The Importance of Giving Employees Constructive Feedback (With Examples and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 5, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated March 5, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employees should be aware of their performance, company expectations, goals and areas of improvement. Leaders can make their employees aware of this important information by providing them with feedback. And there are proper ways of providing employee feedback that can contribute to effective results. In this article, we will discuss why employee feedback is important, types of employee feedback, how to give feedback and feedback examples.

Why is employee feedback important?

Constructive feedback is one of the most important things a manager can provide to their employees. Feedback is not only essential to employee success and performance, but it is also important to the success of your organization or company. Here are a few reasons why employee feedback is important:

Enhances performance

Most employees aren't likely to know how they are performing unless managers give them feedback about their performance. Employees will likely correct their performance if they know that it is not up to organization standards or they will enhance their performance if they would like to exceed organizational standards.

Clarifies expectations

When expectations are clearly communicated through employee feedback, an employee will understand exactly how their job should be executed and when certain tasks should be completed. This reduces overall employee stress and provides needed direction or re-direction to employees.

Builds confidence

Constructive feedback includes positive feedback and employees who receive positive feedback will start to build confidence about their job position and duties.

Improves leadership

Managers that provide feedback will feel more in control of the outcomes of employee development and they will be more willing to coach their employees and check in with them regarding their progress on tasks or projects.

Promotes employee loyalty

Providing feedback to employees in an effective way helps them to feel supported in their roles and positions within the company. Employees who feel supported by management are less likely to seek employment elsewhere. This saves the company time and money spent on hiring and training new employees often.

Related: 250 Top Employee Evaluation Phrases You Can Use for Effective Feedback

Types of employee feedback

Each type of employee feedback serves a unique purpose that can benefit your employees. There are four types of constructive feedback in the workplace that should be given objectively. Here are the four types of constructive feedback:

  • Negative feedback

  • Positive feedback

  • Negative feedforward

  • Positive feedforward

Negative feedback

Negative feedback is similar to but not the same as criticism (destructive feedback). It is possible to give negative feedback in a constructive way that benefits the employee receiving it. The basis of this type of feedback is to focus on things that may have happened in the past that were incorrect or not up to company standards.

You should provide an evaluation of these things to prevent them from happening again in the future. Negative feedback reduces the repetition of incorrect tasks and helps you and your employee focus on completing tasks in the most effective ways.

Related: What Is a Negative Feedback Loop?

Positive feedback

Positive feedback should focus on good things like good behavior and successfully completed tasks or goals that have happened in the past that are worthy of praise. This type of feedback should be given when only when it is necessary or balanced with negative feedback.

This way positive feedback is not overused and employees don't have to carry the burden of negative feedback alone. The best way to provide positive feedback is to do so using accurate data and information to back up the feedback you provide on the way they work.

Negative feedforward

This type of feedback focuses on what behaviors or actions should be discontinued in the future. This helps employees to minimize time spent doing work that doesn't lead to results.

Positive feedforward

Positive feedforward focuses on behaviors or actions that you would like your employees to continue in the future. This feedforward should also have data to back up your claims. This way your employees can accurately see the benefits of the effective tasks they are doing, and they will be more likely to continue doing them in the future.

How to give effective feedback

There are many factors to consider before you give constructive feedback. Here are some ways you may provide effective feedback to your employees:

1. Consider your timing

When providing feedback that will be effective, you will want to consider the timing. If your employee is not in a good mindset or if you are not in a good mindset, then providing feedback should be set for a future date when the mood is more neutral.

Waiting until the mood is neutral will provide a more conducive environment to reinforce or redirect employees using constructive feedback.

2. Be prepared

You should prepare for each employee before you provide them with feedback. The way you approach each person will likely be slightly different depending on the feedback you must give. For instance, you may try writing down the purpose of your feedback and what you would like the outcome to be for each employee.

When you prepare your employees will notice by the amount of information you provide them regarding their work. This will help them to use the feedback in effective ways.

3. Provide specific examples

Effective feedback should be given with specific examples. Your employees will want to know exactly what they did right or what they did wrong to either repeat the behavior or improve the behavior in the future.

4. Cultivate sincerity

The feedback you provide should be honest and genuine. You want to make the employee feel comfortable receiving feedback from you. This means that you cultivate sincerity by showing that you care about their success at your workplace.

5. Make feedback actionable

Providing information is an important step when you give feedback to employees, but you should also make the feedback actionable. The goal is to avoid personal criticism on things that your employees can't change. Feedback should be motivational and focus on what your employees can do to reach their goals.

Read more: Guide To Providing Feedback to Employees

Examples of employee feedback

When feedback is handled professionally, it can make a positive difference in your team. Feedback should be direct, straightforward, solution-oriented and positive. Here are a few good examples of effective employee feedback:

Example: “Your closing ratio improved from 20% to 45% in the past two months and we have also noticed that your clients are very appreciative of your excellent customer service skills. We also appreciate the great job you do as a salesperson. Continue closing sales and providing our clients with excellent customer service.”

Tip: Make sure your positive feedback is specific and provide relevant data to your employees to give them a measurable view of their progress.

Example: “Your market research is comprehensive and efficient, but we have noticed that your presentations aren't as clear as we'd like them to be. Instead of providing all of the information on one slide, try using bulleted lists, graphs and other visuals to make your presentations easier to read and understand.”

Tip: Your employees will feel less defensive about negative feedback if you compliment them on something else that they do well first. The goal is to encourage them to improve instead of suggesting that they aren't good at several aspects of their job.

Example: “While I appreciate how quickly you turn in your projects, everything included in the project has to be as efficient as possible. I'd like to encourage you to take some time after your project is complete to proofread and edit all information twice to make sure nothing gets missed.”

Tip: When you phrase feedback this way, it will set a standard and expectation that all future work should be reviewed before it is considered complete. This also gives your employee an action to complete to meet your expectations for next time.

Example: “You did an amazing job yesterday when you gathered your team and asked them to brainstorm and come up with ideas for XYZ. You made your team feel included in the process. I also appreciated the way you asked everyone questions related to their specific expertise. You displayed a great example of teamwork, which is one of our core values here at ABC company. Nicely done."

Tip: This positive feedback provides the employee with a specific example of how they used teamwork effectively and in line with the preferences of the company. This feedback helps your employee to build confidence in their leadership abilities and they will likely continue to work well with their team if given feedback in this way.

Read more: Top 10 Positive Feedback Examples for Employee Performance

Explore more articles