Let’s face it – most feedback sucks!
Too often, feedback feels subjective, attacks the person and isn’t actionable.
As a leader, giving out feedback is probably not the highlight of your job. I know it’s time-consuming, but you might be surprised to find that your employees genuinely appreciate feedback.
And unfortunately, so many great employees aren’t receiving the recognition and constructive feedback they deserve.
At Awesome Motive, I’ve found that great feedback is a gift.
The right feedback, given at the right moment in the right way, can dramatically impact the upward trajectory of someone’s growth and performance.
So let’s look at how you can improve your comments and evaluations with these 34 employee feedback examples.
- Effective feedback improves communication, encourages growth and enhances retention, engagement and performance.
- There are four primary types of feedback leaders should use: praise, criticism, evaluation and encouragement.
- Quality feedback must be clear, specific and timely. Without these three attributes, your feedback will be ineffective or irrelevant.
Why Is Employee Feedback Important?
Your feedback has great power.
Your constructive criticisms and praises help your employees grow and reach new heights.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Quality feedback empowers your employees. It helps them become better team members that play an integral role in the growth of your organization.
So how do you know if you’re giving effective feedback? Consider asking yourself these four questions:
- Does your feedback open lines of communication? Your feedback should open new pathways of communication between you and your employees. It should be clear, respectful and constructive — and it should invite conversation. It should both encourage the individual to grow and teach your employees how to communicate effectively.
- Does the feedback encourage growth? Are your employees taking your feedback and following through? Are you seeing your employees improve? Is your company growing because of those improvements?
- Do your praises and critiques enhance engagement? How do your employees interact with their work and teammates? Are they upholding your company’s core values? If they aren’t actively engaged and following through, you may need to reflect on whether you’re offering engaging and actionable feedback.
- Are you noticing a boost in performance upon relaying your feedback? Effective feedback is essential in measuring performance. If you’re not seeing improved performance after providing feedback, consider whether your feedback is constructive and actionable.
34 Employee Feedback Examples
There are four types of feedback that I use to reframe common feedback references — which typically aren’t helpful or actionable — into actionable and growth-oriented strategies:
- Praise: Recognizing an employee’s accomplishments.
- Criticism: Specific advice to call out behavior that needs improvement.
- Evaluation: A conversation about meeting goals and performance indicators.
- Encouragement: An effort to motivate an employee by acknowledging their effort.
Praise comments should acknowledge the effort and highlight the behavior or accomplishment.
Praise which recognizes employees’ accomplishments boosts morale and keeps your team motivated.
But your praise needs to be clear. Instead of the squishy “you’re doing a great job,” expound on what they’re doing great at – “you’re doing a great job managing the weekly sales stand-up meetings”.
Always give exact examples when delivering praise, because what gets rewarded gets repeated.
|1. Call Out a Big Win||“You did an excellent job in the client presentation. Your clear and concise explanation made a complex topic easier to understand.”|
|2. Recognize Your Team’s Efforts||“The report you submitted was thoroughly researched and well-presented. It’s clear you put in a lot of effort.”|
|3. Show How Their Actions Benefit the Company||“Your proactive approach to solving the issue prevented a potential setback. Great job!”|
|4. Acknowledge Improvements||“I’ve noticed your increased attention to detail recently, and it’s making a big difference in the quality of your work. Keep it up!”|
|5. Applaud Creativity||“Your creative solution to the problem was impressive. I appreciate your out-of-the-box thinking.”|
|6. Appreciate Consistent Performance||“Your consistently high performance has been pivotal to our team’s success. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to excellence.”|
The above examples of praise are excellent demonstrations that show your appreciation for a job well done (and will motivate your employees).
Delivering criticism is one of the hardest parts of being a leader.
Criticism gets a bad rap — but it doesn’t need to be a negative word.
When you see that word, it’s easy to jump straight to the mindset of looking for someone’s faults and mistakes.
But that’s not what you’re after. Instead, you’re pointing out areas for growth and improvement.
Criticism should only focus on the behavior, never the person.
Avoid using “you” and “your” statements like “you always …” or “your attitude …”. Instead, use “this” or “that” statements such as “this instance …” or “that response …”.
