How to Increase Employee Performance with Feedback
When Michael Phelps competed in his first Olympic Games in 2000, he was 15 years old. And came home empty-handed. But when he got home, he got back in the pool. He listened to his coach, kept working – kept striving for improvement. In 2008, he won 6 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals. This was an incredible feat, yet he believed there was still room for improvement. He continued growing and learning as an athlete, returning to his final Olympic Games in 2016 to win 8 gold medals and receiving the crown of most decorated Olympian to date. His success does not stand on talent alone. Of course, he’s an extremely talented swimmer. But his coach has noted that Phelps relied on hard work and coaching to propel him toward successful performance after successful performance.
The same can be said for your employees. Your employees must desire to improve and be dedicated to hard work if they want to improve. But you have a critical role as a manager when it comes to enhancing employee performance: by stepping in as a coach and offering feedback on a regular basis.
Changing the Way You Provide Feedback
In most organizations, feedback is delivered once or twice a year during the dreaded “performance review” between employee and superior. Would you describe performance reviews at your company as rote, formal, analytical, and filled with paperwork? Do end-of-the-year reviews turn into discussions about compensation and promotions rather than focusing on the employee’s development? If so, then it might be time to change your feedback emphasis. Begin to offer feedback in an informal, frequent manner that is specific to the situation or skill in which you hope your employee improves. This is a concept known as micro-feedback that focuses on clarity and brevity by directly addressing a specific issue in a timely and caring manner.
Benefits to Micro-Feedback
- Receive multiple perspectives and more information promptly
- Increase relevance by applying feedback quickly
- Reduce workplace bias that comes when a single employee is reviewed by a single manager
- Increased frequency normalizes feedback and reduces tension associated with receiving it
- Eliminate the rush and lack of attention given to last-minute standardized reviews
- Create a culture of improvement when feedback is continuously offered
- Enhance trust and support between employees and superiors
How Do You Give Micro-Feedback?
The best way to engage in micro-feedback is to adjust your point of view. You are no longer manager and employee, you are a team, you are colleagues. You approach any feedback, whether positive or negative, with the mindset of making the team better.
- Verbalize Positive Traits: We recommend bridging the gap from standard performance reviews to micro-feedback by recognizing your employees’ assets and strengths. Voice your appreciation for an employee, recognize an employee’s engagement during a meeting, or how you find their perspective valuable.
- Be Specific: “Swim faster” or “Do better next time” would not have been helpful comments to Michael Phelps. Instead, his coach needed to provide specific insight into how Michael could improve his skill. The same is true for your employees. “Let’s do better next time” or even “Good job” are flippant remarks that are unhelpful. Share advice that is applicable and give your employee something to do or practice immediately to improve a certain skill.
- Pay Attention to Timing: If your employee knows they bombed a presentation, you don’t have to give feedback as soon as you leave the conference room. Put yourself in your employee’s shoes and lead with empathy. In order for feedback to be effective, it must be well-received. Therefore, the right timing is crucial.
We understand the unique position in which leaders find themselves. They are teammates, and coaches, and this balance is unique. To help the managers and leaders in your organization, Trinity Training & Development offers a variety of programs that help the managers and supervisors in your organization successfully find that balance. We equip your leadership so that your employees enjoy their job and their coworkers, trust the organization, and reach higher levels of performance. To learn more, contact us today.