Encouraging Employee Improvement
: supervisor feedback doesn’t have to be unpleasant
The semi-annual employee review: some dread it, some come ready to fight for a raise. Some supervisors avoid it entirely. But it can be an avenue for growth.
Good supervisor feedback (built on a basis of relationship, respect, support, humility, immediacy, specificity, and appreciation) drives measurable growth.
Scheduled time without distractions for feedback like weekly/monthly 1-on-1’s respects the other person. Giving at least five compliments for every improvement needed can reduce resentment, defensiveness, and turnover. And always praise in public, and present growth areas in private.
Consider structuring conversations with these principles:
Relationship: discussing work and non-work topics can create mutual respect Positive: “I am glad you’re here, and appreciate your teamwork/skills....” Respect: “I’ve seen great improvement in...” Support: “What resources, or information can I provide to support you?” Humble: “I may not be saying this right, I hope you’ll hear my intent.” Immediate: “I saw something just now that I’m asking improvement on.” Specific: “This one action/habit/method is what needs work.” Impact: “This causes problems when we...” Plan: “Let’s create a plan together to fix this process or increase skills.” Appreciation: “Thanks for working on this, let me know how next steps go.”
ISO 9001:2015 recognizes that social and psychological factors exist in work environments (7.1.4 NOTE) and requires organizations to provide the “environment necessary for the operation of its processes and to achieve conformity of products and services.” Good supervisor feedback is a vital part of an engaged culture, benefiting both staff and customers.