In many organizations, feedback isn’t an employee’s favorite word. Rapid heartbeats, sweaty palms, and stomach clenches usually follow the word’s mention. However, feedback isn’t something to be feared — instead, it should be welcomed and even sought after.
However, for your employees to become unafraid of having feedback conversations, a considerable amount of work is required from managers, HR leaders, and the leadership team in general.
In this post, we share 22 positive employee feedback examples and ideas you can use to give employees proper feedback.
What is Employee Feedback?
Employee feedback is formal or informal communication/advice, usually from leadership to employees concerning their skills, teamwork, and performance over a period of time.
Although managers do most of the feedback, peers or co-workers can also give effective employee feedback.
Types of Employee Feedback
As you might have surmised, there are different types of employee feedback. Some schools of thought have up to ten types of feedback, but we believe that all of these types can be grouped into three main formats:
This form of feedback focuses on recognizing and rewarding good behavior, work, and skills. It’s vital as it connects people and can spur them on to work even better.
In addition, appreciation is crucial because it’s one of the vital factors for better performance.
This form of feedback is the easiest to deliver for most managers — although you still need to work hard to give it out. It’s the most common as well, for when people say, “ I don’t get feedback at work,” what they’re often really saying is, “ I don’t get appreciated enough at work.”
This feedback format involves assisting an employee in improving their skills, expanding their knowledge, and increasing their capabilities.
A unique feature of coaching feedback is its ability to address the feelings of those involved, whether the manager, peer, or employee, thus strengthening workplace relationships.
Also, it could be an amalgamation of appreciation and evaluation as it often involves regular reviews.
This final type of feedback assesses a worker against a set of standards and is the scariest for most employees due to its formal nature.
These three main types of feedback are valuable, and each has its place depending on the setting. However, as an HR leader or executive, you must understand which feedback you need to deliver if you want it to achieve the desired result.
5 Benefits of Positive Employee Feedback
Giving proper feedback can improve work culture and opens the door to a lot of benefits. Here are just some of the biggest reasons why your company needs to incorporate a feedback culture:
1. It Makes Employees Better
In perhaps his most famous poem, Robert Burns said, “Oh, would some Power give us the gift, To see ourselves as others see us! It would from many a blunder free us, And foolish notion.”
Feedback makes it possible for people to see themselves as others do. It offers an opportunity to see themselves in a new light and know how their behavior impacts the company. Therefore, give feedback that praises positive behavior while correcting negative behavior.
2. It’s Essential to Workplace Happiness
Everyone wants to feel appreciated and that the work they do is noticed. When you give formal or informal feedback to your employees, you are, in effect, telling them, “I see you, and I value you.” Much has been made about the benefits of employee recognition, and feedback builds on these benefits.
Even negative feedback is good as it can make people want to be better versions of themselves.
3. Feedback Improves Employee Productivity
Feedback is critical to employee productivity as well. A study by Western Michigan University reveals that feedback can increase employee performance by up to 20% when done correctly.
Another Gallup study also discovered that teams with feedback-focused managers produce 12.5% more than teams whose managers failed to provide feedback.
4. Improves Employee Engagement
A Globoforce/SHRM report shows there is a clear relationship between employee engagement and feedback. According to the report, 89% of HR leaders agree that feedback is vital to the success of any organization.
Furthermore, a whopping 98% of employees “fail to be engaged when managers give little or no feedback.’
Therefore, HR leaders must inculcate a culture of feedback in the workplace.
Even if your workers don’t say it directly, they’re hungry for feedback. In addition, a significant part of today’s workforce is made up of Millenials and Gen Y who want regular feedback, whether positive or negative. Therefore, you must excel at feedback if you’re going to retain your best talent and keep them engaged.
5. Feedback Improves Relationships
Another reason to invest in a feedback-rich culture is that it opens communication channels between peers. In addition, when there is a feedback channel, it’s easier for employees to resolve conflicts and reduce tension correctly in the workplace.
With feedback, you can get any problems in the open so that you can resolve them.
22 Positive Employee Feedback Ideas and Examples
Here are some great positive employee feedback examples and ideas you can use as a framework. Of course, you’d need to adjust the language to work for your specific circumstance.
