For giving feedback:

 

  1. Before giving the feedback, consider what might have caused the matters of concern. Is the feedback fair, or are there other factors at play, such as the work environment, operational matters, old equipment, lack of training, interpersonal issues?

 

  1. If the decision is that the feedback needs to be given, meet face to face; do not use emails to address the issues.

 

  1. Don’t procrastinate. The problem is very unlikely to solve itself.  The longer you leave it, the harder it will be and the more tense you will become.  If you schedule a meeting to talk to the employee, you will have little choice but to front up to the issue and get on with it.

 

  1. When planning how to approach the concern/s, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if you were on the receiving end?  Is there a way to make the process and the feedback more palatable?  Would you need “time out” afterwards?

 

  1. Also check if there are any relevant policies or procedures, or clauses in the employee’s employment agreement; eg, as to how to address performance concerns.

 

  1. There is no ideal way to schedule a feedback meeting. It is important not to ambush the employee, so it is likely to be better to (briefly) tell the employee in advance what the purpose of the meeting is.

 

  1. When you have the meeting, start by explaining what you are intending to do in the meeting, eg, there are some performance concerns you need to raise, you want to then discuss them and get the employee’s responses/s, then you will move on to discussing how to address them, so the parties can move forward.

 

  1. Have examples of the concern/s.

 

  1. Keep your cool.

 

  1. Some experts say don’t limit the meeting to negative feedback. That’s a judgment call for the manager.  If you mix too much positive and negative feedback, the person on the receiving end may just hear the positive and underestimate the importance of the negative.  It may be better to give negative feedback, but end constructively, with discussion of how to move on.  This discussion could include some positive comments.  Also see point 16 below.

 

  1. Don’t drop hints about the concern/s. Be clear about them.  Most people in these situations will not get the hint.

 

  1. If relevant, explain what the impact of the concern is/has been.

 

  1. Once you have described the concern/s, give the employee the chance to respond. Don’t rush this part of the meeting, as employees in these situations often complain that their employer/manager didn’t listen to them.

 

  1. If the meeting is for giving feedback only, and is not a disciplinary meeting, there is no legal requirement to advise the employee that they are entitled to have a support person present (unless the organisation’s policies say otherwise).

 

  1. Consider when you should give the feedback. There will probably never be a great time, but timing can be important.  Try not to do it when either of you is under time pressure.

 

  1. Make it as positive as you can/be constructive/try to get to solutions – are more resources needed? Does the employee need clearer boundaries?  Perhaps set some attainable goals, as that is good for both parties, as then progress can be seen.  Does the employee need training?  (Note: do not start on solutions too soon – make sure the issues have been raised and discussed reasonably fully first).

 

  1. Be clear if/when/how performance will be reviewed.

 

  1. Keep notes of what was discussed and any solutions reached. Also record any review date, and confirm this in writing (an email is fine) to the employee.

 

If you are receiving negative feedback:

 

  1. Accept that it is not a comfortable environment, but the employer/manager is entitled to raise reasonable performance concerns with you.

 

  1. Try not to be defensive and listen carefully to what is being said. Don’t jump in with your explanation/validation.  Feedback that seems critical may not be.  The employer may just want to find out what is happening/how you feel, so he/she can address it with you.

 

  1. Listen, and let the employer/manager say his/her piece.

 

  1. Remember that you aren’t perfect, no-one is. So it is possible (or even likely) that some negative feedback is warranted.

 

  1. If it will help, ask if you can take notes.

 

  1. If you have a good explanation, make sure you give it. You could consider raising this at the start of the meeting, ie, how/when will you be able to respond?

 

  1. You don’t have to just sit and listen and take the feedback. Explore it, if you feel it will be useful.  Ask for examples, but do not argue about them.

 

  1. If the manager/employer has planned the meeting properly, the last part of the meeting should be constructive and forward looking. If it isn’t heading that way, you can ask to talk about solutions etc.  Think about what you need to address the issues.  If you need training/help/clearer instructions, ask.

 

  1. Keep your own notes of what was discussed, timelines, review dates etc.