June 19, 2015
A song was written, “Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” Though this song may be a bit Pop, there is a lot of wisdom in this request. Studies show that employees want and need this feedback. The corporate benefit in doing so is multifold. Dr. Jan West, PHD, wrote an article about the biggest complaints of employees about their employers on the National Business Research Institute website. She quoted Heidi Gorman, CMO of the Capital H Group stating that the biggest employee complaint is that they do not get enough information from their employers to have answers to basic questions like:
Most companies have written job descriptions for every role. They tend to be generic and applicable to the role as merely a task list. However, most employees are judged on quantifiable measurements.
Goals and tasks change over time as the employee becomes more experienced. Establishing procedures for communicating goals on a current basis eliminates excuses, and the employee is never surprised when discussions take place concerning them. It eliminates reactionary conversations, and provides more productive ones.
My husband’s biggest complaint about me is that I can get angry and he never really knows why. I simply assume he knows what he did wrong. However, if I didn’t tell him what I want him to do, how could he know? The same applies to employees. If you are not telling them what is expected, prior to placing judgment on their performance, then you may not be making a fair assessment. Likewise, the biggest employee complaint originates with vague expectations.
The “For Dummies” Blog posted an excerpt written by Marilee B. Springer in her Leadership for Dummies book. She wrote about how to give employees feedback. She explains what to do and the psychological reasons why her recommendations yield the best results. I found it to be an interesting read. Marilee notes the importance of providing feedback as things are happening and not months later, at the time of their scheduled review.
When feedback is current, it has the biggest impact. If the feedback is negative, the employee knows they have time to correct their behavior before their formal review. With good feedback, they will feel good. The feedback will align their positive approach to other things they may be doing. The end result will be less bad behavior and more good. This will happen because there is clarity being relayed in your expectations.
Over time, this immediate communication can really pay off for you and the company. This is when the education happens. No one likes to deliver bad news. Worse, many will neglect to deliver good news. Everyone is so busy. It easier to just eliminate communication altogether. However, keeping communication current – both the good and the bad – will have a positive impact.