What to say when:
1. An Employee Exhibits a Core Value
If your employee has exhibited a core value of your organization, for example, autonomy, you could say:
2. Someone Goes Above and Beyond
Other than their responsibilities, perhaps a worker has done some extra activities that boost morale. For example, you could give positive feedback by saying:
3. Someone Puts Their Team Above Self
Selflessness should be encouraged, so if an employee puts the team above themself, you should give them positive feedback. An example of what you could say is:
4. An Employee Works Hard
Although results are fantastic, you should recognize hard work and effort too. A positive feedback example that could help a hardworking employee feel motivated to keep up the excellent work is:
5. Someone Displays Their Problem-solving Skills
An ability to solve problems is one of the most sought-after skills anyone could have. To that end, encourage workers that display this quality by saying something like:
6. Commending Employees Who Communicate Well
Every successful company needs workers that are great at conversation. Reinforcing good communication skills will spur workers to do even better in the future. You could say, as an example:
7. Expressing Delight When Peers Hit Goals or Milestones
It’s only suitable to reward employees for meeting a goal. However, whether you assisted them in reaching the plan or not, a little positive feedback can go a long way in making them better employees. Here’s an example of positive feedback that you could give:
8. Employees Participate in Company Initiatives
Giving feedback for employee participation in optional company programs is one way to get them involved in future challenges and events. For example, if your staff has participated in such an event, you could say:
9. Co-Workers Help Others
Waiting for a formal appraisal before doling out praise in the form of positive feedback can be detrimental to your employee’s engagement. Instead, give them feedback promptly and keep them strong by saying:
10. Peers Collaborate Well With Others
If your employee had to work with others on a project, here’s what you can say:
11. Co-Workers Resolve Conflicts
Conflicts are bound to arise in the workplace. Therefore, employees that can resolve disputes are invaluable to your organization. Show them value by saying something like:
12. Employees Set a Great Example
If a worker motivates others to follow their good example, they deserve positive feedback. You could tell them:
13. People Take on New Roles
Workers that have taken up new assignments or roles in the organization need to know whether they’re doing a great job or not. If they are, one way to let them know is to say:
14. Staff Make Customers Happy
Happy customers lead to more business. If an employee is especially proving helpful, positive feedback is a sure-fire way to boost their morale and productivity. Here’s something to say:
15. An Employee Develop New Skills
Employees that seek to develop themselves should be encouraged. For example, give positive feedback like this:
16. An Employee Shares a Good Idea
Perhaps your worker came up with an excellent idea at the last meeting. You could say to them:
17. An Employee Has an Excellent Attendance Record
Always look for ways to give praise — even if it’s for something as simple as an excellent attendance record. Say to them:
18. Co-workers are Responding to a Change
A change in management, systems, software, or something else isn’t easy. You can help your employees by giving positive feedback amid this change by saying:
19. Employees Have Been Working Overtime
While working overtime means they’ll get paid more, it’s still nice to take time to praise your workers for their extra efforts. The positive feedback you could give:
20. An Employee Shows Exemplary Qualities
If your staff shows good qualities that tie to organizational values, then you should speak up. Say to them:
21. Peers Take Initiative
Employees that can drive things on their own are valuable parts of any organization. So if you have such a worker, here’s something you could say:
22. Employees Receive Praise
Amplifying the praise an employee received from someone else ensures that they hear the good things others say about them.
Modify these good examples of feedback to employees and enjoy a vibrant, friendly, and productive workplace.
Principles of Effective Positive Employee Feedback
Let’s now consider vital principles that can guide you when you want to give such feedback.
Being specific is the opposite of being vague and leaving people wondering, “Am I doing good or bad? How should I use this information I’ve been given?”
If it’s not specific, your staff won’t know which of their skills are tremendous or need improvement.
To this end, ensure you tell them precisely what you love about their work.
We love the LifeLabs playing cards analogy for what constitutes specific positive feedback vs. vague feedback.
The recency effect is one of the problems with quarterly or annual reviews—employee engagement peaks when you give real-time feedback.
If you wait for a relatively long time before giving feedback, it won’t have the desired effect anymore and might cause several problems that could have been dealt with if addressed earlier.
Using an employee recognition platform like Nectar facilitates frequent, positive feedback that benefits your organization and employees alike.
Make Feedback Actionable
Making feedback actionable is particularly important when giving constructive feedback. Your counsel should include specific ways the staff can improve. Ensure your feedback is future-focused and offers a solution instead of just being provided for the sake of saying something.
