stealing money from customers or the company
- Stealing information from employees, customers, the company, or other companies
- Harassing coworkers
- Pressuring employees to disclose personal information about themselves or others
Do not pressure your employees to participate in charitable donations or donate their time. Requiring an employee to donate money to any charity is docking their salary. Since you have no idea what their work/ home situation is, requiring them to donate their time to a charity may not be possible either. Offer the option and do not force employees to participate.
Never throw employees under the bus when things go wrong, even if they make a mistake. You are responsible for your department and its employees, good and bad. Even if you did not expressly authorize or request it, take responsibility for it.
Anything Dangerous or Harmful
Don’t ask your employees to do anything that may cause them to risk life and limb or harm them professionally. That includes performing duties outside their job description that could result in harm or death, as well as dealing with an abusive customer or working in a physically or mentally toxic or harmful environment.
Anything That Violates the Employment Package Agreed To
When you hired your employee, you agreed to the job’s parameters, the salary/ benefits package they would receive in compensation, and the terms of work (hours, vacation, PTO, sick days, etc.). Forcing an employee to work outside those parameters, to cancel vacation time, or to work when sick violates that employment package and should never happen.
Management comes with a great deal of responsibility, including looking out for the welfare of your employees. Even when messes happen and the workplace environment goes off the rails, taking care of your employees and never asking them to do anything you wouldn’t do first is essential.
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Maintaining a healthy work/ life balance is an integral part of your company culture, especially for working parents. Often, working parents feel obligated to choose work over their children and home life because the atmosphere at work is not supportive enough.
When management chooses to support and care for working parents, it positively affects employees, their partners, children, and other family members. Creating a healthy, nurturing environment for working parents in your company isn’t difficult. Beacon Staffing, a reputable staffing firm in Maryland, shares some ways to support and encourage your employees to deliver their best at work in ways that work for them.
Parental Leave for New Parents
The benefits of paid parental leave for employees have been thoroughly researched. When new moms and dads can take 3-4 months off after a new baby, adopted child or foster child arrives, it improves the physical and mental well-being of the entire family. Paid parental leave also lowers stress and pressure for the family regarding their job and financial security during this time.
Paid parental leave is also advantageous for your business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up to 5 million workers could be added to the U.S. economy if women were provided better incentives to stay in the workforce. That goes for men, too; fathers indicate that the flexibility and financial security of paid parental leave are a stronger incentive to keep than an increased salary.
Family-Friendly Company Culture
Create a company culture that celebrates working parents and gives them the opportunity to care for their families and a sense of belonging with coworkers. This can be accomplished in many ways:
- Flexible time off, including mental and physical health days
- Allow parents to bring kids to work
- Encourage employees to personalize their workspaces with family photos, drawings, and mementos
- Designate a private area for breastfeeding moms
Focus on Results
Many working parents are stressed and frustrated as they struggle to make meetings and deliver work on a schedule that doesn’t factor in children and home life. One of the most beneficial things you can do as a manager is to ensure that your working parents focus on results more than structure and schedules. Increased flexibility and empathy for working parents, coupled with the practical tools and resources to help them complete their work to the highest level, is truly the best support you can provide.
Our perspectives shift when we become parents or caregivers. As a manager, it can be helpful to think of your employees as your family and take steps to understand and encourage them, providing the support they need to deliver their best performance at work and home.
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Beacon Staffing is a temporary staffing firm in Maryland that provides expert recruiting services for the administrative and light industrial sectors. Our recruiters in Aberdeen and Baltimore will source qualified candidates that meet your needs on a temporary, temp-to-hire, or direct hire basis. For more information about our Maryland staffing services, connect with us today.