Two things are true about feedback in the modern workplace:
First, that it's hard to improve without direct and honest feedback about your performance.
And second, that it's very, very hard to ask for it, even when you want it.
Whether you're a seasoned manager or evaluating employee performance for the first time, providing frequent feedback is an instrumental part of developing rapport and trust with your employees. It gives employees a clear sense of where they stand: what they're doing well, what could be improved, and what their future might look like within your organization. And yet in a recent survey by OfficeVibe, 23% of employees said they were unsatisfied with the frequency of feedback coming from their direct manager, and 28% reported that feedback is not frequent enough to help them know how to improve.
As employees increasingly embrace a growth mindset about their work, the sense of responsibility and ownership they have over their performance grows, too. Managers can support and encourage this growth mindset by pointing out the following five best milestones to ask for feedback:
1. Ask for feedback when you… Learn a new skill
When an employee learns a new skill, there's a built-in opportunity to reflect and assess whether or not the skill has been applied correctly. If there's feedback, it's not a criticism of the employee - it's an assessment of how new knowledge has been applied to the situation.
Feedback Tip #1: When an employee sets out to learn a new skill, ask them to identify a mentor or coach who already has that skill and to ask that person for feedback when the task is completed.
[Related: Encouraging Employee Feedback Dos And Don'ts]
2. Ask for feedback when you… Meet a goal or complete a project
Milestones such as giving a presentation, completing a project, or achieving a sales goal are perfect opportunities for employees to receive feedback because they represent a moment where one thing is ending and another thing is beginning. At this moment, there's a built-in need to consider how the project went and how it influences the next step to take - and feedback is an important part of that process.
Feedback Tip #2: Ask employees to schedule a feedback session as a part of the workflow process for projects with a formal structure to them. Getting feedback as a part of the project process means they'll receive it when it's relevant and see it as routine.
3. Ask for feedback when you… don't get the promotion
It's undoubtedly demoralizing for employees to be passed over for promotions. But as all managers know, sometimes great employees with high potential just aren't the right fit for a given opportunity. Coach employees to see these moments in their career as opportunities to capture more information about their candidacy and track record within the company.
Feedback Tip #3: Assure employees that asking for feedback when they've been passed over for a promotion demonstrates that they have a growth mindset and will always look for ways to develop, learn, and grow.
4. Ask for feedback when you… Meet with peers
Colleagues often have a wealth of knowledge about an employee's workplace competencies, skills, and accomplishments, but there's rarely an appropriate moment to offer those insights. Encourage employees to request feedback from individuals they partner up with in meaningful ways, or those who they interact with regularly. Receiving feedback from colleagues may help employees identify areas for improvement and get guidance on how to overcome shared challenges.
Feedback Tip #4: Find ways to use technology to foster an environment where employees regularly capture input from each other, such as a dedicated Teams or Slack channel for kudos and suggestions, or pair employees for rotating peer feedback meetings.
5. Ask for feedback when you… Meet with stakeholders
Help your employees identify the stakeholders whose impressions are most important to their role, and encourage them to ask them for their input. Clients, prospects, vendors, and leaders in different departments will all have different contributions to make about an employee's performance than the employee's direct manager.
Feedback Tip #5: Point out to employees that seeking feedback is a powerful way to develop important relationships and build trust with colleagues and leaders throughout the organization.
Building a Feedback-Friendly Organization
Don't limit feedback to an exercise for annual performance reviews. Help employees identify the situations to request feedback and encourage them to proactively ask for it. Not only will you see better performance, but you'll also empower them to take charge of their career development and satisfaction at a whole new level.
How managers at your organization actively support and develop their direct reports matters and will show up in company reviews. To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Account today.