Employee feedback is often talked about in the context of helping employees in how well they do something, but it's often forgotten as an aspect of learning and development. Sure, giving employees positive or critical notes on their work and emphasizing their top skills are important, but feedback can also serve as a useful tool that managers can use to direct how employees pick up new skills and develop into your top talent of tomorrow.
So, how can managers and talent leaders get started using feedback as a driver of employee learning and development? Well, it all starts with preparation. Here are three great ways to prepare yourself to give feedback that moves the needle and gets your employees learning, the right way.
Ensure the feedback works for both sides
At a base level, it's important that employee feedback, if it is to encourage development, be thoughtful in its approach.
When a manager delivers feedback to an employee, it needs to work for both parties in the interaction. On the manager's side of the equation, the feedback needs to help to set the manager's expectations. This can be specific and tactical, but can also take the form of addressing how an employee is supporting high-level organizational goals.
On the other side, developmental feedback needs to address the needs of the employee. It needs to aid them in progressing their goals, support their day-to-day tasks, and help to keep the employee focused on the right things. It should also help the employee feel valued and appreciated, emphasize their satisfaction in their work and aid in career growth, all things that will help increase the employee's engagement.
Bear previous feedback in mind
When managers deliver feedback, positive or critical, an often-forgotten aspect to bear in mind is the employee's emotional and mental well-being. For all the positives feedback can provide, a thoughtful approach must be taken when considering the "distribution" of feedback. How often is it coming, how much of it is positive vs. critical, and when is it being delivered?
These considerations can seriously affect not only how well the feedback is received and acted upon, but also the amount of mental or emotional burden being placed on the employee. As a good rule of thumb, managers should practice a 3:1 ratio when delivering feedback: 3 pieces of positive feedback for each critical piece. And feedback should be delivered frequently and at the point of need. This will ensure that employees are always ready to receive and act on feedback.
Ensure everyone adopts a learner's mindset
The two tips above mean nothing if we don't carry the right mindset throughout the entire feedback process. We like to think of people as having one of two mindsets: a fixed or judger's mindset, or a learner's mindset.
Look at the diagram below, taken from my upcoming webinar "3 Best Practices for Delivering Feedback That Guides Development" (coming on February 21!) and think about which person would receive feedback more effectively.
I think it's pretty obvious that a learner's mindset will make for a better feedback experience, for all parties involved! And adopting this way of thinking will help leverage feedback and translate it into employee development, helping your people reach their full potential.
Want to learn more about feedback and employee development?
Join me on February 21 for a free webinar on how you can embrace a proactive feedback experience to take your L&D strategy to the next level. Register for "3 Best Practices for Delivering Feedback That Guides Development" today to reserve your spot!