Most businesses do employee feedback in the form of a yearly review. It’s what they’ve heard someone else does and by making it yearly, they only have Schedule time for it once a year.

But there are a few issues with that.

First, you’re showing that you don’t value it if you’re thinking trends towards only making time for it once a year.

Second, so many times it’s all focused on things that went wrong. Sometimes it’s something that went wrong 11 months ago. My wife had a review like that once and the issue that was brought up she had been repeating for ten more months. The owners had continued to get more annoyed about it, but my wife never knew it was an issue at all.

They set her up for failure.

So what does good employee feedback look like?

Good Feedback is Constant

Good employee feedback is constant. I’m not saying every single day, and maybe not a formal session every week even.

I recommend that you sit down with those you manage quarterly. Quarterly is enough time that progress has been made, and you can have something to talk discuss.

That’s just for the formal sessions though. You should be talking to each of the people you manage regularly; the exact frequency depends on their needs.

Where one employee may want to be more autonomous, another may need weekly quick sessions to touch base. You must know those you manage to decide the perfect frequency to touch base.

Use these more frequent sessions to help keep them on track for their big goals for the quarter. Offer feedback, but listen to them and what they need. Your job as a manager is to bring out the best in those you manage.

Good Feedback starts with review

The start of every feedback session starts with a review. Review the goals from the last formal session and see where they measure up or don’t.

The point is to hold them accountable, but not to berate them. Because you’re doing this quarterly, you should have clear recent examples where they have failed to meet expectations, and where they have excelled.

Good Feedback looks at the future

Looking at the future is the most crucial part of a feedback/review session. It’s not review, in fact, the review portion should only take 10 – 15 minutes. Looking forward is the meat of the meeting.

Look forward with them and help them set their goals for the next quarter. What will their sales be? How many words will they write?

Your job as a manager here is to push them to their maximum potential. You need to make sure that the goals you set together are realistic, but a stretch. Don’t let them get away with easy to achieve goals.

Remember, that you must support them in the goals. You need to use your more regular check-in times to make sure that they have the resources they need and if they don’t ensure that they get those resources.

The goals are 98% on them, and 2% on you. You still bear responsibility for them.

Effective Feedback is Private

Finally, effective feedback is mostly a private affair. If you’re using feedback in a big group to call someone out for failing, you’re a bad manager.

We focus so much on being a team that we forget that everyone needs personal attention. Forget the saying “There is no I in team.”

A good manager dives in with each person they are responsible for and meets them where they are. You help them become their best self.

Now, drop the yearly review. Sit down with the people you manage more regularly and make sure that they get the feedback they need to do their job well. Make sure that they have the resources they need to hit their goals.

Finally, make sure that you give them the individual attention they need to succeed.

Have an awesome day!


photo credit: kwl cc