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4 Tips to Write Constructive Feedback That Actually Works

Give & receive the feedback that fuels growth.

How do you feel about feedback? Since feedback is usually lumped into year-end performance reviews, most of us are used to having 12-months worth of praise, constructive criticism, and advice dumped on us all at once. It can be overwhelming - that's why at CodeGem, we believe in offering continuous feedback.Continuous feedback is beneficial for a few reasons - here are a few:

  • it's easier to apply feedback when you receive it in real-time, not afterwards;
  • it encourages more informal feedback, which can reduce "surprises" that come up during formal feedback sessions;
  • feedback can be more specific to a particular project; and,
  • feedback occurring regularly can be followed-up on quickly and easily

The reason feedback isn't given as regularly is usually because people don't really know how to give good feedback. Maybe you can relate - does the thought of giving feedback make you feel nervous? Confused? Maybe a little nauseous?We want to encourage you to give good feedback, frequently! Here are some tips on giving and receiving feedback on your team:

1. Share feedback at all levels
Are employees equipped to share feedback up to managers, and how is this feedback reaching high-level executives? Sharing should occur “up” and “down”, and all levels of employees should have avenues to give and receive good feedback.

2. Focus: strengths vs. weaknesses
It’s okay to point out areas where the company, or an employee, needs to improve. When feedback focuses too much on weaknesses, though, employees might start to feel embarrassed. Sharing positive feedback with your team regularly can lessen the blow when it comes to offering "negative" feedback.

3. Delivery: wording and content
Delivery makes a difference when providing feedback, whether positive or negative. For example, imagine asking a hard-working employee to take on an extra project. With poor delivery, your employee might think you’re criticizing the amount of work they do now, but pairing this ask with positive feedback (ex: talking about the skills that qualify them for this position) will empower them to take on the project.

4. Clarify expectations
Confusion harms a healthy feedback culture. To see your desired feedback behaviours, make sure they're clearly communicated to your team! Also, try to always clarify the level of feedback that should be shared between employees. If colleagues share too much with each other, unaware that they aren't meant to, there's a higher risk of interpersonal conflict & gossip.Setting a feedback culture makes it easier to communicate regularly and effectively. Be sure to set an example from the top! Take the lead in encouraging a positive feedback culture, and your team will follow.