Nobody Says Anything Along the Way

One of the most important things you can do to learn more about giving effective employee recognition is to talk to your employees.

Yep, I know, pretty profound advice, right? But it works.

Your employees want to hear how they are doing on a regular basis and not wait until the end. And they want to receive positive feedback.

Employees will frequently tell me that their existing recognition programs typically only kick in when you have done something “above and beyond”. Another scenario is they only get recognized or rewarded when projects are completed or you and your team just scored a major win.

But projects and business achievements like that take a long time coming.

Employees share that with the long-term nature of these projects and business wins, no one says anything to them along the way.

Here they are giving you a powerful recommendation.

They want feedback.

It seems 20% of employees are not confident they will receive regular and constructive feedback from their manager.

And there are direct benefits to giving more frequent feedback to employees. According to Gallup, companies who give regular employee feedback have lower turnover. In fact, the turnover rates are 14.9% lower than with employees who receive no feedback at all.

Why does so little or no feedback happen?

For example, there may be a lack of regular accountability on the projects. And even if there is, there is little or no probing to solicit progress points meriting feedback.

Managers and supervisors may not have direct oversight of their employees on a regular basis to even know what they are doing. Employees will say their manager doesn’t even know my job anymore as it has changed so much from the original job description.

And many managers simply don’t know how to give good feedback.

Here are some quick pointers to get on top of this crying need employees have for better and more frequent feedback.

  • Hold regular one-on-one meetings with your employees or at least with managers or supervisors to learn what and how employees are doing.
  • Go easy on the complaints and negative feedback. Most of us know when we made a mistake and we don’t want our noses dragged through them, especially in public. Use questions to identify what they could do differently.
  • Request your managers and supervisors give you daily or weekly reports on observations they have made of employees making a difference.
  • Pass along second-hand compliments that you hear about employees directly to the employee.
  • Whenever another manager or supervisor speaks highly of an employee encourage them to stop by and tell the employee or send an email.
  • Use your social recognition platform as a way to add comments and validation to the great work that peers comment on.
  • Take just half-an-hour at the end of each day to write a note, send an email or make a call to thank employees you have heard deserve some positive feedback.
  • Make some walk-arounds and go prepared with some notations about employees in the area you’re visiting so you can give direct praise and commendation.
  • Managers of high performing teams give 5 times more positive comments than negative in their feedback.
  • Monitor how focused you are on asking questions to find out things rather than asserting what you think you know.
  • Don’t make employee feedback all about you and what you know and have done. This is about them – the employee!
  • The key to great feedback is to be supportive and encouraging of the individual no matter how the work is going.

Question: What other feedback methods have you seen work well?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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