Giving Feedback that your Staff Will Hear

Feedback, a key to employee engagement.

Think of the most recent egg or scavenger hunt that you participated in.  For us, this was over Easter and we hid baskets and eggs in the front yard and house for our boys. Yes, they are pre-teens and still play.  It makes my heart happy.  Yet, they were frustrated as they could not find two specific last eggs and their basket.  What happened next?  Mom, will you give us a clue?  

They were asking for feedback.  We are conditioned to look for feedback to keep going. Whether this was at work or at home.  The quality and kind of feedback that we give will garner certain types of results.  As a parent and a manager, I never want to give away the answer.  Why?  First, that is no fun.  Second, then we take away the opportunity for the other to learn.  

Asking questions!

Back to our egg hunt.  I gave clues such as: 

  • What do you do every day?  
  • What do you hate doing?
  • Where do you believe the Easter Bunny would hide it?
  • The baskets are in the kitchen, living room, and basement.

The Office of Personnel Management outlines three keys to giving feedback: Specificity, Timeliness, and Manner that the feedback is given.  In our professional world, Performance Management is a formal process of documenting an employee’s performance.  Yet, the relationships that staff have at work have a significant impact on employee performance and how we engage with each other. There are positive ways to giving feedback that allows staff to build critical thinking skills while also learning an organization and people’s styles.  

Feedback must be woven into the tapestry of the organization to be effective.  Yet, there are key times to provide feedback and these are when it is expected and can have a positive impact on both the person and performance according to Harvard Business Review.  

Why is Giving Feedback Important?

  • The employee-manager relationship is a top driver, 70%, to employee satisfaction according to Gallup.  
  • According to Forbes, much of the responsibility for a positive feedback look falls on managers. 
  • Creates a strong team
  • Is essential to develop performance according to Cambridge
  • Gives us a sense of belonging and purpose
  • Prevents us from being stuck and discouraged according to Huffington Post.

During our current pandemic with a large majority of staff working from home, us giving feedback becomes even more important. Yet, there is not a one size fits all approach as each person has a different need for feedback. Based on the research from The Predictive Index. Each of us has a highest drive and based on that highest drive is a specific need. This is either the need for impact, feedback, time, or details. As a manager, do you know exactly how to provide feedback on what ways to engage and motivate your staff?

If you are curious to know more about what your specific needs are and those of your staff, try The Predictive Index behavioral assessment! 


Giving feedback through our questions allows our staff to process the questions we ask and learn the specific processes. Let’s revisit our egg hunt experience.  The questions that we asked provided a framework of what to do next and where to look. We set parameter’s around where the baskets were not so that they could focus on a very specific area.  The Standard Operating Procedures and Job Descriptions that you have inside of your organization do the same thing for your staff.  If you are still hanging onto where the baskets were hidden.  One basket was hanging behind the TV in a corner and the second basket was under the pool table with clothes piled on top. Tricky.  And, the problems that we solve at work are typically tricky too.  

We can simplify these processes by giving feedback to staff in ways in which they can hear it and ensure that we are setting our staff up for success by creating an environment that is transparent with communication so that they know what is needed to be successful.

An Easy Button

Looking for an easy button to increase your feedback effectiveness? Take the PI Behavioral Assessment AND have a colleague take it to receive your personalized communication guide!