The Psychology of Feedback - Examples - EmployeeConnect
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psychology of feedback

The Psychology of Feedback – Examples

There are many tools out there today that managers use to improve performance. A powerful tool that many managers often overlook and probably even consider whether it would be a tool itself is, constructive feedback. We will explore the psychology of feedback through several feedback examples.

What is feedback?

Feedback is workplace evaluation and response to what an employee or a colleague’s performance is, relative to a particular task. Feedback can be given either positively or negatively and depending on the circumstance, it can be given both at the same time. Giving them both at the same time should be done constructively. To truly grasp onto the psychology of feedback, it is best to explore it through feedback examples.

Feedback Examples and Explanation

Two feedback examples combined is where your IT analyst has been meeting his weekly KPI’s but is working at an inefficient pace as he’s decided to stick to the department’s legacy processes. By working at an inefficient pace, he sets himself back to achieve higher targets. As his manager, to help him improve performance, you provide constructive feedback about his progress. Your feedback would include, it’s great he’s meeting his KPI’s (positive feedback) but you see inefficiencies in his approach to his work (negative feedback) and you believe he should embrace the department’s new process to work more efficiently and achieve beyond expected (constructive feedback).

The above feedback examples, displaying both positive and negative feedback, is altogether constructive feedback. Constructive feedback is where it highlights what’s great and allows opportunity to rise from what’s bad. This opportunity is based on the employee being made aware of why there is error in what they’re doing.

Why is Constructive Feedback Important?

As managers, workplace feedback is important because it allows your employees to learn, understand more about their current efforts and open ways to progress through their career. Feedback, or more specifically constructive feedback, will let your employees apply this knowledge and be mindful in the next task/project they work on – in the feedback example above, it will be your IT analyst. Broadly speaking, it’s an indicator letting them know where they’re at in terms of progressing in their job/career.

Allowing your employees to understand this will ultimately allow them to improve. It’s a method to let them know the company values them by wanting to develop them. It’ll be beneficial for both your employee’s career progression and for the company’s overall performance. This correlation between employee performance and company performance is made clear with goals and targets being met through improved productivity.

Constructive Feedback Tips and Feedback Examples

Below are 6 Feedback Tips and examples that highlight all that’s current with constructive feedback:

1. The best leaders ask for more feedback. Research shows that only the top 10% of managers scored in the 83rd percentile in leadership abilities. Having those leadership abilities involves being able to ask for constant feedback. Like employees, who want to learn and improve, managers such as yourself would like to learn and improve too right? To learn and improve is all part in being a leader. A leader is someone who stays on top of current matters to ensure they are taught accordingly to the rest of the organisation.

2. To improve performance, practice follow-up feedback Approximately 8.9% of profitability increases from managers being given a follow-up feedback, according to research. This profitability of course, illustrates individual productivity boosts and overall performance. What follow-up feedback is, is receiving feedback on the last feedback that was given – this could have been last quarter’s or last year’s as feedback examples. It’s essential to conduct follow-up on feedback and truly understand and action it. Once you understand your feedback, you know what the next actions will be.

3.Relative feedback improves effort levels
Don’t get me wrong, feedback in general will improve for the better in its own way. However, if you’re looking to improve effort and only effort alone, you should focus on relative feedback. Relative feedback in the context of manager to employee is where you provide feedback to them that compares it to a second employee’s. In other words, it’s basically comparing two employees’ performance to one another. Believe it or not, but while this comparison may appear as bad motivation, it’s what sparks healthy competition according to psychology. This healthy competition only communicates into increased effort all to feel like they have won.

4. Specific feedback targets specific goals
As a manager, if you’re after a specific goal to target you’ll need to formulate a specific feedback to provide. There’s no point providing feedback on an employee’s choice of workwear when all it will do is improve their wardrobe – because it’s unrelated to performance (which will most likely be the main issue and concern that feedback targets). You should tailor your feedback so that it aligns with what problem area you want fixed by the employee. Analysing past feedback examples by aligning them with what goals they were specifically targeting is a good call to action.

5. Honest feedback builds strong team engagement
There’s no point lying when you’ve been placed in a truth huddle. The whole point of a huddle to begin with is build a stronger team relationship, and in this case it’s between you and your employees. Building this relationship with your employees through honest feedback is what drives engagement. Strong team engagement, according to data research, ranks at 77% with employers who fostered an environment of honest feedback. To have a strong, high performing, engaged team is one of the important core values for organisational development that you and your business should strive towards.

6. Confident employees want negative feedback
Believe it or not, but the more confident your employee is the more negative feedback they’d want. When you know you’re good at what you do, it’s not mind stimulating to know that there’s nothing that you can do to do better. To know this, you don’t really feel like you’re learning on the job, which makes you believe that you’re not fulfilled in life (it’s a psychology fact). To challenge oneself from the norm, it’s about opening up to negative feedback and using it to learn. Outside the comfort zone is the learning zone. With learning, you make mistakes along the way and with those mistakes you build on from what you know and who you are, which helps you see your value in an organisation.

The facts and feedback examples above are all aligned with constructive feedback. Keep in mind that providing constructive feedback (whether it be positive or negative form) should be reinforced with personal development and used to engage your employees to drive productivity. With productivity, that comes with improvement of the overall company performance. With overall company performance being driven up, that translates into growth and profitability. Essentially, constructive feedback and understanding feedback examples is a ‘positive turnover’ for you and your company.
 

Quynh Vu
quynh@employeeconnect.com

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect