Catch People in the Act
One of the most well documented
principles of behavioral psychology is that feedback is most effective when it
is given immediately following a behavior.
Annual performance reviews should
contain no surprises. These meetings should be a summation of discussions that
have taken place throughout the year.
Focus on Behavior,
Feedback should be a discussion of
specifically-observed behavior rather than an evaluation of employee's
personality. For example, it is much more effective to say, "you did a great
job proofreading the report yesterday and catching those typos" than it is to
say, "you have very good attention to detail."
Supervisors should view their role as
an employee coach, developer, and teacher. They should not expect the human
resource department to take on these responsibilities. Acting as a mentor is
much more constructive than playing the role of judge or jury. It also is a
much easier modus operandi.
Skip the Money Part
Salary and bonuses, of course, are
very important to employees, but they also want constructive feedback. Salary
decisions are influenced by many factors outside the control of the supervisor
or the employee. Therefore, discussions about money and performance should be
Discussions, Not Lectures
Employees should be involved in
setting their own performance goals and articulating plans for their own
professional development. Supervisors should talk about the behavior they have
observed, but also ask employees for their views of areas where improvements
can be made. By involving the employee in their own development, he or she will
be more likely to make improvements.
Commit to Making
Ongoing Feedback as an Important Part of Your Job
Ongoing performance feedback is
critically important for employee development thus supervisors who are
unwilling to make it a major part of their job should be stripped of their