Giving feedback seems to be the key factor to boost your level of employee engagement. Why? It helps your team communicate in an open and easy way. It is also useful to identify blind spots and areas of improvement. This gets a bit harder when you have to tell your employees those specific points where they need to do better. Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of constructive feedback examples to help us put those awkward things to say, in kind and wise words?
Don’t worry, just keep calm and carry on the reading! We have gathered a list of 20 constructive feedback examples, but before getting our hands into it, first let’s clarify what we mean by constructive feedback.
What is constructive feedback?
Constructive feedback is used to help someone improve their performance. It is a type of feedback that not only points out areas for improvement or mistakes, but also offers solutions, tools and resources to do so. The problem with constructive feedback is that usually when advice is not asked for, it tends not to be well received. The reason? We don’t always express ourselves properly when we speak, nor do we organize our ideas well before we do so. Don’t worry, that’s what this article is for!
Even so, when delivering constructive feedback, you should not forget that there are several types of feedback:
- Positive feedback: is a type of feedback that focuses on the strengths, talents and achievements of employees. Giving positive feedback is the best way to recognize aspects such as effort, good attitude or great leadership to employees.
- Negative feedback: its main focus is on areas for improvement and mistakes made, exposed in some way by poor performance on the part of the employee.
Why constructive feedback is important
Generating the habit of delivering constructive feedback has great benefits at all levels:
- On employees: constructive feedback helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses. It gives them the opportunity to improve their performance and develop new skills. It also helps to increase employees’ self-esteem and confidence, which in turn can improve their motivation and commitment to the business.
- In the company: because of its positive impact on employees, constructive feedback helps to improve the quality of work, increase productivity and efficiency. In addition, feedback dynamics help to maintain a positive work environment. Through feedback, companies can ensure that employees are aligned with objectives and feel motivated to work towards achieving them.
How to give constructive feedback to an employee
Giving constructive feedback to employees requires a careful and well-structured approach. Above all, we must ensure that the feedback is effective and useful.
- Prepare the feedback.
- Find a good time.
- Start with the positive.
- Describe the specific behavior.
- Use a constructive tone.
- Listen to what the employee has to say.
- Offer suggestions for improvement.
- Follow up.
1. Prepare the feedback
Before giving constructive feedback, make sure you are well informed about the employee’s performance. Review their work, objectives and expectations. It is also important that you are clear about what you want to say to the employee and how you are going to say it.
2. Find a good time
It is important to choose an appropriate place and time to deliver constructive feedback. Find a private, quiet space where you can talk without interruptions. Find a time when both you and the employee are relaxed and have enough time to talk. Avoid giving feedback in times of stress or haste, as this can increase tension and generate a negative response.
3. Start with the positive
Start by highlighting the employee’s accomplishments, skills and positive aspects of performance. This will set a positive tone and improve the employee’s willingness to listen to more critical feedback.
4. Describe the specific behavior
Explain the behavior or situation. Describe the situation clearly and objectively, and avoid making value judgments or assumptions. Instead of saying “your work is not good enough,” for example, it is better to say “your work on this project did not meet the objectives that were set.”
5. Use a constructive tone
When delivering constructive feedback, it is very likely that the employee will not receive it in the way you expect. It is important to emphasize that it is not a personal criticism, but an opportunity to help the employee improve his or her performance. Use a constructive tone, focusing on the behavior and not on the person.
6. Listen to what the employee has to say
Listen to the employee’s response and try to understand their point of view. The employee may have an explanation for their behavior that changes the course of the conversation. Listen carefully and try to understand the employee’s perspective.
7. Offer suggestions for improvement
An important part of giving constructive feedback is to guide employees on how to resolve the situation. You can, for example, make an action plan with the employee. Set clear and realistic goals, and define a deadline for meeting them. Make sure the employee understands what is expected and knows how to achieve it.
8. Follow up
After giving feedback, it is important to follow up on the employee’s progress. Schedule regular meetings to review the goals set and the employee’s progress. You can also set up one on one meetings to discuss how he or she is feeling since the changes were implemented. Acknowledge achievements and provide support if needed.
Beyond this step-by-step, you have to make sure that those suggestions are going to help improve the productivity of the employee and the team. To achieve this, the most important thing is to be specific, clear and give the reasons why the action should be improved. Undoubtedly, putting this step-by-step together with the SBI feedback model can help you set up feedback that will be of great use to employees.
20 Constructive Feedback Examples
There are some situations where you may notice your employees need an extra push or a good and open talk to boost their work performance. Our list of constructive feedback examples turns around those situations, to give you a bite of inspiration.
1. Lacking performance
Great performance is the reflection of a motivated and engaged team. Sometimes this motivation can be affected by different internal and external factors that may not be easy to spot. What will actually be pretty obvious is the lack of performance of someone who usually is at their best. Letting them know your are noticing something is quite off, and that they have your support it’s a great way of delivering constructive feedback.
