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Related article: Tips for Motivating Your Employees

Many employers participate in an annual performance review process where they have the opportunity to sit down with employees and outline their expectations. While you may or may not have a formal process in place within your own organization; carving out time on an regular basis – above and beyond an annual review – can help provide employees with constructive feedback they need to perform their jobs effectively.

Whether your review process is annualized or not, below are some tips our experts suggest when providing employees with constructive feedback.

Be proactive. Providing employees with feedback should be conducted on a regular basis. In fact, whenever an issue or incident occurs the best approach is to address it immediately. Responding promptly will help negate issues from arising down the road, and also sets clear expectations. Feedback should always be provided in a constructive manner, offering both positive and negative comments at best. This will help balance any discussion.

Be objective. No employee wants to sit face–to–face with managers and hear only negative comments. As a manager, your job is to be as objective as possible when providing feedback. This means balancing employees’ strengths with their weaknesses. While your first instinct may be to focus on the negative issue presently at hand, temper that desire by looking at the employee’s performance as a whole. With this in mind you can conduct a conversation that is non–hostile in nature which can help motivate and encourage positive action.

Work with employees to develop a plan. One of the most proactive roles managers can take is building an organizational and employee development plan. This is a tool you can use to set specific expectations, measure performance against goals, as well as define key areas for improvement. Working with employees on short–term and longer–term goals is a useful way to provide the guidance they need to execute their jobs. It’s also best to schedule periodic sit–downs with employees to help this process along.

Let employees provide their own feedback. One of the best approaches to provide feedback to employees is to encourage them to solicit their own feedback. Sometimes this means you will need to stop talking and sit back and listen. When you indicate to employees that their feedback is encouraged, your conversation becomes an opportunity to openly discuss other concerns or issues. Fostering an open conversation is the best approach and can guide your conversation to constructive steps employees can take to improve their performance.

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