Giving Performance Feedback

Why Employees Really Leave: Performance Feedback

This is the third blog in a series of five.

In January I heard a keynote by Jamie Taets of Keystone Group International about going “beyond the paycheck.” Her talk focused on helping us, as leaders in our organizations, understand that paying people well is not enough. To retain top talent, we need to do more. What most resonated with me were her five reasons why people leave their jobs (her information came from the American Progress Organization). The reasons were all spot on and I have seen each and every one of them in action. Using her talk as inspiration, I’ve decided to write a blog series on those five reasons and how you, as a business owner, can address them.

This week we’ll address the lack of helpful performance feedback.

Everyone wants to know how to improve. On the job, the only way they can do that is if you, their manager, are giving them solid feedback on their performance. You should be addressing both the good and the bad. Yes, you want to emphasize their strengths and celebrate their accomplishments, but you also need to help them see where they can do even better. This will keep them challenged and engaged and help them become the best employee they can be.

If you need help in understanding the best approach to giving feedback, read Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor. In it she tells you to Care Personally and Challenge Directly.

  • Caring personally is all about making sure your employees know you have their best interests at heart. They need to understand that you are not pointing out things that need improvement because you’re a jerk, but because you want to help them learn, grow and flourish.
  • Challenging directly is making sure you are actually delivering feedback clearly and candidly. If you sugarcoat your message, there’s a good chance the employee won’t really understand what you’re trying to say.

In addition to being caring and challenging, feedback should also be consistent. Not only in the sense of giving the same type of feedback across the company, but also in the frequency with which it is given. Meeting once a year for reviews just won’t cut it.

I recommend meeting with each employee monthly, at a minimum, to deliver feedback. This cadence (1) lets them know that you will be regularly and continually holding them accountable and (2) gives them  ready-made opportunities to give you feedback — to bring any issues or obstacles to your attention, something whose value cannot be overstated. Equally important, it also helps you build and strengthen relationships with each employee, further demonstrating that you care personally.

Performance feedback can no longer be reserved for the “Annual Review.” Employees are ready to learn and grow, but for that to happen they need more frequent and consistent feedback from their managers. By instilling a culture of feedback at your company, you’ll see greater productivity and higher profits — thanks to more highly engaged employees.

Eure Consulting