An article on Business Insider (read it here) starts off with with the comment “If you have millennials working for you, don’t wait for the annual performance review to unload all your praise and criticism on them.”
Partially true, except timely feedback applies to everybody you have working for you, regardless of which generational segment they happen to fall in.
Allowing an employee to perfect incorrect or sub-standard performance over a long period of time is absurd. Ignoring the behaviour until the annual performance review tacitly condones it, plus it’s much more difficult to change ingrained behaviour.
When you catch someone doing something right, say so. Thank them, acknowledge them and be specific about what they are doing right. The praise needs to be sincere. It’s not about constant pats on the head, which is condescending, but instead about recognizing positive contribution.
Also, it may be the Pollyanna in me, but I much prefer to think of feedback as positive or constructive. Criticism is such a negative word. Criticism focuses on unacceptable performance. Constructive feedback acknowledges the skill, knowledge or attitude that requires improvement, then focuses on how and why the change is necessary. How will the individual, the team, the customer and the company benefit? What steps / resources will help the employee be successful?
I found an excellent article about feedback on a website targeting educators. (Read it here.) The article made me think “Hmmm .. what if we thought of ourselves as educators, responsible for providing the tools, the training and the coaching our team needs to successfully graduate to qualified service professional?”