5 Employee Feedback Tips for Clearer Career Progression

Posted by Julie • June 21, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 4 min read

Four in 10 employees believe they will need to leave their current organization to see any career advancement.

How many employees do you have on your team, in your department, in the company as a whole? No matter your size, hearing that nearly half your employees might possibly feel there is no way to advance their skills within your organization without leaving is frightening.

Especially since 41% of those employees were formally named high potential employees. It would make sense that your brightest, motivated employees are the ones most concerned with career development. What doesn’t make sense is the lack of clarity around how to continuously grow and retain these individuals.

Read more on how career development is a timeless performance management strategy.

Want to keep your best employees? Help them see their career progression with these employee feedback tips…

1. Goal-Setting

Actively setting goals does more than just keep everyone hitting deadlines. Thoughtfully established goals drive engagement. If want to begin showing an employee that you see them playing a different or bigger role in your organization, then setting a goal for it would be the first step in seeing that through. Assist them in setting higher goals for themselves as they meet existing objectives. Don’t forget to ask employees what their goals are as well. They might surprise you with the projects they want to take on.


2. Encourage Tough Talks

A great leader never shies away from difficult conversations. Managers may be nervous or put off the meeting until the end of the day or week, but never do they complete brush conflict under the rug. When it comes to things like mistakes or drops in performance, employees need to hear the truth in order to move forward in their careers. In fact, a study highlighted by Harvard Business Review stated only 43% of employees preferred praise/recognition and when asked what was most helpful in their career, 72% said they thought their performance would improve if their managers would provide corrective feedback. Most shocking? 92% of the respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”

As the one delivering less than stellar news, it might feel as though you’re saying the recipient is backtracking in your organization, but that’s not the case. Employees know that leaders offer guidance to those they see as an integral part of their organization. Ensure any critique given is meant to direct them to growth within the organization.

Read these 7 facts before scheduling your next employee performance reviews.

3. Be Transactional

Following the above tip, employee feedback should always be a two-way street. It’s not all about the tough times, though, sometimes it takes asking questions and soliciting opinions. If you know you have a talented employee in your midst but don’t know what it will take to keep him or her happy and engaged, then ask. It might feel like you’re admitting you don’t know how to lead the employee, but what you are instead doing is allowing them to take the driver seat in their future with your company. In fact, you’re more apt to prove you can identify talent when you see it. Top performers want to be challenged and chances are, those top performers want to be recognized. Tom Gimbel writes on Entrepreneur:

“Work is like exercise.  People stop doing it when they don’t see great results.  The reason usually is, because they aren’t pushing themselves hard enough.”


4. Have a Schedule for Employee Appraisals

Employee feedback should be given often and in many forms, including appreciation and acknowledgment of accomplishments. Of course, no matter how fluid the feedback, it will never be a worthy supplement of performance appraisals in a successful performance management program. Why? Because performance reviews are anticipated.

Set dates or average time increments (i.e. every 3 months) give employees a date to mark on their calendar. It allows them the chance to plan out the direction they would like the conversation to go, including concerns they have with their current position or aspirations they have in their career. Make a habit of following a format that covers those topics each time so employees know to expect certain questions.

Read more things your performance management system should upgrade this year.

5. Track Progress

There is no way to tell if all your goals are accomplished unless there is some form of measurement of success. Sometimes it can be quantified while other times it’s more about crossing off deliverables in a timely manner. Whatever the case, all goals should receive follow-up. Half of the managers surveyed admitted to having difficulty driving employee accountability, but 72% of employees say performance would improve if managers found an effective way to keep them on course. The increase in performance comes from an understanding of what their work means to the company as a whole. If workers notice that their list of unfinished tasks go unnoticed, they begin to feel their completion isn’t important and, in turn, neither is their job.


If you are interested in helping your employees hone their skills and grow within your organization, Trakstar’s performance management system can help. Take a demo to see what we mean.

Don't Miss Out on More Great HR Articles!

Subscribe to get the latest, greatest HR and Talent Development content straight to your inbox.