“You have always been a great employee, and the quality of your work has been amazing since you joined us. However, I am concerned that your performance has been deteriorating for the past few weeks. Since we really value you and your work, I wanted to check in with you as to what may be going on. I would also like to offer my support in case you need it. I would love to help you get back on your feet.”
2. Turning in lower-quality work
When an employee turns in a project or task in record time, but with less quality than the usual put into their work, it’s a clear sign that constructive feedback is needed. Kindly approach them and make sure deadlines are understood and offer your help if needed. Here is one of our constructive feedback examples to be used in this type of awkward situation.
“I wanted to talk about your last assignments. I was very happy because you were very quick. However, I noticed the quality of your work wasn’t as expected, and we had to take more time to resolve the errors. I just wanted to assure you that you do not need to turn things in very early. Please review your work before sending it over so we can minimize corrections. I’d love to go over your work with you and help you review it if you need me to.”
3. Not participating
Have you noticed one of your employees seem disconnected during team meetings or they suddenly stopped participating? This might be an opportunity to have a chat to let them know they are a valuable member to the team and their ideas are always appreciated.
“You’re a great asset to the team and we are all very happy to have you here. But I have noticed you haven’t been participating in team meetings or team-building activities lately. I was wondering if there were any issues with work or the team that I could help with. I feel like participating more will help improve your relationship with the rest of the team.”
4. Being uncollaborative
Teamwork is a MUST in every organization. It is also true that some employees tend to be more independent than others. Even though you need to accept it, being independent doesn’t mean someone can’t be a team player. Reach out to these types of employees to reinforce the importance of being collaborative with your team with the following constructive feedback example. At the end, we are all aiming for the same objectives!
“I understand you’re very independent and have a very problem-solving attitude. However I feel like you could be more collaborative as a team. We all work together so it would be positive if you could work with us to resolve issues as a group, rather than working alone all the time. Please let me know if there are any issues you may be facing that could make collaboration a difficulty.”
5. Missing a meeting
Team meetings are very important to discuss new projects, take important decisions and be sure everyone is on the same page. Your employees must be aware of it. Furthermore, you need to let them know you appreciate their ideas and inputs. Make them feel that their absence is noticed and how it affects the meeting purpose.
“I know you are passionate about your role, and it shows in the work you do. However, it has come to my attention that you missed our last meeting. Team meetings are important to discuss our progress and future actions, as well as important decisions. Plus, I feel like your input would have been very beneficial. I would really appreciate it if you could attend these meetings. If the timing does not work for you, please let us know and we will be happy to reschedule so you can attend as well.”
6. Having a negative attitude
Being always in a good mood it’s almost impossible. That doesn’t mean it can be an excuse to have a bad attitude at work. When this happens try to reach out to your employee and explain why this kind of behavior affects the entire team. Also, try to give them a hand and show willingness to support, in case they are going through any kind of personal situation. Let them know you are here for them!
“Although your work is great, I’m afraid your attitude feels discouraging at times. I feel like your comments make me and the team uncomfortable, and I hope we can work together to solve our relationship. It’s important to work as a team, and your attitude is currently jeopardizing us. If you’re comfortable, I’d love to have a chat with you about why this may be happening and resolve this issue together.”
7. Not reaching goals
If someone is struggling with reaching their KPIs, it might be a sign of work overload, personal issues or even burnout. Here is one of our constructive feedback examples you can use in a 1:1 meeting. Ask your employee what is affecting their performance and if there is something you might help with.
“I really enjoyed our chat last month, and I saw you were very motivated about your development. However, I can see you didn’t reach all your goals this month. Do you think there were any roadblocks in the way? I was hoping to offer some assistance and talk about maybe taking on fewer responsibilities so you can reach all your goals in the next few weeks.”
8. Arriving late
Being punctual is a matter of good manners, so there should be no reason for not being on time for work or meetings. Talk to that employee who is always late. Give them a reminder on the importance of being on time.
“I wanted to talk to you because I’ve noticed you’ve been doing great work, but I feel like you could achieve more if you arrived earlier at the office. We all usually arrive at this time, so I was hoping you could be with us to work more effectively as a team. I feel like arriving earlier will also help you leave earlier and achieve a better work-life balance.”
9. Lacking skills
There is always room for improvement, right? Don’t be afraid to tell an employee they can do better by developing a specific skill, take the opportunity to let them know you care about their professional growth. Here is a constructive feedback example you can use, so you don’t make your employees feel they are unprepared, but on the contrary, the company and the team are here to help them succeed.
“I appreciate your work and I know you make an effort to turn in great assignments. However I have noticed you might need some support in these skills. I think working on these skills anyway will help you further your development and career in the future. Do you think we could set up a training path for you to master these as soon as possible? Please let me know if there are any roadblocks I can help with.”
