Giving Feedback to Employees? Hold Them Accountable

Posted by Lauren • March 10, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 4 min read

Giving feedback to employees can be a rewarding experience. As a manager, you are directly involved with career development that is, in some cases, life-changing. Performance conversations give managers the opportunity to build on their relationships with their teams and strategize the road to future success. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?


Well, of course, but getting to the point in performance feedback conversations where there is a mutual understanding of what an employee did well, not so well and how to improve for the future is hard. Managers are busy and it can be difficult to keep yourself accountable for following up with employees when they should be recognized for an achievement or addressing a mistake before a snowball effect tarnishes an employee’s work record. But, how do we create a work environment that thrives on accountability? Here are three ideas to get you started so that giving feedback to employees goes off without a hitch.


1. Use Corrective Feedback

One of the first steps in creating an accountable workforce is giving feedback to employees that will  influence employee performance. A recent study by Zenger/Folkman reveals employees have a stronger desire to receive corrective feedback than they do praise. In fact, nearly 60 percent of respondents felt this way. As expressed by the authors, corrective feedback is:

…suggestions for improvement, explorations of new and better ways to do things, or pointing out something that was done in a less-than-optimal way…

  • Here’s a tip: Prepare your words carefully before approaching an employee with feedback. Take one critique and write down three to five different ways to explain the problem. Then, choose the one that takes a more corrective approach. Practicing with a colleague is a great way to work on your tone and inflection. Good employee evaluation software lets you create custom forms for reviews. Use this to your advantage to make the process more constructive and efficient.

Read about How a Performance Review System Promotes Continual Learning


2. Assist with Employee Goal Setting

With corrective feedback comes the next step: goal setting. Did you know, according to recent Gallup research, a shocking 50 percent of employees don’t feel confident about what is expected of them at work? Do something with the feedback you’ve provided your employee. It’s one thing to point out that something isn’t being done right and more optimal ways to achieve the desired outcome, but it’s an entirely new challenge to develop a plan of action to get the wheels turning on that corrective feedback. Often, setting employee goals helps resolve other areas in need of improvement simply because the goal-setting process has created a heightened sense of accountability.

  • Here’s a tip: Take the feedback from this step and dissect it. Walk through the problem with the employee and figure out the root cause. Ask a lot of questions about their work process and encourage them to make suggestions in the goal setting process. Be involved and offer as much support as you can toward making this goal achievable. It’s a lot to keep tabs on, but there is employee evaluation software with features such as performance journals and goal cascading that make it much easier to track and achieve goals.

Read: A Step-By-Step Guide to Hiring for Cultural Fit


3. Increase the Frequency of Feedback

According to recent research by Bersin by Deloitte, 54 percent of organizations admit their employees revise their goals just once a year, if at all. Another study reveals 85 percent of Millennials, who make up one-third of the workforce, would feel more confident in their work if their managers had more frequent performance conversations. See where this is headed? Annual reviews are not bad, but their reactive goal setting and feedback conversations stunt productivity and drive employees to take more advantageous opportunities with other companies.

  • Here’s a tip: Now that you know what kind of feedback to give, start giving more of it. Employees want to take corrective action in real-time. This will strengthen your team faster and more effectively. Don’t let valuable learning lessons fall through the cracks because of lack of communication. Take the opportunities as they arise. Better yet, find an employee evaluation software with real-time feedback capabilities. This way employees have documented conversations to refer to and an accountability system to keep them on track.

Giving feedback to employees takes organization, effort and guts. Ease the burden by setting up your team to be more accountable for their current and future performance. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can revel in the finer things in management like building on relationships and witnessing career development.


Looking for a more accountable workforce? Let Trakstar help! Our employee evaluation software gives employees the tools to keep them on the path to success.


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