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7 Tips to Give Negative Feedback to Employees

6 min read

Performance Reviews Can Be An Incredible Way To Boost Employee Morale And Productivity.

This can help in retaining employees for the long run. For this, it needs to be done right.

Giving a good review is easy. But there are times when employees also need to be told about their shortcomings. Handling such situations effectively is crucial, or else it might end up hurting employee sentiments.

Here are some tips on how you can give negative feedback during performance reviews effectively:

1. Ask Employees To Self-Evaluate

Before delving deeper into the issues causing negative behavior, first try to understand what the employee thinks about the same. Ask your employees to complete a self-assessment before you meet with them. This will help you see how they perceive their own work and themselves. It will help you become aware of whether your thoughts align with their thoughts or not. And keeping that in mind, you can choose your responses accordingly.

For instance, if there are issues where there is contention, do not bring them up immediately. Start the conversation with the issues you share common grounds with.

2. Counteract Negative Feedback With Positive

This is very crucial. If you have negative feedback for your employee, make sure you do not say it all out together. Stockpiling negative feedback can be disastrous. It can make the conversation filled with criticism and complaint and might make things uncomfortable. Make sure you highlight the positive things and place the negative within it very categorically so that it does not feel like a huge blow for the employee.

3. Be Objective

It is very important to not get personal or use subjective bias while delivering a negative feedback. BE as objective and neutral in your approach as possible. Do not cite personal comments, judgments or observations during the conversation. State issues that relate to just the work and the performance of the employee. Do not use a chance to give negative feedback as a way to vent out your own worries and insecurities.

4. Listen Attentively

Feedback is not a one-way street. It is a process where both parties need to be given a fair chance to communicate whatever it is that they are going through. If you are giving negative feedback, do not be the only one to speak. Listen attentively to what your employee has to say. Probe further on those points and understand what exactly is the problem. Effective feedback requires paying attention to the employee and being empathetic to the situation. Only then can feedback be genuine and can help change employee behavior towards something better.

5. Choose The Timing Carefully

The timing for the feedback should be comfortable to both parties. Do not announce that there is going to be a spontaneous review. Make it convenient and schedule the meeting beforehand. The timing is crucial as delivering bad reviews is as difficult as receiving it. So make sure the timing does not clash with things your employee is already stressed about. Choose a calm spot for the meeting and make sure both you and the employee are well prepared for it.

6. Be Honest

Your employees are not stupid. They know when something is genuine and when it’s not. If they figure out the feedback is false, they will lose faith in the entire system. It will not only diminish the value of what you say but also the way the entire organization views feedback. This is why you need to be honest, kind and sincere. Make sure you give examples to substantiate your points so that there is a tangible background to what you are saying.

7. Be Specific

Negative feedback cannot be vague with ambiguous adjectives such as “not satisfactory,” “lack of creativity,” “not up to the mark” etc. The feedback needs to be very specific and substantiated with achievements, especially when it is negative.  Ambiguous feedback can be interpreted in a lot of ways. This is why you need to make your point very clearly so that there is no room for confusion. For example, you can say, “You did very well with the sales numbers last year. In fact, you were in the top 10%. But this year, you have not shown a similar success. The numbers have dropped by almost 30%. Is there any issue you are facing?.”

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    A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.


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