Be Thankful for These Employee Feedback Best Practices

Posted by Julie • December 6, 2016 (Last modified March 24, 2023) • 3 min read

Employee feedback is hard to get right, especially without any guidance. However, it’s vital that your employee feedback is curated, and delivered, just right;  A CareerBuilder survey found that 50% of employees believed better recognition would lead to less voluntary turnover.


It’s time to stop thinking of feedback in the same old once-a-year way, and instead think of it as an ongoing workplace conversation. In this season of gratitude, you can be thankful that best practices for feedback are so readily available and easy to access. Take a gander at a few we’ve cooked up:


#1: Recognition should be seasoned with thoughtfulness and specificity

Once upon a time, giving an employee an annual pat on the back and a “you’re doing great, pal,” was all it took, but that doesn’t cut it anymore. A lot rides on feedback and recognition: employee engagement, productivity and workplace happiness, just to name a few. If they want to improve engagement, 58% of employees said that leaders should “give more recognition.”


Relate your feedback to specific projects and tasks so your employee knows that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Moreover, match the volume of your recognition to the amount of effort put in by the employee, and what the results are. Bigger and tougher projects call for bigger rewards for performance, like going out to lunch or a team outing.


#2: Make sure everyone has a seat at the table with peer-to-peer feedback

In most cases, your employees interact with each other far more often than they interact with you, which is why peer-to-peer feedback is so important. In fact, companies with peer-to-peer recognition are 35% more likely to report lower turnover than companies without.


You can’t keep track of everything your employees do, but their coworkers are likely to notice each other’s efforts. There may be a few unsung heroes of your office whose quiet determination might otherwise go unnoticed. 360-degree feedback systems help to unify a team and build a culture of recognition and support in a way where no one has to be hungry for feedback.


#3 Feedback should be more like pumpkin pie, and less like brussel sprouts

This goes along with making feedback an ongoing conversation. Once a year reviews are almost always unappetizing (and occasionally downright scary) because employees don’t know what to expect. A once-a-month chat is sweet, cozy, and offers fewer surprises.


If you’re looking for a way to spice up the way you do your check-ins, we have a few ideas. For more visual employees, try creating a word cloud with the words most often used to describe that employee. For introverts, use an intranet system so that they can see and “like” praise and feedback that their employees are receiving, and even quietly offer some praise themselves.


#4: Pair individual goals with organizational and business goals

Any wine drinker knows that the wrong pairing can throw off a meal; any good manager knows that correctly paired goals are what make a good employee. Individual goals should always be aligned with the larger company goals. For example, if your business emphasizes teamwork, help your employees make goals to collaborate more with their coworkers.


Managers know that specific and attainable goals are vital to employee performance. Also known as “SMART” goals, these help to define what both you and the employee want to ultimately accomplish. Don’t put this one on the back burner. Miscommunication, as a result of misaligned goals, cost businesses an average of $37 billion a year.


According to a recent study, 65% of managers believe that money is the primary driving factor in employee performance, but studies of employees show that isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, 69% of employees said that they would work harder and be more productive if they simply felt that their efforts were better recognized.


Follow these best practices, and giving employee feedback doesn’t have to be as difficult as putting together a 5-course meal. Treat your work family right this Thanksgiving by giving them feedback that’s truly sweet.



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