In the January/February 1991 issue of Child Care Information Exchange, it’s editor, Roger Neugebauer, wrote and published the article “12 Reasons People Love to Work for You.” In it, Neugebauer focuses on the practices of directors at childcare centers where teacher turnover is low. Based on his observations, he determined twelve practices you can implement to motivate people to remain in your employment.
REASON # 3: You provide people with feedback.
One of the most frequent employee complaints is that they do not receive feedback about their efforts. According to management guru Peter Drucker, what employees most need to improve their performance is an abundance of objective, timely feedback on the results of their performance.
Feedback helps staff to know how they are performing in relation to expectations and goals and allows them to consider their own performance and its effect on co-workers. Feedback, when done properly, improves performance, increases productivity, and encourages teamwork
Effective feedback should be:
- DESCRIPTIVE rather than evaluative
- SPECIFIC rather than general
- Effective in meeting the NEEDS OF BOTH employee and supervisor
- Directed toward BEHAVIOR that the employee can do something about
- CHECKED to insure clear communication
Reinforcing feedback is much easier to give than to receive and, unfortunately, is not present as often as it should be. Do not take acceptable work for granted. Where would you be without it? Employees respond amazingly well when supervisors show appreciation for their work. What’s more, these actions take very little time and can cost little or nothing. Outstanding performers seek feedback as much as those who need improvement. Contrary to some thinking, outstanding performers can be motivated to even higher performance when they know what they do well, as well as what they can do to improve their performance. When complimenting someone’s work, be specific and sincere, keep it short, and smile! For example, say “Michelle, nice job on the bulletin board! The information is helpful, and the children’s artwork really gets parents’ attention. Thanks!” This statement will help Michelle feel well regarded by someone who is important in her life–her supervisor. Most people appreciate this type of praise and work hard to receive it. When you notice something worthy of praise, make a note to yourself so that you can bring it up later in the annual performance summary.
Not recognizing someone’s performance can be a de-motivator. People are better able to hear and respond to constructive criticism when there is a balance of criticism and praise. If an individual only hears the negative, then there is little motivation to improve.
The goal of corrective feedback is to give it in such a way that the individual receives it positively and feels there is an opportunity for improvement. The most important thing to remember is to discuss the job-related behavior–do not attack the person. Help the individual search for solutions to correct the behavior. Recognize that correction is a necessary and critical part of the feedback process. Most of us want to do well in our work. Effective job-performance feedback means hearing when we are doing well (reinforcement) and when our performance needs improvement (correction).
To many of us, corrective feedback sounds a lot like confrontation. Confrontation usually has a negative connotation and is often associated with conflict. However, confrontation is different from conflict. Constructive confrontation is necessary for growth and further development.