Why Is Giving Feedback So Damn Hard?

Every time I run a coaching training course the question of how much feedback to give always comes up. Some managers believe that it’s still ok to do this once or twice a year, which is very scary. Of course you can’t be providing feedback every day to all of your team members, however it certainly needs to be provided more than twice a year.

This was reinforced by data from Gallup that found out only 22% of employees in the UK receive feedback daily or a few times a week. 40% receive feedback either a few times a year or once a year or less. This is not what the younger generation want, they are generally feedback junkies, who are used to receiving regular feedback at school and Uni, so the same had better apply at work otherwise they are off to a company that does. They are very keen to find out ways they can improve and grow so most are very open to all types of feedback.

We’d suggest that feedback needs to be provided weekly to every team member to work on their weaknesses and enhance their strengths and then you can work out who needs it more often and who doesn’t. Not everyone wants or needs the same amount of feedback however poorer performers need their performance reviewed much more regularly until they either improve or leave.

When it comes to providing feedback, a lot of managers are hesitant, thinking that there will be push back, arguments and team members becoming defensive. If this is the case then the way the feedback is being provided is highly likely to be causing this reaction with team members.

Here’s some pointers to help you with your feedback process.

  • Up the amount of positive feedback you are currently providing. All team members are open to receiving positive feedback and everyone I talk to at my training courses say they want more. So if they want more and are open to it, as the shoe brand says “Just do it”.

However there’s a bit of a process to making your positive feedback effective, while giving generic positive feedback is nice, it won’t necessarily keep the team member doing what you want them to do. If your feedback is concise (about 10 seconds), timely (just after it happened) and is factual (telling the team member exactly what they said or did that you liked), they are highly likely to repeat the same good behaviour with the next customer.

  • Get rid of the sandwich method (which I have already blogged about Why We Need to Leave The Feedback Sandwich In Its Wrapper) as it doesn’t work very well on the job. On the job you don’t have a lot of time to give feedback, and the sandwich method tends to cover too much detail. Instead switch to our improvement feedback model that is sharp and concise and is only followed up with positive feedback when the team member gets it right.

  • Always look for opportunities tő observe your team in action so you can then provide feedback. Too many times when I’m in stores, managers are too busy being busy with tasks to notice things that need to be improved or opportunities to give positive feedback.

These opportunities are gold as it shows your team you care about their performance as well as you are there to support them to be the best they can be.

Regular feedback is critical to grow your team members as well as to manage poor performers, so you can have the best team who will consistently offer a great experience for your valuable clients. If you don’t provide regular feedback, your customers won’t enjoy a great experience and will simply shop elsewhere.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.