10 Examples of Giving Employees Constructive Feedback

Updated October 6, 2022

Leaders can help employees become aware of their performance, company expectations, goals and areas of improvement. They can do this by providing employees with helpful and effective feedback. If you're a leader, you can implement proper ways of providing employee feedback that can contribute to effective results.

In this article, we discuss why employee feedback is important, explain the different types of feedback you can give, provide 10 examples of employee feedback and offer a few tips.

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Why is employee feedback important?

Constructive feedback is one of the most important things a manager can provide to their employees. It's also important because it:

Enhances performance

Most employees aren't likely to know how they are performing unless managers give them feedback about their performance. Employees are likely to correct their performance if they know that it's not up to organizational standards. Additionally, they may decide to enhance their performance if they want to exceed organizational standards.

Related: 14 Strategies To Improve Employee Performance

Clarifies expectations

When leaders clearly communicate their expectations through feedback, employees can understand the expectations for their job, like when they need to complete certain tasks. This can provide needed direction to employees. Clear expectations can also improve job satisfaction, since employees who understand what tasks they need to complete may experience less stress at work.

Related: How To Communicate Expectations to Employees

Promotes employee loyalty

Providing feedback to employees in an effective way helps employees 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.

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

4 types of employee feedback

There are four types of constructive feedback in the workplace:

  1. Negative feedback: Similar to criticism, the basis of this type of feedback is to focus on things that were incorrect or not up to company standards. Negative feedback reduces the repetition of incorrect tasks and helps managers and employees focus on completing tasks in the most effective ways.

  2. Positive feedback: This type of feedback focuses on good behavior, completed tasks or accomplished goals. The best way to provide positive feedback is to use accurate data and information to back up the feedback you provide, or by balancing it with negative feedback.

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

  4. Positive feedforward: This feedback type focuses on behaviors or actions that you would like employees to continue in the future. This way, they can accurately see the benefits of the effective tasks they are doing, and they may be more likely to continue doing them in the future.

Related: 10 Feedback Styles With Examples of How To Use Them

10 examples of employee feedback

Here are ten examples of effective employee feedback:

1. Positive feedback

Make sure your positive feedback is specific. You can provide relevant data to employees to give them a measurable view of their progress. It's important to provide positive feedback to every employee, such as:

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.

Related: Top 10 Positive Feedback Examples for Employee Performance 

2. Negative feedback

Employees may 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. Here's an 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.

Related: Giving and Receiving Feedback: Definition and Examples

3. Lack of efficiency

When you phrase feedback this way, it sets a standard and expectation that employees review their work before they consider it complete. This also gives an employee an action to complete to meet your expectations for next time. Consider this 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.

Related: 4 Ways Feedback Improves Performance in the Workplace

4. Inclusion

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 employees to build confidence in their leadership abilities. Here's an 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. Nicely done.

5. Collaboration

If you want to foster a spirit of collaboration among a team, you can offer positive feedback when you notice people collaborating. Try to discuss specific instances where you observed people collaborating with one another, like in this example:

Great job working together to solve this problem. I 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.

6. Workplace conflict

Sometimes, employees have a workplace conflict. When you provide feedback after a conflict, it's important to encourage employees to move forward from the incident. While you may need to provide negative feedback, this can help both parties resolve the issue effectively.

I appreciate how you brought this conflict to me for discussion. However, it's important to bring up any issues before they turn into conflicts with your other coworkers. In the future, consider scheduling a meeting with me before the issue escalates so we can discuss solutions earlier.

7. Reaching a milestone

When employees reach a milestone, positive feedforward can help them understand how they accomplished that goal. You can name specific instances where you saw them working hard. Additionally, consider suggesting a few ways they can continue to develop in their career.

Excellent work receiving this promotion. Your commitments to working with clients, like when you went above expectations for 312 Inc. In your new role, consider reaching out to others in your position to see what skills you can develop so you'll be successful. Great job.

8. Frequent errors

If an employee makes frequent errors, it's best to provide negative feedforward. This provides tangible suggestions for improvement. As you offer this feedback, try to add positive feedback into the conversation to encourage the employee.

Thank you for always turning in your expense reports on time. I appreciate your consistency, but each report has a few minor errors that need adjustment. Perhaps you can have your partner review your reports before you submit them to ensure no more errors are made.

9. Displays of leadership

If you notice an employee displaying leadership skills, consider pointing that out to them with positive feedback. This can increase their confidence in certain workplace settings. Providing positive feedback for leadership demonstrates your desire to see others succeed.

I noticed that you took the lead in your team's brainstorming session yesterday. I really appreciated the way you took initiative by delegating tasks and facilitating the conversation. It'd be great if you're interested in taking on more leadership opportunities, and I'm happy to look for ways you can continue developing these skills.

10. Negative feedback for unmet goals

Some companies have quotas or goals for employees to meet on a regular basis. If an employee is struggling to meet these goals, you can provide some negative feedback that can help them find new strategies for improvement. It's important to offer this feedback considerately so they feel motivated to improve.

We always appreciate your insight in our team meetings, and you add a great perspective to our team. However, this is the third week where you haven't met your sales goals. Maybe you and I could go through a few sales calls together to identify areas for improvement.

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Tips for giving feedback to employees

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

  • Be prepared. Prepare for each employee before you provide them with feedback. For instance, you may try writing down the purpose of your feedback and what you would like the outcome to be for each employee.

  • Provide specific examples. Give specific examples during feedback, as many employees benefit from knowing exactly what they did to receive your feedback. This helps them understand what behavior to improve upon in the future.

  • Make feedback actionable. You can make the feedback actionable by giving specific ideas on how to improve. Actionable feedback is motivational and helps employees focus on what they can do to reach their goals.

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