Supervisor Skills: Secrets of Success

Employee Feedback: A Tool for Growth & Development

November 02, 2021 AEU LEAD Season 1 Episode 12
Supervisor Skills: Secrets of Success
Employee Feedback: A Tool for Growth & Development
Show Notes Transcript

Providing employees feedback is important to their ongoing growth and development. Unfortunately, only 30% routinely receive it and among those – most feel the information provided by their manager is either negative or too vague to be valuable. The process of engaging with employees for targeted development is neither complex nor difficult. In this episode, our host Joe White discusses what matters most and highlights the means by which follow-up and support can most effectively be provided.

View this episode on our website.

About Joe
As Director of AEU LEAD, Joe White focuses on helping members transform operational goals into actionable plans through a structured change management process. Prior to joining AEU, Joe was a senior consultant for E.I. DuPont’s consulting division, DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS). He joined DSS in 2011 to develop the next generation of safety practices using extensive research in behavioral sciences he’s compiled over a period of nearly two decades. His efforts resulted in the development of The Risk Factor, which is now the flagship instructor-led offering for the consulting division. Combined, Joe has 26 years of operational safety experience, the majority of which was with DuPont. Joe has been published in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine for his prominent work in safety relative to behavioral and neurosciences and is an event speaker at many leading industry conferences including National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expos, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA). Joe is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a B.S., in Safety and Risk Administration.

Where you can find Joe


Supervisor Skills: Secrets of Success is a production of AEU LEAD, a division of The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. With 60 years of combined industry experience, our supervisor training program gives mid-level managers in the maritime industry the skills needed to influence employees, customers, and peers. This increases employee engagement, reduces turnover and rework, and ultimately results in higher profits for their company. 

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Whether you realize it or not, your employees want to know how they're doing. More importantly, they want to know how they can get better. In today's episode, we're talking about feedback. Stay with us as we dive into this important topic.

Hello, and thank you for joining us today. My name is Joe White and I'm the host of Supervisor Skills: Secrets of Success. The SOS podcast series is produced to create ongoing development opportunities for mid and frontline managers. With each episode, we take on topics of interest and share insights and perspectives for the benefit of our listeners.

In today's SOS's short episode, we're talking about employee feedback. We're going to be discussing the importance of it and highlighting a process that can be used to provide it. The topic is one of growing interest in what employees routinely say is in need of improvement. Hopefully, we can offer some suggestions today that you'll be able to benefit from.

So what is employee feedback? Employee feedback is information you provide to employees for their ongoing development. It's based on recognized needs, specific to the individual or individuals involved, and is intended to improve their performance.

According to a Forbes article, over 70% of employees consider it an important part of their ongoing development. And that's especially true for our more recent or junior in most generations. However, only one-third report receiving it. And when they do, most often, they feel it's negative or too vague. So how do you actually provide it? How do you give feedback? What does the process look like?

First and foremost, you need to identify improvement opportunities within the employee. In the past, we may have focused on outcomes, either you were or you weren't meeting expectations. Feedback was often given annually or in some cases semi-annually. Today, we need to be focused on those things that lead to outcomes. How can the job or the task be done better, or effectively, or efficiently with less risk? Feedback also needs to be provided in real-time and ongoing. When you're identifying proven opportunities, look for ways to help the employee be more successful, not necessarily for reasons why they're not.

Number two, determine needed changes. Feedback is intended to bring about personal growth and development for the person receiving it. Growth and development are by-products of change. When you identify improvement opportunities, they most often are in the form of the what. Determining needed change is about the how. How exactly will the employee respond to the feedback and grow from the experience?

Number three, agree on a path forward. The third step is all about gaining alignment, making sure you and the employer are on the same page. It's also about commitment. When providing feedback to employees, you need to get their buy-in support for making needed changes moving forward. If you involve them in the process, this is a whole lot easier to get.

While the process itself involves these three primary steps, follow-up and support are needed for most employees to succeed. Change takes time, as we're all creatures of habit. The transition period can vary, but on average, you can expect it to take at least six weeks for new habits to form. As a supervisor, you have to provide support throughout this period of time.

Aside from providing needed support, you should periodically follow up with employees receiving the feedback just to see how things are going. And on average, I would suggest doing so weekly, nothing formal, just a check-in is all that's required. If something does pop up, make sure you respond to it in a timely manner.

The last point that I would like to make with regard to providing feedback is that you need to recognize any and all improvements made. Modern research is consistently showing positive feedback is linked to the employee's overall experience with the company and the relationship that exists between them and their supervisor. Simply put, most employees don't feel valued or appreciated and consistently complain about not being recognized for a job well done. Celebrate gains, no matter how small. And remember, progress is what matters most.

In summary, I'd like to offer several important points. Feedback is essential to developing employees. It should be offered in real-time. It's an ongoing and collaborative process involving dialogue and discussion. And finally, emphasis should be placed on where the employee is going and not where they've been.

Thank you for joining us today. I certainly hope today's topic is one you'll be able to benefit from. We look forward to sharing additional podcasts with you in the months ahead and welcome any suggestions you might have or topics you'd like to see us cover. We're always looking for guests and enjoy sharing insights and success stories from the field, if that's something you'd like to be a part of, just let us know.

The SOS podcast series is brought to you by AEU LEAD, a consultancy dedicated to the needs of front and midline managers. We value and appreciate any feedback, and would encourage you to review and rate your experience with this show wherever you access your podcast.