10. Not developing as expected
Before making any permanent decision when an employee is not developing as expected, you should approach and offer a hand to give that extra push which might be missing.
“We are so glad to have you here and you have grown a lot since you first joined us. But I’ve noticed you haven’t been developing these skills as I would have hoped. Are there any obstacles I can help you get through? Maybe we could look at these skills more closely and set up meetings to follow up your development. Do you think we could meet weekly? Please let me know if we should modify your training or arrange more sessions.”
11. Experiencing poor communication skills
Following on the skills improvement constructive example, if an employee needs training on developing their communication skills, let them know that the company is willing to help. This is a good opportunity to use one of our constructive feedback examples and show your team how important their professional growth is to the business.
“I know you’re a truly hardworking person and that is inspiring. However I think that something that would help you in your career is improving your communication skills. It could help you when applying to future jobs or promotions. I wanted to offer my support in helping you achieve this goal. We could set up some training and a roadmap for your development. Please let me know if I can help you with any obstacles.”
12. Struggling with time management
If a team member is having problems with deadlines, kindly approach and give them the opportunity to explain their situacion. Maybe it is a matter of work overload?
“The quality of your work is always great and I appreciate you taking the time to do things well. However, I can see you’ve missed a few deadlines in the past weeks. I was wondering if maybe we could speed up your processes so we could have things on time, or if it may be an issue with your workload. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you manage your time and your workload better.”
13. Failing to problem-solve
When your employees know you got their back, stress will be reduced and motivation will increase. So, if you notice an employee is having some trouble with their daily work, offer assistance. In the end it is all about teamwork!
“I know you’re truly passionate about your work and I love seeing your growth. However I feel like you’ve been getting caught up in some roadblocks that may be delaying your work. Could I offer some assistance? I was hoping we could work together to resolve this issue and give you the tools to smoothly solve future challenges.”
14. Decreasing productivity
Decreasing productivity might be a sign of work disengagement. According to a research made by Zippia about feedback, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being recognized through feedback.
So, if suddenly one of your team members lowers their performance, take a moment to have a nice chat. Ask if there is any kind of problem and how you can help to get them back on track. This will increase their employee engagement without a doubt.
“We are really happy to have you and the quality of your work is always exceptional. Nevertheless, I have noticed your productivity seems to be decreasing lately and it’s delaying deadlines. I was wondering if something may be going on that I am not aware of? I would like to offer my support if so, and I hope that we can find a solution together so you can get back on track soon.”
15. Lacking emotional intelligence
Respect and kindness are two values which can’t be forgotten in your company culture. If an employee happens to be out of line, let them know that is normal for conflict to emerge, but that knowing how to properly behave and control during those situations is key for team harmony. Here is one of our constructive feedback examples which will help in this type of situation.
“I understand you were frustrated this morning during our meeting, however your comments sounded sarcastic and disrespectful. It’s important to respect and try to understand each other during conflict. If you feel comfortable, do you think we could talk about your reaction and how we can be more respectful moving forward?.”
16. Struggling with teamwork
Giving a little reminder to your employees on the importance and benefits of teamwork any now and then will facilitate collaboration, mainly to those who like “working solo”.
“I appreciate your independence and I know you work very well alone. However, we are a team and I’ve noticed you don’t participate a lot in teamwork. Working in teams helps us bring in new ideas and achieve bigger results. I think working alongside your teammates will help better your relationship and improve your skills. Please let me know if there is anything keeping you from participating that I can help with.”
17. Ignoring feedback
Giving constructive feedback not only helps your business grow, but it also boosts your team performance and helps their professional growth. Be sure everyone understands and sees feedback as a win – win, so they are more likely to take your suggestions into consideration.
“I love how independent you are and I understand you have your own ways of completing tasks. However, I noticed you did not implement the feedback we gave you. As a team, it’s important our work is aligned, so I think our notes will help your work achieve this. Please let me know if there is anything you don’t agree with so we can evaluate it and come to a conclusion together.”
18. Leaving unfinished tasks
Make sure everyone on your team understands the importance of deadlines, and how a delay may affect someone else’s work or even will jeopardize the entire project! Of course offering your help in case it is a workload issue, will increase motivation.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been leaving your tasks unfinished at the end of the day. We work on deadlines, so in order to reach them all, I would need you to finish everything before you leave. Do you think you could do this? Please let me know if there is an issue with your workload, and I will be happy to help and accommodate you.”
19. Not managing reports well
Being a good leader requires having great communication with your team and being on top of what is going on. So if a manager is not 100% aware of their team situation, offer them guidance and training to improve their management skills.
