The Goal of Feedback

Feedback is the foundation for improvement in any level of business. Effective feedback and effective communication go hand-in-hand in creating a successful work environment. Like other forms of workplace communication feedback should be given clearly, consistently, and with the intention of creating a healthier culture for your and your employees. Some business leaders mistake feedback for something that is done only when there is a problem, and usually looks like pointing out an employee’s mistakes and demanding better performance in the future. But the best and most successful feedback is given periodically with two specific goals in mind:

Goal 1: Employee Awareness and Effectiveness
Every member of an organization from the bottom to the top has the power to influence the culture of the company. However, many of those individuals go unaware of their true effect on the work atmosphere until those who recognize it are able to highlight it through feedback. Effective employee feedback can determine the level of ownership an individual is willing to take in their daily tasks. When we are intentional about making employees aware of their strengths, their areas of improvement, and how they impact their environment, we are giving them the opportunity to become a more empowered member of the workplace. An empowered employee is a productive employee.

Goal 2: Producing a Different Outcome
This is the goal that often comes to mind when we think about why we give feedback. When a system in your company isn’t functioning as intended, the solution usually lies within communication between you and your employees. When done well, giving holistic feedback on employee performance can open up a discussion about where the misunderstanding or conflict lies in the system, which can greatly improve the workplace and relationship between you and your employee.

I’ve emphasized a lot at this point the term “effective” feedback. That is because it is not enough to simply give feedback. We have to make it a goal to give feedback with clarity, tact, and a goal to empower the employee, not identify his flaws. How effective you are at giving feedback is almost the sole determining factor of whether or not you will get the desired outcome in the workplace.