Employee Feedback

Employee feedback is when employees receive information regarding their performance or actions in the workplace. It is valuable to both Employers and Employees as it highlights how they are performing within the workplace.

The intention behind providing employees with feedback in the workplace can be to reinforce positive employee behaviour and actions. It can also be to make changes to negative employee behaviour or actions.

Both are meaningful and can be a cost-effective way of improving overall employee performance… if it is provided in an effective and actionable manner. Employee feedback, when consistent, can also be a great workplace culture and engagement booster.

So how do you capitalise on both aspects of feedback?

There are different considerations when delivering employee feedback

Positive vs negative feedback

There are two types of feedback that can be delivered to employees: positive feedback and negative feedback. Although choosing the type of feedback to provide employees with should be decided on a case-by-case basis, they both are valuable and respected by employees when executed the right way.

Positive feedback is when the feedback provided to an employee suggests that their behaviour or actions align with company objectives and values. In this case, the purpose of the feedback provided to the employee is to recognize and encourage continual development in this area. Employees view it as a sign of acknowledgement for their contribution to the organisation and are more likely to continue exhibiting those positive traits when they are aware that it is being acknowledged. It’s also useful to allow them to know that this time of behavior is warranted.

On the other hand, negative feedback is when the feedback provided to employees is centered around areas of improvement for their performance. It generally targets specific actions or behaviours that can be improved or need to be improved.

Tips for executing constructive employee feedback

Whilst we know giving feedback can be a very niche area, there are some overlapping guidelines that can be used across the board to give effective feedback.

Firstly, it goes without saying, preparation will set the conversation up for success. Ensuring you are aware of what your intentions are in providing feedback, as well as how you will word it. This will be key in ensuring the feedback is taken as constructive criticism as opposed to intimidation or bullying. Providing specific and well thought out feedback will drive better conversation as opposed to someone that is ‘winging it.’

Secondly, to ensure employees understand why they are being given constructive feedback and that it is appropriate, it is important to recall specific examples of actions or behaviours that you are referring to. As you can imagine, it is much easier to consider feedback reasonable when there are specific examples of times you have exhibited an action or behaviour.

Thirdly, now that there is awareness of the need to improve, providing actionable ways of how this can be done is the ideal next step. This eliminates any guesswork employee’s may face when attempting to change their actions or behaviours to address the feedback. Examples of ideal actions or behaviours can help achieve this.

Finally, the timing of constructive feedback is crucial. Receiving constructive feedback can be daunting for some employees. Ensure that constructive feedback is presented at a time where the employee can take a moment to reflect on it. Keep in mind that they can have an emotional reaction, and account for that as well. Th is will be greatly appreciated as opposed to hearing the feedback immediately before a significant event (such as an important client meeting in 5 minutes).

Effective vs ineffective employee feedback

To compare the differences between ineffective and effective feedback, let’s first look at ineffective feedback.

Feedback is ineffective if it leaves the employee confused, intimidated, or overwhelmed. This can likely do more damage than good.

Now that we know what makes for ineffective feedback, let’s consider the characteristics of effective feedback. Effective feedback is concise, unambiguous and the most importantly, actionable. Effective feedback should guide the employee on what changes to make and why they are necessary.


As you can see, employee feedback is a valuable tool within the workplace when used appropriately. It can be a fantastic cost-effective strategy to improve employee performance, workplace culture and overall engagement. Need a strategy around feedback? Do you want someone to conduct a review of how you’re gathering feedback in your workplace? We can help.

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