Wondering why some of your employees are suddenly not as engaged as they used to be? The way that your managers provide feedback could be a contributing factor, especially when it comes to potential miscommunications that can arise when providing feedback remotely.
Having studied and worked as an interior designer for 5 years before transitioning to marketing I’m acquainted with what it’s like to receive feedback from clients and superiors in the workplace and I can assure you, while it’s easy for everybody to give critique, it’s a rare skill to be able to provide clear and concise feedback that’s actually beneficial.
While some people provide very constructive feedback, noting both the positive and negative aspects of a project, most simply say the first thing that comes to mind, not realising that by providing feedback in a clear and concise way, you help your employees tremendously - not to mention save them time and enabling maximum productivity for the business.
In this post, we’ll look at 5 tips on how to give feedback remotely for better employee engagement.
1. Use the Right Tools
Depending on what sector you work in the feedback you provide may require a variety of different software tools to get the right message across. Some of my favourites include Google Docs comments & suggestion features for feedback on email sequences, blog posts or any copy related work.
When briefing designers or web developers on changes required I use Snagit for quick screenshots and annotations or Loom to make video recordings when it’s easier to talk through the changes while pointing them out with my cursor. For feedback on mobile responsive websites I use XRecorder on Android to screen take recordings of my mobile.
2. Always State the Positives
It may sound obvious but many of us jump quickly into making comments on the aspects we don’t like and therefore require changes on. While that is a necessary part of providing feedback it’s important to state the positive attributes too because when you do that your employee will not only benefit physiologically from receiving positive feedback but more importantly by seeing the aspects you like, they’ll gain insights into the directions you want to move forward in.
“Giving regular, authentic and specific feedback to your team members is one of the most crucial elements for workplace engagement,” according to Sean Xie, Head of Performance Marketing at Staff Treats. “It shows that you actually care about them and what they do.”
3. Provide Progressive Feedback
While all tasks need to get to a certain level of completion before any feedback can be provided, it’s important to schedule a few interim deadlines where you can provide feedback as the task progresses so that the person doing the output doesn’t go in the completely wrong direction.
Georgia Sutherland, Junior Designer at Xexec, stresses the importance to provide progressive feedback before a task reaches the finessing phase, "As a designer I love using Figma as anyone can view my designs while I'm working on them and can let me know if I'm heading in the right direction before I spend too much time finessing."
4. Jump on a Call
When you can clearly see the person hasn’t grasped the requirements at hand, before things go further pear-shaped, jump on a call. This is the best way to understand where your brief was misunderstood, allowing you to take a pause and reset in the right direction.
Although not always easy to acknowledge, bear in mind that the reason your employee went in the wrong direction as a result of miscommunication may be your fault and not theirs. Don’t be afraid to be humble and acknowledge where you may have gone wrong, your employees will respect you more for it and engage with you more openly as a result. This brings us to our next point…
5. Was the Brief Clear From the Start?
Providing good feedback can only be as good as the brief you set from the start. The clearer the direction you provide from the beginning, the less likely it is that you’ll require multiple iterations and have to spend valuable, productive time to provide feedback to your employees.
A clear brief should outline all the outcomes you would like to achieve, any necessary reference that will help the process, links to tools or research that will make the job easier, a deadline and an opportunity to ask questions.