Top feedback tips for KPI feedback
We need to recognise that feedback helps all of us grow by giving us perspective on what we do well, and which areas need some attention. Even experienced, expert staff and colleagues need feedback to grow faster. Consulting firm Zenger Folkman found that though most managers don’t like giving corrective feedback, most employees value hearing it, when it is delivered effectively. In fact, many of those surveyed found it even more useful than praise alone. Use these top KPI feedback tips to help increase your Employee Engagement.
Top KPI feedback tips for giving performance feedback in an Emotionally Intelligent way to increase Employee Engagement (KPI, KPA or annual reviews):
- Ask permission – It may seem odd to ask if you are the boss, and it is part of your own KPIs, but asking permission can help smooth the way to giving feedback. Try starting the conversation with “may I give you some feedback?” Asking for permission also acknowledges that this is a conversation not a lecture.
- Avoid the “sandwich” – Many books talk about the “sandwich” feedback technique, starting and ending with a compliment. This is generally very poorly received as the compliments are often a last minute platitude. As such the compliments are often taken as insincere and risk diluting your message. Rather get the balance right and make your compliments sincere and specific. Be specific about the new behaviour you’d like to see as well as the behaviour you’d like to see continue.
- Get the ratio right (3:1) – Research by Gottman, Losada and Fredrickson has clearly demonstrated that there is an ideal praise-to-criticism ratio. Even though praise can be uncomfortable to some, we do need to hear praise; particularly sincere praise. Studies of both highly effective teams (Losada) and the happily married couples (Gottman) have shown that the ideal ratio is a minimum of three compliments to each criticism.
- Check your focus – Focus on effort, not just ability. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research showed that focus on effort is the best way to keep us motivated. If, for example, your identity is based on being smart or talented a rebuke might threaten that identity. For the most part intelligence is something outside of our control. Focusing our praise on behaviour and effort: “you really put a lot of attention to detail into this and anticipated the client’s questions” means that the feedback is acknowledging the behaviour they have control over (effort) and is less likely to be taken as a personal attack.
- Schedule weekly check-ins – Hearing feedback (positive and negative) once or twice a year isn’t enough. Schedule regular check-ins with your team, so that feedback becomes a normal part of the weekly routine. Encouragement and corrective feedback needs to be immediate, encouraging and clear and not delivered six months after the fact.
- Separate performance and reward – Avoid linking your corrective feedback with discussions of pay and promotion (unfortunately this is fairly typical in a year-end evaluation). This practice tends to produce a cocktail of heightened emotion and causes stress to even the most engaged employee. When the two are linked it is easy to become disengaged as feel we are criticised too much, not acknowledged enough or rewarded enough. Instead, make these separate conversations.
- Frame for results – Try framing your suggestions in terms of the positive result you are looking to achieve, rather than as a commentary on what is wrong with them. Make it about the impact they could have by working differently. Ask them for suggestions of how they could achieve the desired result.
Feedback should be a conversation, not a lecture
“Our research has found that managers are primarily responsible for their employee’s engagement levels.” Gallup
Use these Top KPI feedback tips to increase Employee Engagement with Emotional Intelligence
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