How to Effectively Give Feedback to Employees

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Have you ever tried to give one of your employees feedback only to have that individual get defensive and close up? If so, you’re not alone. There are several reasons employees have trouble receiving feedback from their higher-ups. One is that they are more sensitive to the opinions of their superiors. Another is that people in general do not like criticism. The good news is that a few tweaks to your communication style can make all the difference in how well workers respond to feedback and make changes.

How to Give Effective Feedback to Employees

Feedback delivered in the wrong way can be damaging to a work relationship. Conversely, feedback offered in the right way can strengthen a relationship. Here are a few ways to effectively give feedback to employees:

  • Start with appreciation — When giving constructive criticism, it is helpful to start by praising employees for what they are doing right. This isn’t about ego — it’s natural to want to be appreciated. “Sandwiching” a criticism between appreciative statements will go a long way in helping your employee receive your feedback well.


  • Prepare before you communicate — Sometimes, poor communication happens because of a lack of preparation. When it comes to giving feedback to someone, it’s important to prepare beforehand. A contributor to suggested that supervisors prepare by:

— “Focusing on an agreed upon goal, project, or outcome.

— Gathering relevant information on the individual’s progress toward the goal.

— Assessing the needs of the individual to whom you are preparing to give feedback and determining whether your feedback is aligned with their knowledge and abilities.”

Do this and you’ll go into the interaction with more confidence and will communicate your feedback clearly.


  • Offer feedback in private — Receiving critical feedback in front of others is not only embarrassing, but it also demolishes trust. Pulling a worker aside to an area that is relatively private and letting him or her know you want to offer some feedback is a good place to start. Also, remember that some people are extremely private even about positive feedback, so this could be a good practice in any situation where you are giving feedback.   

Communicate Your Feedback in a Better Way to Get Better Results

If you communicate feedback to your employees in a better way, you’ll get better results. Remember, when giving feedback to workers…

  1. “Sandwich” criticism between appreciative statements
  2. Prepare before you communicate
  3. Offer feedback in private

These actions will ensure your employees feel appreciated, help them better understand you and encourage them to make the changes you want.

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