Why Employees Need Better Manager Feedback
Despite employees’ desires to be successful and productive at work, many of us have found ourselves leaving meetings with our manager confused and unsure of our next steps. Bad communication in the workplace is not just frustrating for employees, it can be extremely harmful to the overall health of the business. Research by Gartner shows that 70% of business mistakes are due to poor communication. Poor communication often stems from a lack of clear steps to success and badly set expectations for employees. Employees’ productivity, moral and engagement are all negatively affected by not having actionable steps to reach their goals. Additionally, precious time is often wasted by a lack of clear expectations from management. Optimizing your manager and employee interactions comes down to their ability to align with each other and with their organization’s goals by creating an actionable plan for success. Today we will discuss the high-level ways you can help facilitate these conversations and work towards improving performance and engagement within your organization.
How to make manager feedback more actionable
Take stock of your employees’ skills and aspirations
It is important for managers to devote time to understand how their employees are feeling, where they may be encountering roadblocks and what they want out of their future careers. Some questions managers should have answers to are: What skills do their employees currently possess? Are they utilizing these skills to the fullest? Are they happy in a position where they use these skills? These questions help managers fully understand the talent that they have access to and allows them to build a stronger relationship between them and their team. Taking a personal approach whenever possible helps build trust which foundational for many aspects of your internal communication.
To learn more about utilizing your employees’ career aspirations, read our blog, “Benefits of Supporting Your Employees’ Career Aspirations”.
Provide career paths to help you both visualize their future
Career paths are a great visual aid to help both employee and manager to communicate goals and career opportunities. For example, an employee may have a career aspiration to become a manager and a tool like career pathing can help take this ambitious objective and break it down into actionable steps. Once this is established, there are clear expectations between the employee and their manager which creates an increased chance of promotional success. Career pathing is a catalyst for mobility and can allow for employees to see internal career options both vertically and laterally. When employees are provided this visibility, it can help set the stage for a career plan that they will be more likely to continue working on with their manager and therefore stay inside your organization.
Create structured development plans based on their skill gaps
Once an employee’s career path is set, they will be able to better understand their skill gaps. This can start with closing any skill gaps that they need for their current position and can continue to work toward what they will need for their future. Skill gaps are found when employees assess their skills and receive feedback from their managers to validate their self-assessment. This creates an opportunity for employees and managers to discuss skill areas where they may not be in agreement. Through this assessment, managers and employees establish a continuous dialogue to help employees achieve their goals as they work through their development plan.
Assess how things are going with regular check-ins
Make sure to create a continuous feedback cycle with your employees to keep them on track. Many companies are still stuck in the mindset of utilizing annual performance reviews to dive into a year’s worth of feedback access. This standard review often revolves around a critique of an accumulation of past work, instead of looking at how employees are performing through milestones. Moving to a more regular system of communication can help managers quickly identify what isn’t working and allow for timely informed adjustments. This helps create a dynamic workplace where employees can adjust to feedback in real-time instead of waiting for an annual review.
How better manager feedback benefits your organization
Taking the time to make manager and employee communication more accessible creates opportunities for consistent feedback and sets clear expectations on employee career goals. Regularly updating employees and aligning them with business goals is important for keeping your workforce on track. By establishing a routine of feedback on skills, career plans, and performance, employees will always know what to work on next and their managers can provide assistance when it is needed. When you’re more in touch with your employees, you can answer the questions of where they are at today with skills and career goals and help guide them into their futures. Giving your employees access to this kind of clear communication with their managers can have company-wide, performance benefits to better engage your workforce of both today and tomorrow.
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