Henry Ford once said that “enthusiasm is the basis of all progress”. This quote is all the more true in the corporate world, where entrepreneurs have an interest in maintaining the enthusiasm of their employees to achieve proportionate results.
After numerous studies (in particular Hinkin & Schriesheim 2004 “The effect of management nonresponse to employee performance”), it was discovered that the management process of not commenting on employee performance (positively or negatively) had a negative impact on employee effectiveness and satisfaction and, at the same time, on company results. The importance of feedback then appears.
What is the feedback?
Feedback is an anglicism that refers to the action of returning an effect. In companies, feedback represents comments ( either good or bad) on the performance of the employees discussed above.
Studies have shown that feedback is a significant factor in improving the performance of employees, business leaders and organizations in general.
Both professionally and personally, it is important to “know” how to express what you think. It is not enough to give an opinion about this or that. Certain rules and fundamentals must be respected so that all feedback, good or bad, is constructive.
The reason for the feedback before the procedure
Before learning to give feedback, it is important to know why it is important and beneficial to provide it. Beyond the increase in company performance, feedback brings many internal benefits, among them:
- Increased staff motivation. Positive or negative, feedback ( if it is well done) will increase the motivation of your team.
- Greater productivity. Proportionally to the increase in motivation, productivity will follow the trend because it is well known that a “motivated worker is a productive worker”.
- Greater commitment to the organization. In a way, an employee who knows what he or she is doing right or wrong will be a more satisfied employee who will recognize himself or herself in the company. By identifying more closely with the organization, you will increase your commitment to it.
- Evolution and change. Constructive feedback will encourage teams to change in the right direction, knowing what they are doing well, badly or can improve.
- Increased communication. Implementing regular feedback will increase exchanges between superiors and employees.
A good leader needs to know how to motivate his workers and feedback can be a good tool to demonstrate this ability.
It is proven that there are different ways to increase productivity and efficiency in a business, either by introducing advanced technologies (such as artificial intelligence, intelligent cloud PBX, etc.) or by motivating your workers.
Unlike corrective (or negative) feedback, positive feedback is based on reinforcing appropriate behaviours that employees may not necessarily be aware of.
Being praised for your strengths leads to positive dynamics even if there are weaknesses. Let me explain: positive feedback must also be accompanied by constructive criticism to reinforce the positive and improve the negative.
While in corrective feedback the employee is defensive and discouraged (“I don’t know how to do it and I won’t get there”), positive feedback increases personal satisfaction and motivation to improve performance (“I do it well and I can do it even better”).
The 5 fundamentals of positive feedback
In order to obtain the favourable climate provided by the positive feedback technique, certain conditions or fundamentals must be taken into account:
1.Establish a feedback calendar.
Improvisation of feedback is not recommended. To ensure the responsiveness of your employees, you need to plan when and how feedback will be provided. Every week? Every month? Individually? In a group? Employees should be notified in advance to psychologically prepare for this interview. The character of each person should be taken into account and the attitude to be adopted (more or less demanding or relaxed) should be planned in advance.
2.Avoid value judgments.
The employee should feel that the comments made are the result of various evaluations in different situations. Feedback cannot be based on a single bad day the individual has had but should be evaluated as a whole and by as many people as possible. A company manager who is not in the office every day will not be able to evaluate alone all his employees who probably have the most qualified managers for this task. These interviews should form a sincere opinion with a constructive objective to find solutions….. The conclusion should never be “black or white. Always try to comment on the good and the bad. What if there is only bad news? You will no longer need feedback but a letter of dismissal.
3.Make a personalized criticism in positive comments.
Feedback cannot, under any circumstances, affect an employee’s self-esteem or make them behave defensively. The fact that it closes on itself will not help you in any way in your improvement process and the correction of negative points will only be more difficult. An employee’s willingness to change will depend on the terms used to describe their job. Global comments will not be useful: you must know how to get to the bottom of your thinking and give your words a concrete perspective. The analysis of why something is positive or negative is essential for the employee to understand what he or she is doing well and what needs to change.
4.Be descriptive without too much detail.
Feedback should be complete, specific, and “relativized”. Be sure to put everything on the scale, whether it’s good or bad. The more concrete your words are, the more productive the feedback will be. You must help your employee to realize for himself what he is doing, bring him to the field and when he realizes for himself, the changes will be obvious. In addition, this method helps to strengthen the esteem of the affected person, as he or she finds the problem and the solution for himself or herself “without help”.
5.Sensitize with concrete questions.
The interview should not be a monologue from the manager to a silent and frightened employee. Involve your contacts. Make them think of solutions. Think about their performance. Don’t come to the interview with solutions to their problems. Explain your point of view to them and let them find the solutions on their own. The employee should not feel intimidated or forbidden: ask specific questions and let them express themselves. At the end of the interview, ask your team what they think of the feedback and, if necessary, correct some points that could have been misinterpreted.
By concentrating on the strengths of your employees during the various Feedbacks throughout the year, you will no longer be the feared leader, but a valuable coach.
By applying these 5 fundamentals of positive feedback, you will be able to correct and complete your team’s weaknesses to improve their motivation, productivity and, at the same time, the performance of the company in general.