Advance Blog

March 10, 2020

Feedback – what every employee wants and what every manager doesn’t know how to give

One of the hardest things for any manager to do in business is to give direct feedback to their team member/s regarding performance.

It is hard enough for the manager to give feedback on how well someone is doing let alone informing an employee how well they are not doing. For a team member who is not performing well managers are afraid of being direct as they do not wish to upset the employee or that a confrontation may arise. However not providing feedback has a much larger cost than dealing with a upset employee.

Providing information to an employee and indeed any human being on the way they are performing in any given situation is critical to the level of motivation and effort that an employee will place on doing their job well. Sadly, it is reported in the 20th and 21st century that people are not engaged at work and I would suggest that this is for two easy reasons.

1: they are doing a job or components of a job that does not provide them with energy, passion and where they can use their strengths

2: their performance is not receiving any recognition or feedback regardless of whether the individual is working hard or not and hence the performance level reduces.

Managers inform me that there is no time to provide ongoing feedback to their team members and I suggest that if this is not being done then that manager does not understand their role as a leader. Human beings are social beings and generally wish to be appreciated and recognized as doing a worthwhile task within their job and hence they are very quick to realize that if no one is providing positive or negative feedback then why should they work hard at all. In other words the old saying of what gets measured gets done holds true; and if a manager does not discuss performance with their team member on a regular basis and discuss ways in which to recognize and/or improve performance there is a lost opportunity for all including the success of the organisation.

Giving direct feedback on poor performance means that the manager must actually think about what the actual problem is and focus upon what to do about it. Recognizing  and organizing one’s thoughts on how to discuss, with the employee the effect the issue has upon others, the success of the organisation and working out together how the issue can be solved, is critical. Of course, thinking can take time  however planning what to say and how to address obstacles or concerns the employee may have, and then deciding upon a plan of fair process of how to make a change is critical to reengage the team member and realign the employees goals.  

Once a plan has been thought through by the manager, discussing with the employee and also hearing the employees point of view helps to craft a plan that is mutually beneficial for the employee to remediate a particular problem. At times, it is found that the employee may not be skilled or have the correct behaviours to solve a problem and a manager must consider did they employ someone without that skill and can it be developed, or is this an issue that has arisen that cannot be solved or handled by the particular team member. This may be disappointing however, this cannot be determined until a plan is formulated and both discuss and the steps to try and resolve the issue.

No one wishes to remain in a company where they are not appreciated however, without ongoing updates of how we are performing within a job we may never know. I think we all desire and deserve to know honestly how we are doing in a job and often also need direct steps of how to achieve or solve a problem from our manager. To be able to achieve high levels of productivity and to be willing to use discretionary effort to go the extra mile a team member needs skills, passion, motivation, recognition and two way communication on what are the tasks that need to be completed and each of these factors are highly dependent upon the managers interactions with the employee. Therefore, it is critical that companies recognize that managers must learn and utilize the skill of providing effective feedback on a regular  and timely basis and in doing so engagement will improve as employees will be happier leading to the overall success of the organisation.

Amanda Oldridge, Regional Human Resources Director, Linfox Transport (Thailand) Ltd
Amanda is responsible for managing Human Resources throughout Asia for Linfox International Group, based in Thailand and working in six Asian countries with over 6000 full time employees. Prior to joining Linfox, Amanda was the Vice President of Human Resources for APAC and China plus the Global Lead for Learning and Organisation Efficiency for a fintech organisation and also was Senior Director of Organisation Development for Novartis’ Vaccines and Diagnostics division in Boston, USA. Amanda is a qualified executive coach, a counsellor and passionate in helping leaders to develop their leadership skills as well as to motivate and empower their teams. Originally from Australia Amanda has worked in Asia for 23 years, living in six countries in Asia plus the USA working in HR, HR consulting, executive coaching, leadership development, training plus academia. Amanda is a passionate lifelong learner and has a Bachelor of Business (Logistics), an MBA, a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and has just completed her Master’s in Science in Psychology. Amanda is happily married with three grown children, one grandchild and lives with her husband and two large dogs.

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