The value of feedback in an employee engagement strategy is immense. Employee engagement is the most important lever you can pull to move your organization, business, or team to the next level. Perhaps your most valuable asset is your team of people. As a leader, your goal should be to move those team members to their most productive and engaged level. A valuable component of an effective employee engagement strategy is providing feedback to your employees. Feedback will lead to a noticeable return on your investment. The positive results for your effort will surprise you.
If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck in the arena of employee engagement, providing feedback to those you lead is right at the top of the list. Feedback is a mighty tool you can use to help improve the communication that’s so needed to help start to fully engage an employee and make them feel like their work is important.
Feedback is something just about every parent or pet owner knows and often gives without even thinking about it. We provide positive feedback every time we’re teaching our new puppy to sit, go outside to use the bathroom, or take a treat gently from our hand. We comment to our children how happy we are with them when they have behaved well at the restaurant table or when they’ve gotten an A on the test. In those cases, we hope that by providing positive feedback, we’ll continue to see the type of positive behaviors about which we’re providing the feedback.
But are we doing as good a job of it when it comes to providing feedback and communicating to those we lead in the workplace? Here are some things we need to ask ourselves.
You could be surprised to hear how your employees might answer those questions regarding their experience with you.
Gallup's research shows that managers don't spend enough time communicating with and providing feedback to their direct reports. For example, 53% of employees don't have a clear understanding of how their role contributes to their company's objectives. More than half (54%) also believe their colleagues appreciate them more than their supervisors or company executives do. Wow!
A common complaint from employees is how much feedback (or, really how little!) they get from their managers. A recent study by The Predictive Index showed that employees are happy to receive feedback, yet 44% of managers are ignoring this vital engagement trend and give very little of it. These managers appear to be erring on the side of giving too little feedback and only 8% err on the side of too much feedback. The takeaway is that employees crave feedback and managers are better off giving more rather than less.
As leaders, we intuitively know that we have an enormous impact on an employee’s workplace experience and productivity. Feedback—both formal and informal—is necessary to help team members perform at their best and to feel that what they do adds value.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, your employee wants feedback from you. They want to know how they’re doing—what’s going well and what they need to work to improve on. Your job is to provide constructive feedback about areas in which they’re excelling as well as areas where improvement is needed. Actively providing feedback to each employee will take meaningful, authentic, and open conversations. Every single one of us wants to be noticed and feel that we’re known. Providing feedback will help them realize that you’re paying attention to them.
Here’s one important tip: don’t wait for scheduled evaluations. Think of the title of Ken Blanchard’s book, Catch People Doing Something Right. When you notice world-class behavior or performance, point it out and praise them immediately. That’s the essence of positive feedback within an effective employee engagement strategy. Positive feedback as well as constructive criticism help people feel valued. This feedback, given quickly, will empower your team to continue to move your business to the next level.
Reach out to me if you would like to chat more about ways you can implement an effective feedback element to your employee engagement strategy. When planned and carried out thoughtfully, this component will be rewarding to everyone involved.
In my next post, we’ll discuss the trend of work/life balance within an effective employee engagement strategy.