This simple remodel of your sentence structure can dramatically affect how an employee receives and reacts to your feedback.
Criticism should also be clear and constructive. It should never be disparaging or leave the employee feeling bad about themselves.
Let’s look at a few examples of criticism in employee feedback:
|7. Open With a Complement||“This month’s report was well-written, but it would be more effective with a simpler structure and fewer technical terms.”|
|8. Present a Solution||“I noticed deadlines have been missed lately. Have you tried using a calendar app for milestone and deadline reminders?”|
|9. Ask Probing Questions||It seems this project is behind schedule. What tools are you using to keep track of your progress? Do you need additional support from your team?|
|10. Encourage Mindfulness||“While your enthusiasm during the meeting is appreciated, remember to allow others the opportunity to share their ideas too.”|
|11. Be Supportive||“I’ve noticed a lack of initiative in taking on new tasks. Is there something I can do to support you?”|
|12. Facilitate a Two-Way Conversation||“By not participating in the brainstorming session, we missed hearing your valuable ideas. Your input can make a big difference.”|
|13. Point Out an Area for Improvement||“It’s difficult to hear your responses during meetings. Try to project your voice more.”|
Notice how none of these examples attack your employee. Good constructive criticism does not leave them taking up the defensive. Instead, it gives them the tools and information they need to improve a specific habit or behavior in the future.
Evaluation feedback uses specific, measurable performance indicators and goals.
Avoid unhelpful evaluations like “your performance has been adequate” because they are 1) not specific, and 2) the word “performance” is too broad.
Remember, all employees have multiple responsibilities, so you must be exceedingly clear about what you are evaluating.
Also, it should go without saying, but evaluations are best in one-on-one situations with the opportunity for two-way communication.
Here are some examples of how to deliver an evaluation:
|14. Give a Clear Example of Good Performance||“Your performance this quarter has been outstanding. Your sales numbers and client feedback ratings have beaten your targets by more than 20%.”|
|15. Spotlight an Area of Growth and Development||“Your project management skills have greatly improved over the last six months. While nearly 60% of the stated milestones were completed on time and within budget, I want to see that improve to 80% in the next six months.”|
|16. Provide Positive Reinforcement||“You’ve been on time to the last 5 meetings – keep it up!”|
|17. Highlight How Their Work Impacts Customers||“We’ve received 4 instances of positive feedback about your customer service skills this month, and the way you handled the last crisis was superb.”|
|18. Address an Issue, But be a Part of the Solution||“We noticed a drop in productivity. You usually publish 4 articles a week, but you’ve averaged 2 per week this month. Let’s discuss potential causes and solutions to get you back on track.”|
|19. Deliver a Balanced Evaluation||“Your technical skills have been a great asset to the team. However, there’s room for improvement in your communication skills. Let’s discuss a plan to write more effective project updates.”|
The above examples do a great job of pointing out measurable skills that have seen improvement or need working on. This is the type of feedback you should deliver in all your performance evaluations, as it indicates how well your employee is doing.
Great leaders don’t stop at critiques and evaluations. Encouragement is another significant part of delivering feedback.
Ever notice an employee feeling discouraged after experiencing a setback or stumbling on a challenging project? Or have you noticed an employee who consistently does great work?
That’s the perfect time to offer encouraging comments.
Encouragement feedback should be inviting, positive and personal. Point out something you’re impressed with, even if the results aren’t perfect yet.
Encouragement isn’t just about letting someone know you believe in them. It’s also about giving them the extra confidence boost to achieve more.
Let’s look at these encouragement feedback examples:
|20. Encourage Ongoing Learning||“You’re making good progress in your project management skills. Keep going! I suggest taking a course to get an additional certification in project management communication.”|
|21. Reinforce the Importance of Collaboration||“Your recent efforts to keep the team rowing in the same direction have been great – thank you!”|
|22. Promote Resilience in the Face of Setbacks||“Your design didn’t win this time, but it was really creative. Don’t get disheartened. Keep the ideas flowing!”|
|23. Recognize Improvements||“I know you’ve been working hard to improve your presentation skills, and it’s showing. Keep practicing!”|
|24. Cheer Your Team Across the Finish Line||“You’re so close to meeting your sales target. I’m in your corner – let me know if there’s any way I can help you meet it!”|
|25. Provide Reassurance and Motivation||“You’ve gotten off to an excellent start in your new role. Keep up the great work!”|
Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. Would the above comments make you feel good about your work?
