Things to Avoid While Giving Negative Employee Feedback

Published On : January 3, 2019

Best Practices of Giving Employee Feedback

As an HR Professional, the task of giving employee feedback must have left you wondering at some point in your career. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, the task of giving it right is extremely important for your overall employee satisfaction.


While giving employee feedback, always make sure that clear and accurate information is extremely crucial. When done right, giving employee feedback can become one of the most important parts of a company’s culture.


Employee Feedback Best Practices – What to Avoid

Sharing negative feedback with underperforming employees can be an off-putting task for most HR professionals. It’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by the adrenaline rush of emotions in such scenarios but it’s immensely crucial to maintain your composure and spew the right words.

Let’s see what to avoid when sharing negative feedback with employees:

Don’t Wait Till the Annual Review

Waiting to share constructive or negative feedback with an underperforming employee is just like waiting for a driver to tell them that they’ve taken a wrong turn. Don’t wait till their annual appraisal. Offer the corrective feedback right away, or until a heated scenario cools down.

That would give the employees a perspective of where they’re going wrong and the corrective and preventive action can be taken when the time is right.


Avoid Absolute Words

While sharing negative feedback with underperforming staff, it’s easy to get carried away and use the absolute terms like, “Oh! He always does that” or “Alas! He can never do anything productive”.

Terms like ‘always’ and ‘never’ mar an employee’s morale then and there and he’s probably no longer interested in what you are saying. All they will wait for is the next opportunity to prove you wrong.


Avoid Feeding Compliment Sandwich

It’s common for an HR professional to use the practice of ‘compliment sandwich’ when sharing negative feedback with an employee. Compliment sandwich means mincing up negative feedback to start on a positive note so that it softens the effect of negative feedback.


For instance, “Your reports were great but….”, here the statement started on a positive note and it’s so common that most of the people see it coming. However, the employee feedback best practices say that this practice needs to be avoided. This not just makes the feedback look a little ambiguous and biased.


Don’t Over-criticize Beyond a Point

Any employee, no matter how talented or experienced, can have a good hold over only certain aspects of the job. Always make sure that your feedback is based on such issues only that fall within the boundary. If you have an issue with anything that’s beyond an employee’s control, this is the place where you, as an HR, have gone wrong with not setting the clear employee expectations in the first place itself.

Employee feedback best practices state that criticizing an employee over matters that are beyond their control is sure to send them to the door leaving the organization.


Don’t Get Too Personal

While you may be having a not-so-good personal equation with a certain employee, don’t leverage that as an opportunity to go overboard while offering negative feedback with him. No matter how grave is the issue or incident; limit your feedback within the given facts, circumstances, company policies, and given expectations.


Summing Up!

The above points must be avoided by all means while sharing negative feedback with underperforming employees to maintain a healthy and open work culture. If you’re curious to know how your employees are feeling and need to gain insight over the prevalent culture, you might consider sending out an employee feedback survey.


The work of building a culture of effective and clear communication does not take much effort if done right. Always remember, your employees are your biggest assets and should be treated accordingly when sharing negative feedback with them.