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Topic: Leadership

How to give effective employee feedback.

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As a leader, your connection to your employees is the foundation of a meaningful experience, but oftentimes new leaders are promoted to their role because they are good at a certain skill, not because they are particularly skilled at leading others. It takes time, experience, and practice to learn to inspire and motivate others to be and do their best. A crucial part of this starts with giving feedback. Check out five of the latest best practices from O.C. Tanner’s Global Culture Report to help guide you through effective employee feedback. 

“Employees with a high confidence level in their leadership are 5x more likely to remain with their employer more than 2 years compared to employees with no confidence.”

—US Employee, Qualtrics

Make it frequent. 

Don’t wait until the annual performance review to give feedback. The average employee participates in a performance review, but only 15% of employees actually participate in annual, quarterly, and regular one-on-one meetings with their leader. Only 60% of employees say their performance is fairly assessed at their organization, and over half wish they could have more conversations with their leaders about their development. Regular one-on-one conversations with leaders and ongoing formal reviews provide opportunities to align employees’ work to the organization’s purpose. They give leaders a chance to talk about opportunities for development and growth, teach what success looks like, and show appreciation for great work.

“If you’re a high performer, [the performance review] is missing a discussion about where you want to take your career and how your manager can help you get to the next level. A deeper review of my performance motivates me and helps me learn.”

– Senior Director of Alliances, Financial Company

Lead by influence. 

Modern day leadership is falling short and there’s a big difference in leaders who lead by telling people what to do, and leaders who lead by influence. Many employees feel a strong difference between managers who tell them what to work on and leaders who help them accomplish something great. One of the most useful things you can do is start to focus on career development with your employees. Try assigning special projects to help highlight an individual’s specific talents and invite them to participate in something new.

When an employee participates in a special project and excels, they are 34% more likely to believe they have the opportunity to do their best work.

Be transparent. 

Now is the time to answer any questions and concerns, to the best of your ability, that your employees may have. This helps your employees feel more aligned with leadership and builds trust. If your employee has an issue, come up with a solution or a plan during the conversation. Then, check back in periodically to see how it is going.

Leaders that fail to be open and honest with employees see 64% decreased odds of employees staying at their current organization.

Make it personal. 

Just like with development and growth, employee feedback can be a touchpoint for leaders to support overall employee wellbeing and strengthening the leader-employee relationship. During one-on-ones, check in with your employees mentally and emotionally. Ask them how they are feeling about their current role and work load. Are they stressed out? Do they need assistance? Employees feel more appreciated and supported if they feel like their leaders are advocating for them in all aspects of their work life.

77% of employees felt their leaders were strong advocates for their personal development when the leader took time to get to know them.

Give recognition. 

After all is said and done, show you appreciate them by having an impromptu recognition moment. Recognition provides an opportunity for you as a leader to let them know everything you have been discussing is not going unnoticed.

When leaders effectively recognize their people, employees have 331% higher odds of believing that their leader supports them through mistakes.



Remembering these five aspects the next time you prepare for a one-on-one will help you give effective, meaningful, and intentional employee feedback. For more insights like these, download the Global Culture Report here.

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