Feedback Examples (Plus Why it Is Important and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 7, 2021

Leading an organization toward greater productivity and higher revenues requires continuous efforts to improve employee performance. Feedback is an important resource that managers use to advise team members on achieving more, making fewer errors, and conserving resources. If you're interested in learning how to provide feedback so that others are receptive, reviewing best communication practices can help. In this article, we define feedback, explain its value to organizations, and offer tips and feedback examples for giving it successfully.

Related: 18 People Skills for a Productive Work Environment

What is feedback?

Feedback is the reaction to or evaluation of an employee's performance. Typically, managers are the primary sources of feedback since their role is to help their team members improve and correct their mistakes. Customers may also share feedback with businesses, and colleagues often share feedback among themselves. Employers might even ask their employees for feedback to better manage their organization and meet their needs.

Since feedback is a form of criticism, skilled professionals aim to present it with respect for recipients' emotions. Doing so improves the chances that recommendations for improvement result in a more successful organization. Here are two common types of feedback:

Positive feedback

Positive feedback, or reinforcing feedback, is an encouragement to continue a behaviour or method. It helps employees know when they're excelling and rewards them for their efforts. Positive feedback is important because it can contribute to greater morale, enhance employee's confidence in their work, and increase job satisfaction and employee loyalty to the organization. Through positive feedback, you can show your team that you're aware of their daily responsibilities and want to tell them how valuable their contributions are.

Constructive feedback

Constructive feedback, or redirecting feedback, seeks to explain how employees can expand on their productive habits and find new approaches to replace their less successful ones. Delivered with consideration, constructive feedback makes employees feel supported and challenged to grow. While some employees may take pride in their work and find it challenging to hear that there are areas for improvement, managers can help these individuals feel more comfortable learning how they can do even better in their roles. Applying constructive feedback may also help employees earn a promotion or establish themselves as industry experts.

Why is feedback important?

Providing helpful feedback can benefit organizations in several ways, including:

Healthier company cultures

Companies that provide feedback regularly and thoughtfully signal to their employees that they want to help them grow. They embrace positive communication habits that account for people's different interpersonal strengths and concern individual and collective achievement. Team members who give extra effort feel acknowledged when they receive positive feedback, and those who face challenges receive the guidance they need to overcome them.

Related: How to Learn More About a Company's Culture

Improved employee satisfaction

For many professionals, ideal job opportunities involve environments that feature mentorship, learning, and open communication. Feedback is essential for all these aspects. Experienced managers can use feedback to mentor their team members and help them apply new ways of thinking. Colleagues who give each other feedback respectfully often gain skills and enjoy sharing their thoughts among receptive coworkers. This can also lead to more trust among team members.

Greater productivity

One of the core functions of feedback is to reduce practices that limit productivity. Whether at the individual level or the entire organization, feedback identifies inefficient workflows and helps managers understand how they add time or costs to operations. The more frequently you help employees improve productivity, the sooner you can enjoy the resulting improvement to your company's success. If employees can complete their obligations in less time, they likely appreciate any feedback that helps them do so.

Better client relations

Many businesses' success depends on maintaining trusting relationships with clients. Companies earn greater customer loyalty when they share their feedback throughout their organizations, enabling employees to improve how they meet clients' needs. Especially if they receive criticism, managers who remain receptive to valid points can help their teams learn from even the most challenging client interactions and focus on progress.

Tips for providing constructive feedback

Here are several tips to help you effectively deliver clear, positive feedback others can act on:

Wait for the right moment

When you notice an employee's behaviour you want to comment on, consider if the current setting or timing is ideal. Employees are typically more receptive to feedback when undistracted and relaxed.

For example, a sales representative might feel disappointed after an unsuccessful call with a client. Their manager would likely benefit from offering tips and suggestions after some time has passed and when the representative is in a better mood. It may be best to pick a time when you feel relaxed and have time to dedicate to the conversation so you can carefully choose your words and convey your support to the employee.

Be open to questions

Feedback supports the learning process, equipping employees with fresh ideas, methods, and self-awareness. Since it often involves new information, employees might need to clarify the concepts you share with them. Communicate your openness to receiving questions so employees understand you want to help them improve, rather than simply correct a mistake. Questions also reveal potential sources of confusion that could've led the employee to perform the task the way they did.

Make it part of your company culture

When feedback is a regular feature of a work environment, employees expect it and anticipate comments on their performance. Though spontaneous situations might require intervention, you can also create regular forums for feedback. Consider conducting monthly or quarterly performance reviews or using regular meetings as opportunities to share feedback with your team. You can also encourage ongoing constructive feedback among peers.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

Provide actionable instructions

Feedback often stems from an organization's need for employees to perform better. For example, production or sales quotas that ensure companies remain profitable might require managers to use feedback whenever their teams fail to meet these goals. In these cases, the feedback you offer must include specific, actionable instructions that help employees understand how to improve.

Rather than relying on general language and requests, such as telling an employee to work faster, use specific language that explains why an issue exists and how the team member can overcome it. For instance, a manager might point out that how an employee sequences their tasks creates inefficiencies they could eliminate by reordering them.

Feedback examples to inspire success

Here are some positive and constructive feedback examples of how you can empower employees to complete their tasks better and improve their skills:

Positive feedback for encouraging teamwork

Positive feedback is often easiest to provide because you can deliver it with a spontaneous comment of approval when you see an employee performing well. In this example, a manager in a consulting firm wants to commend a team for the communication practices it embraced while working for a client. The manager could send their feedback in an email, share it during a group meeting, or express approval in multiple one-on-one discussions.

Thank you all for the fantastic communication you provided throughout the recent project. Receiving such succinct yet informative status updates made overseeing all your work much easier for me and allowed me to help some of our newer employees. I hope you share your update formatting with the other teams. They would certainly benefit from reproducing your approach.

Constructive feedback for improving productivity

Constructive feedback balances recognizing employees' strengths and addressing their weaknesses. Since many professionals value opportunities to enhance their skills, they often appreciate thoughtful feedback if it comes from a trusted source. In this example, a school administrator blends different types of feedback to help a teacher conduct assessments more efficiently and improve learning outcomes.

Overall, I found your lesson plan to be well-structured and organized. You have successfully established a class format that the students enjoy following. I did note that you might benefit from trying a different approach for grading their quizzes. Rather than grading them yourself and reviewing answers next class, you can have students exchange their assignments and grade them as you review the answers. You can save yourself a few hours a week this way and review content while the questions are fresh in students' minds.

Explore more articles