For example, you could say, “You handled that last project very well despite the challenges involved. Did you see how I used the Kanban board to keep everything organized? I’d love you to use the same method for our future projects.”
People can tell when you’re insincere with your comments or feedback. If you have a habit of giving phony feedback, your people will notice, and your words won’t carry weight any longer. Honest feedback is the best policy.
The Sandwich technique is a widespread technique some HR leaders use to give feedback. In this technique, corrective feedback is placed in the middle of two pieces of positive feedback. It sounds great in theory, but in real life, it’s dangerous.
For example, how’d you feel if your manager said this to you: “The last meeting you organized was productive. But did you notice that it was rather disorganized because you didn’t distribute the agenda before the meeting? How do you think you could improve? Nevertheless, you’re doing well in gathering information and circulating the minutes of the meeting.”
I bet you’d be confused and wonder whether you’re doing a good job or not if you received this type of feedback.
As a manager, avoid this type of feedback because it is confusing, and some might even find it deceitful. If your feedback is constructive, accentuate the criticism so that your primary objective of helping your employee isn’t lost in the “sugar-coating.”
Practice What You Preach
Actions speak louder than words, and this is true for feedback.
It’s always best to practice what you’re encouraging others to do. If you have the same faults, you’ll simply come off as being insincere.
Watch Your Tone
In many cases, what you say doesn’t have as much of an effect as how you say it — thus, your feedback should be kind and empathetic.
When giving constructive feedback, for example, avoid using solely negative language to pass your point.
Exclusively using negative language will accomplish one of two things:
- It’ll probably result in employees ignoring your feedback, or
- It could embarrass/hurt them and cause them to focus on how you delivered the message.
Elena, Organizational Development Specialist at Mirro suggests, “thinking about how the other person would feel if they received that feedback, before giving it.”
Make Achievements Public
Unless the employee wishes otherwise, it’s excellent to make positive feedback public — as it boosts morale and improves employee happiness, whether you give it informally or formally.
You can use software like Nectar to recognize an employee’s good work.
On the other hand, negative feedback is best given in private.
How to create a Feedback Culture in Your Company
As we’ve seen, giving feedback is beneficial, both to your employees and your organization. So how can you create a culture of feedback at work? Here are five tips that can help you:
1. Talk About the Type of Feedback Culture You Want
CareerLife’s Yewande Jinadu recommends that you “enlighten them (employees) on the essence and importance of feedback” if you want to build the proper feedback culture in your organization.
To that end, you need to explain that you want it as part of your company’s day-to-day operations. When positive feedback occurs monthly or even weekly, it becomes a welcome event in the lives of your employees.
2. Build Systems for Giving Feedback
Talking about the need to exchange feedback in your company would only have the desired effect when you set systems in place to give and receive feedback daily.
Aderonke Salami, an HR consultant, recommends conducting employee engagement surveys on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.
Another suggestion is to use some time in your weekly check-ins for feedback by adding it to the meeting agenda. You could also introduce recognition software that makes it easier to give feedback.
3. Lead by Example
You shouldn’t expect your employees to welcome feedback if they don’t see you leading by example. Therefore, ask for feedback often, in full view of employees, and thank people for it — even if you don’t entirely agree with said feedback.
4. Let Positive Feedback Outweigh Negative Feedback
It’s challenging to build a feedback culture if your work environment is hostile and breeds negative feedback. On the other hand, your employees are likely to be more receptive to changing lousy behavior if they see you notice good behavior as well.
Use the principles we’ve talked about and the examples we’ll provide later to frame positive feedback.
5. Build Relationships
It’s easier to give and receive feedback if it’s coming from someone you have a good relationship with. Thus, take the time to build human connections with your employees, showing that you care about them as people and not just workers.
With so many things happening every day at a workplace, employees and managers barely take out to listen. To build a positive feedback culture, you need to listen to what your co-workers and employees say with an open mind.
Michelle Cahill, a former Shift Lead at Instacart, was able to raise her store position from last to second in her district (behind the biggest store in the country). What does she say contributed to her team’s success?
It’s vital to have feedback sessions with your employees regularly to help them improve as workers. Giving feedback doesn’t have to be scary, as long as we begin to see it as the gift that it is. When done correctly, it can build strengths and help employees develop skills.
The positive employee feedback examples and ideas that we’ve provided can assist you in delivering feedback more effectively and building beautiful, high-performing culture.