They would for me. Even in the examples with small critiques, the overarching message is motivating and uplifting.
How to Give Employees Feedback
When giving feedback, it’s not simply what you say.
It’s about what the other person hears.
Your message is important, but what’s just as important is what they take away from the conversation.
Remember, your perspective is different from those you’re delivering feedback to. It’s essential to learn how to see the world from a different lens and channel your feedback in a way that your employees will receive.
There are three principles that I believe employers must use to deliver effective feedback:
- Emphasize clarity
- Always be specific
- Time your feedback correctly
But how do you deliver and present this feedback to the person so they do something with it?
In the following sections, I’ll break down each of these principles and offer examples that utilize them.
Clarity Is Key
Ambiguous feedback benefits nobody. When you’re giving feedback, don’t leave room for confusion and misinterpretation.
When your communication is unclear, your employees won’t understand how they can improve.
Your message should be clear, concise and easy to follow, and you should always use precise and definite statements that anyone can understand.
Here are three examples of clear-cit feedback:
|26. Explain the How and Why||“The marketing plan you presented was well-thought-out. It showed a clear understanding of our target audience and addressed the campaign’s key objectives.”|
|27. Be Direct and Precise||“I’ve noticed multiple errors in the report you submitted. Please double-check your data sources and calculations before submitting next time.”|
|28. Specify the Impact of Their Actions||“Your consistent punctuality has a direct positive impact on our team dynamics. It’s a great example that encourages everyone to manage their time better.”|
The above examples use language that gets the point across quickly and effectively without beating around the bush.
Effective feedback is specific feedback. To offer specific feedback, provide examples and solutions.
Rather than saying, “I like the way you communicate in client meetings,” try something like, “I appreciate how you communicate with client X. You’re always willing to clarify important information and devote additional time to understanding their needs.”
In the above example, I draw attention to a specific client and the behaviors I saw in the meeting.
Let’s look at more examples of specific feedback:
|29. Dive Into the Details||“The design you created for our client was exceptional. The color scheme perfectly matched their branding, and the layout was user-friendly and intuitive.”|
|30. Pinpoint Skills or Behaviors||“Your ability to resolve customer complaints swiftly and professionally is unmatched. It’s foundational to our commitment to fanatical customer service.”|
|31. Give Concrete Examples||“During project X, your excellent organizational skills kept everyone on track and ensured the project was finished and delivered before the deadline.”|
Each of these examples calls out a certain project, skill or behavior. Specific feedback lets employees know what they did well and where they can improve.
We’ve covered the what, why and where of feedback, so now let’s consider the when.
Timing is absolutely crucial because you need your feedback to remain relevant and top-of-mind.
Feedback is most effective when it is delivered close to the event.
If you notice a report seems rushed and incomplete, don’t wait until your next monthly one-on-one to address the issue. Give your feedback as soon as possible so they can improve their upcoming reports.
|32. Observe and Report||“Your presentation in today’s meeting was well-researched and delivered with confidence. Your preparation and effort really paid off.”|
|33. Don’t Delay Critical Feedback||“In the client call today, I noticed you interrupted our client several times. Let’s work on active listening in our future interactions.”|
|34. Give Feedback After Milestones||“The way you managed the most recent milestone in project X was commendable. Let’s review what worked well and what we can improve for future projects.”|
Did you notice how these examples used words like “today” or referred directly to a recent project? Offering feedback promptly keeps it relevant and top-of-mind.
Effective Feedback Builds an Awesome Culture
I know that as a leader, you might refrain from giving feedback because you don’t want to look like the bad guy.
But I promise you that your employees want feedback.
Your feedback has great power. Use it to your advantage .
Because with the power of excellent feedback, there’s no telling what your team can achieve.
To giving better feedback,