A Step By Step Guide On How To Give Feedback (With Examples)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 6 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An effective employee feedback system is one that helps keep members of an organisation efficient, growth-oriented and self-aware. Managers, team leaders and other high-level employees usually have the responsibility of providing feedback to their team members and other junior employees. It is crucial for such leaders and managers to know how to give feedback because, when provided in the right way, it can yield great results in improving the working of an organisation. In this article, we discuss the importance of providing feedback and explain 10 points you may want to consider when giving feedback.

Importance Of Knowing How To Give Feedback

Knowing how to give feedback has comprehensive benefits within an organisation. Be it from a manager to an employee or among team members and colleagues at the same level, a good system of feedback can positively impact the productivity of any individual and the organisation as a whole. It can bring a positive change in the way people work and help them improve. Knowing how to deliver effective feedback in the workplace has the following advantages:

  • Helps in the identification and correction of mistakes

  • Augments motivation to do better

  • Increases performance efficiency

  • Provides a continuous scope of learning

  • May help ensure a better relationship between colleagues

  • Aids in personal development and career advancement

  • Helps improve the quality of work

Related: 20 Examples Of Feedback In The Workplace (With Examples)

10 Points To Consider When Giving Feedback

Here are some points you may want to think about before, during and after giving feedback:

1. Get consent before you give feedback

Feedback, when given without permission or prior notice, might look like unwelcome advice. If that is the case, the feedback receiver may be mentally unprepared or surprised even. This is why it is vital to make sure that the person you are advising is receptive to your feedback.

If you think a teammate can improve from some advice, tell them you have some feedback and ask if they want to listen to it. Proceed with the feedback only when they say "yes". If you are in a higher position and want to give feedback to a subordinate, inform them during onboarding that they can expect feedback from you. This helps them prepare themselves mentally and be more accepting of your advice.

2. Prepare before you speak

While giving feedback, make sure to be sensitive and nuanced. There are several things to keep in mind, such as important points of context, tone of delivery and workable solutions or suggestions. It is better to prepare the feedback content beforehand. This can include the following:

  • Note the essential issues

  • Organise them according to priority

  • Think of ways you can state them in an empathetic yet assertive way

  • Think about solutions to help the receiver rectify the issues

3. Give feedback as soon as possible

Giving feedback immediately after a problem arises can help quickly ensure its solution. If you wait for a quarterly meeting or a monthly one-to-one session, you might forget important information or overwhelm the employee with too much feedback at once. The employee may also have repeated the same misstep several times if not rectified at the first instance. This is why it is always better to give feedback as soon as possible to rectify the error in the very beginning.

Giving feedback frequently ensures that employees are comfortable with a feedback system. Rare and unexpected feedback might condition employees to display strong emotions. They may also get anxious or unreceptive to suggestions. The more normalised feedbacks are, the more comfortable it may make everyone involved.

4. Recognise why you are giving feedback

Give feedback with a specific aim in mind. When you are clear about what you intend to achieve by giving advice, you can steer the conversation in that direction. This assures that the other person knows exactly what improvements you want to see from them. Having clarity regarding your own motivations helps check your words and tone of the feedback. If you know that your aim is to improve performance or ensure a healthier work environment, you are more likely to use a positive and supportive approach instead of a critical one.

5. Be specific about your advice

When you are giving feedback, state solid, undeniable facts. If you use vague terms, the other person can get confused. They might even misunderstand your feedback, which can produce opposite results than what you intended. For the best results, explain what led you to give them feedback, and explain to them how they can make things right.

Example: "Aryan, I observed that in today's meeting you came in late. When Mr Bose asked everyone to present their monthly reports, you gave a verbal report instead of a presentation, like your other teammates. I hope you understand how essential it is to be punctual and prepared for monthly meetings. If you are facing any problems, please share them with me so that we can make sure you are well-equipped for the next meetings going forward."

6. Provide constructive criticism

Providing constructive criticism refers to giving actionable feedback. This means that you provide potential solutions to the problem while giving feedback. Constructive criticism is a friendly, positive approach that helps erase tension. This kind of feedback is highly effective as it helps the employee know just what to do and feel recognised.

Example: "Ishita, your latest news story item was commendable. While going through the piece, I found areas that need a little more work, though. I think some background information, along with a few references to similar instances, can help complete the piece. Please go ahead and make these changes before we can publish it. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions."

Related: How To Provide Constructive Criticism In The Workplace

7. Focus on their actions and behaviour

The best way to avoid getting personal is to focus only on the other person's behaviour instead of their personality or attributes. You can objectively comment upon a tangible factor or action. Focus on what they do instead of what they are like. You can explain the impact of their behaviour to motivate them to improve and not offend them.

Example: "Ankush, thanks for your inputs during our group discussion. It is nice to see you have a lot to add. Although, I would appreciate it if you let other people finish before you state your thoughts. Otherwise, the rest of us get cut off and run out of time before getting a chance to communicate all our ideas. Hope you understand."

Related: Performance Improvement Plan: Benefits, Process And Examples

8. Make it a conversation

Feedback is a respectful exchange of thoughts rather than a one-sided lecture. To emulate this thought while giving feedback, practise active listening and ask for the other person's opinion. You can invite questions and suggestions from the receiver. This may make the employee or colleague feel understood and involved.

Example: "Laila, I have received feedback from your team supervisor, Mr. Roy. He says you were initially very punctual and performing really well. Lately, you have been unable to adhere to work deadlines on multiple occasions and did not communicate the delay with Mr. Roy. Please let me know, is this an accurate representation of what happened?"

Related: How To Start A Conversation (With Conversation Starters)

9. Appreciate as much as you criticise

It is easier to accept critical feedback if it is well balanced with positive elements. When you acknowledge the recipient's efforts, they feel more enthusiastic about rectifying errors. If the feedback only has negative elements, it can demoralise them and it can be detrimental to their confidence. To avoid that, include some points where you feel they did well. This might cheer them up to do even better next time. You can add it either after or before the critical advice.

Example: "Roshan, you are one of our top sales representatives. I am very happy with your work so far. Lately, I noticed you struggled to meet your sales goal for this quarter. You were going to sign 15 new clients, but you signed only 10. I know how hard you work and the extra hours you put. I would love to know if there is something I can help you with to meet your goals for the next quarter. If you are facing any challenges, please let me know."

Related: 61 Team Appreciation Messages (And 5 Tips For How To Write Them)

10. Keep it private

It is best if the feedback remains between you and the recipient. Criticising or even appreciating anyone publicly can embarrass them, as some individuals might dislike such public attention. Giving feedback publicly exposes their strengths and weaknesses to others, which might be problematic for some people. To respect their privacy, you can call them to your office and have a one-to-one conversation with them. You can also give feedback over a phone call, via email or through some form of written communication.


  • How To Give Interview Feedback To Unsuccessful Candidates

  • FAQ: What Is 360 Degree Feedback? (With Advantages)

  • A Guide To Providing Feedback On Communication Skills

  • A Complete Guide To Writing Interview Feedback

  • 17 Communication Techniques For Professional Success

  • Conversation Skills: Importance And Tips To Improve

Explore more articles