“When I promoted you as a manager, I knew you had great potential. However, I’ve noticed your team has been mismanaged lately. Your employees have reported feeling a bit lost. So I think you would thrive with some management training lessons. I’ve also arranged weekly meetings so we can talk about your development and support you in anything you need.”
Constructive feedback is not only meant for employees! You, as a leader, need to be open on receiving feedback and suggestions that will help you boost your work performance. We give you a constructive feedback example any manager may receive if you tend to oversee your team a little more than is actually necessary.
“I like feeling accomplished with the tasks I complete. However I’m concerned that we are wasting both our time with reports for all the completed tasks that you ask. It takes time away that I could otherwise utilize on completing the rest of my projects. Would it be possible if I could turn in a monthly or weekly report of my tasks instead?”
How to respond to constructive feedback
Knowing how to respond to constructive feedback can be the difference for growth. Below you’ll find a step-by-step on how to respond to constructive feedback.
- Acknowledge the feedback.
- Request more detailed explanations.
- Reflect on the feedback.
- Develop an action plan.
- Follow up.
1. Acknowledge the feedback
The first step in responding to constructive feedback is acknowledging it. Do not dismiss or ignore the feedback, even if it is not easy to hear.
2. Request more detailed explanations
Ask for more information, and data if possible, about the feedback to better understand the issue. This step can help you clarify what the feedback is about and can help you avoid any misunderstandings.
3. Reflect on the feedback
After receiving the feedback and understanding it better, take some time to reflect on it. Ask yourself if the feedback is accurate, how it aligns with your work, and what changes you can make to improve.
4. Develop an action plan
Develop an action plan to address the feedback. An action plan can help you outline the steps you need to take to improve and monitor your progress.
5. Follow up
Follow up with the person who provided the feedback. Once you have implemented actopms to improve, let them know what you have done to address the issue, and ask for their thoughts on your progress.
In conclusion, following this step-by-step can turn feedback into a valuable tool for growth and improvement. Remember, receiving feedback is essential for our growth, and it takes courage and humility to accept and act on it.
How to ask for constructive feedback
Asking for feedback is key for personal and professional growth. However, asking for feedback can be a daunting task. Take a look at the following step-by-step and learn how to ask for constructive feedback in your company.
- Choose the right place and time.
- Be clear about your goals.
- Prepare open-ended questions.
- Listen to what the other has to say.
- Thank you the person for their feedback.
1. Choose the right place and time
Make sure that the person you are asking has the time and space to provide you with thoughtful feedback. Avoid busy times or when the person may be concerned with other tasks. Find a private and comfortable space where you can have an honest conversation without any distractions.
Pro tip: review your managers calendar to see if they have a free spot. Ask directly if you can schedule a meeting with them to discuss your performance and receive their feedback.
2. Be clear about your goals
Before you ask for feedback, it is important to be clear about your goals. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to improve? Having clear goals will help guide the conversation. Also, it will make it much easier for the person providing feedback to give you relevant and actionable advice.
Pro tip: if, for example, you are interested in improving your public speaking skills, find the right person for that. Ask your coworker who is known for their excellent presentation skills for feedback on a recent presentation.
3. Prepare open-ended questions
Asking open-ended questions allows the person providing feedback to share their thoughts and opinions freely. They will not feel restricted by specific questions. Open-ended questions also allow for a more detailed and meaningful conversation, providing you with deeper insights.
Pro tip: instead of asking, “Did I do a good job?” ask, “What could I have done better in my presentation?”
4. Listen to what the other has to say
One of the most important aspects of asking for feedback is listening actively. Do not to interrupt or defend yourself. Listen to what the person is saying, and ask follow-up questions to clarify any doubts you may have.
Pro tip: if, for example, a coworker gives you feedback about improving your pacing during presentations, you can ask them for specific examples of where you could have slowed down or sped up.
5. Thank you the person for their feedback
After receiving feedback, it is very important to thank the person for their time and everything they have told you. Let them know that their feedback is valuable to you and that you appreciate their honesty.
Pro tip: you can use a thank you message such as “”Thank you so much for taking the time to provide me with feedback. I really appreciate your insights, and I will use them to improve my future presentations.”
In conclusion, asking for constructive feedback is an important skill to develop in a company. Follow the step-by-step above to star receiving valuable insights that will help you improve your performance and achieve your goals.
Create the habit of constructive feedback
By now, you should have a better idea of constructive feedback, constructive feedback examples and how to deliver, ask and respond to it. So why not implement it in your day-to-day work? Keep in mind the many benefits of creating the habit of delivering feedback. It will help you learn much more about your employees’ needs and make decisions based on them.
A great way to create the habit of receiving and giving constructive feedback in your company is to institute one on one meetings. Encourage managers to schedule one on one meetings with their employees to have a time to give constructive feedback on a regular basis. You will see their alignment, productivity and confidence at work increase.