Taking the time to produce and deliver feedback to employees regularly is a sign of a good manager who is committed to getting the most out of their team. And one of the most rewarding parts of the job is getting to recognise a team members great work, but what about when there’s room for improvement?

Giving feedback to an employee—or, in some cases, an entire team—which identifies where there is room for improvement might not be the best part of the managerial role, but it is vital. No matter how great a team, how engaged they are and how invested they are in their employers’ vision, there’s always the capacity to get better.

And it’s the job of the manager to bring this to light. But doing so has the potential to be detrimental to staff morale, engagement and productivity. There’s a fine line between making your staff aware of where they need to improve and getting them on the defensive.

From what you say to the way you say it, giving feedback is a skill that takes experience to perfect. But if you want to give great constructive feedback that builds—rather than breaks—your team, read on.

In this blog post, StaffConnect shares its insight and experience to share tips on creating and delivering the perfect constructive feedback phrases.

The importance of constructive feedback

Feedback which helps better your employees is vital for their development. From the hard-skill knowledge required for their role to the soft skill attributes that help them work well within their team, bringing room for improvement to light—in the right way—is they key to helping them improve in their role, bettering their impact on your business and opening doors for them to greater things, such as promotions and additional responsibility.

But more than this, feedback can help motivate your employees. Room for improvement—when communicated in the right way—can give your team motivation, a higher level of engagement and the sense of value needed to feel happy and content in their role in the business.

The danger of destructive feedback

But when we say that feedback needs to be communicated in the right way, we really do mean it. Constructive feedback, as the name suggests, is a review of performance which helps and encourages improvement. However, if these comments aren’t phrased correctly or are delivered in the wrong way, they can have the opposite effect.

Destructive feedback is worse than no feedback at all. In fact, destructive feedback will:

  • Annoy your employees
  • Reduce workplace morale
  • Decrease productivity
  • Lead to disengagement
  • Increase absenteeism
  • See a rise in staff turnover

Although destructive feedback might bring attention to a problem, it does nothing to solve it. Instead, it simply leaves employees confused at what they’ve done wrong, makes them feel as though they can’t do their job properly, damages your relationship with them and reduces their investment in your business.

Creating constructive feedback phrases

Of course, no good manager wants their employees to feel this way. But destructive feedback isn’t always intentional. Simply the wrong choice of words or tone of voice can lead to feedback coming across in the wrong way.

As such, managers who’re offering feedback, whether that be in a one-on-one performance meeting or morning team meeting, need to think about what they’re saying through in extreme detail, analysing almost every word.

Providing a list of all constructive feedback phrases to use with your employees isn’t practical. Every scenario is different and requires a bespoke approach, but we can use our insight to give you the basic formula to follow.

Clarify the area for improvement

Bringing your employees attention to areas for improvement isn’t easy, but it is a necessity. The key here is to take an objective approach to the issue at hand, without making it personal. Outlining the issue is the key to solving it, so make sure you get to the point and make the issue clear.

╳ ‘Why don’t you get as much work done as everyone else?’

✓ ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been less engaged recently…’

Give reason for your feedback

If you’re giving your employees constructive feedback, you need to provide a reason why. Otherwise, it can seem like you’re pointlessly picking up on nothing of worth. Saying why improvement in the area is needed can help your staff to understand why they need to work in this area.

╳ ‘Why don’t you get as much work done as everyone else?’

✓ ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been less engaged recently. This is having a knock on effect on your productivity…’

Gather examples

If you’ve noticed an employee isn’t working to their full potential, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re aware. As such, yu need to have exact examples of where they’re falling short, so you can offer these as evidence for your feedback.

╳ ‘Why don’t you get as much work done as everyone else?’

✓ ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been less engaged recently. This is having a knock on effect on your productivity. For instance, last week you only worked through 60% of your allocated tasks…’

Provide a solution

It’s all very well telling your team there’s a problem, but this does nothing if you don’t offer a way to resolve it. Coming up with a possible solution to the problem at hand shows you care and want to help them overcome this barrier.

╳ ‘Why don’t you get as much work done as everyone else?’

✓ ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been less engaged recently. This is having a knock on effect on your productivity. For instance, last week you only worked through 60% of your allocated tasks. Is there anything I can do to help you through this? Perhaps some additional support or more regular catch ups?…’

Talk it through

Giving great constructive feedback is only half the job. You need to talk this through with your employee, hear their side of the story and work together to come to a solution for the feedback to be fully effective. Discussing the issue and how to overcome it in a collaborative way can strengthen you manager-employee relationship and produce the desired results.

╳ ‘Why don’t you get as much work done as everyone else?’

✓ ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been less engaged recently. This is having a knock on effect on your productivity. For instance, last week you only worked through 60% of your allocated tasks. Is there anything I can do to help you through this? Perhaps some additional support or more regular catch ups? What do you think about this?’

Get StaffConnect

Make sure your team can flag up issues, you can communicate with them effectively and everyone’s engagement stays as high as possible with StaffConnect. The StaffConnect mobile platform has been created by a team of internal communications, HR and technology professionals to ensure it helps organisations to effectively and easily communicate with their employees, wherever they are.

If you would like to know more about how StaffConnect can help your business, get in touch or request a demo now.

Sign up for the latest insights