Recruitment: Seven tips for giving feedback in the workplace

Beef Central, 17/10/2014

Latest listings on our Jobs Central recruitment page:

  • Station Manager – Rocklands, Qld (Western Grazing Co)
  • Quality Assurance Manager – Tallangatta Meat Processors
  • Communications Manager – Stakeholder Engagement (MLA)
  • Stakeholder Engagement Manager (MLA)
  • Livestock Manager Toowoomba, Live Exports (Elders)
  • Graduate Program (AA Co)
  • Customer Service Executive (AA Co)
  • Head Stockman – Pigeon Hole Station (Heytesbury)
  • HR Administrator/Payroll – Deniliquin NSW (AMG)
  • QA Coordinator and Officers – Deniliquin NSW (AMG)
  • Abattoir Workers – Deniliquin NSW (AMG)
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Agriculture/Agribusiness (Launch* client)
  • Communications Manager – Digital (Launch* client)

Click here to access these and earlier recruitment listings.


What’s a fast and easy way to stoke employee productivity and interest? Tell them how they are doing. Right?

Some business owners may be more knowledgeable about livestock handling, pasture management and production management than they are about the people they work with. But investment in people will deliver far higher returns around the paddock. Your business does not just run itself, your people are a part of what makes it tick along like clockwork – and it pays to develop and nurture them!

Here are seven approaches to keep in mind:

Dole out feedback immediately

Feedback should be relayed as soon after an event or action as possible. Otherwise, the input isn’t memorable and may come across as an afterthought. If someone went beyond the call of duty or exceeded expectations, let them know soon after it happened.
Make it frequent
Don’t wait for formal appraisals. On a regular basis, think about the key people you work closely with and ask yourself: What have they done recently that was great? Then have a chat with them to communicate these messages. Make this a habit. Actively look for feedback moments. Remember, it doesn’t have to be formal!
Offer detailed and constructive comments
Generalised feedback such as “You’re doing a great job” is nice but not effective because it doesn’t tell the recipient what they can do more of. So describe specifically what was good and why it was important – it’d sound more genuine. This kind of feedback is more powerful because it shows you paid attention and your sincerity. It also helps your staff know what to build on and repeat.
Giving feedback in an appropriate manner
Negative feedback should always be articulated privately and is always better face to face. It should always be accompanied by recommendations for improvement. “This didn’t go well but it will go better if you…” Negative feedback without any recommendation provokes anger or frustration and is likely to leave the recipient feeling powerless.

Make sure you get your facts right before making a judgment. Don’t just assume you know why a mistake happened. Questions are better than answers here: What went wrong? How do you think we could have handled this better?

Consider how the individual receiving feedback likes to communicate. Some prefer it face to face, others like email, and some like phone calls. Different generations have distinct preferences too. Where possible, give feedback how the other person desires to receive it.


Offer relevant points
Only give feedback on stuff that matters. Compliments on appearances are great for friends but not for staff. All feedback should focus on behaviour that makes a difference to the business or an individual’s ability to conduct business.
Be careful with comparisons
Where appropriate, make comparisons with prior performance (“We’re getting much better at this!”). This builds pride and a sense of accomplishment, which both drive the desire to do better. Do NOT ever compare employees with peers or direct reports or any one else inside the organisation. That only creates gossip and politics.
Make a difference
Without feedback, people feel invisible and insignificant. They may feel that they, and their hard work, are taken for granted, or that you don’t care about them or their work. This only makes it more likely they won’t care about you and your work either. Feedback builds and reinforces the connection between you.

When properly implemented, feedback can be a powerful tool in the workplace. Apply these tips the next time you need to provide feedback to an employee, and they just might thank you.


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