Clint Eastwood had a fairly unique way of providing feedback to people he dealt with! While there may be a few bosses out there who secretly do Dirty Harry impressions in front of their bedroom mirrors, we would strongly suggest an approach to the subject of how to give feedback to your remote staff without the use of firearms!
We will take you through a 3-step process about how best to approach a staff member with feedback later in this post, but first it’s important to understand why feedback is critical to the process of successfully managing remote staff.
Firstly, it helps quality control. When you allocate a task to a new staff member it’s vital to monitor the progress of the task first time, because any potential problems will be replicated again and again unless they are corrected early on.
You should pay attention to detail and make sure the staff member does too, as it will usually be the small things that they get wrong – a URL here, a page number or reference there. Tackle it on the granular level and the bigger picture will normally look a lot healthier.
This approach is made easier if you give small tasks first and then slowly scale up the jobs as the new member becomes more familiar with the processes and requirements.
Feedback should be provided regularly and it needs to be both positive and negative. If the only feedback you ever provide is negative it will soon become a case of “talk to the hand” in the staff member’s mind!
They may not say it to you but they will switch off and you will have a de-motivated member of the team going through the motions. Balancing the negatives with positive feedback will get a much more attentive response and your staff should take on board and appreciate the fact that you are trying to improve their performance as well as encouraging them when they are doing things well.
In fact asking for improved performances is the right way to drive your staff on to better themselves; it’s a double-edged sword – they win by becoming more skilled and you win by them becoming more productive for you. It should be a process of constant improvement.
One alternative to the “Clint Eastwood” method of delivering feedback is to use the “sandwich” method. This involves giving feedback to your staff about something they’re doing wrong sandwiched between two things they’re doing right.
This is meant to make them feel better but in actual fact, most staff members who are smart enough to work for you should also be smart enough to see right through what you’re doing – creating a potentially negative outcome to the whole feedback issue!
Giving feedback is best done using the following method. Firstly, ask the staff member if you can give some feedback – pick your time when to do this, as they may be having a bad day or just found out their cat passed away! Be sensitive to their time and arrange a mutually beneficial time as your feedback will have more impact then.
Next, the way to deliver the feedback is to lay it out like this: “When you do or don’t do (this)…here’s what happens”. So you are being clear with staff member about the effects of their work on the company as a whole and maybe your clients too; it’s essential that they see that there is a good reason why you are bringing this up, that their work affects others and that you’re not just “having a moan”!
The third and final step is to ask them what they can do differently next time. This way they can have input into solving the problem and you can add your suggestions to get their behaviour and performance headed in the desired direction.
The above is a much softer approach than saying “here’s what you’re doing wrong!”
If you need more concrete advice on how to give feedback then you will find all of Melbourne SEO Services’ techniques included in the Outsource Profit Machine workshop. Click here to learn more about it.
I think proactive people who have already been part of the offline/online workforce for some time know that feedback is just part of the job so there’s no need to sugar coat negative feedback that’s necessary to get tasks done.
If you’re dealing with an employee who’s entering he workforce for the first time, it helps to mention in advance during induction that regular feedback should be expected.
That’s what really happens when someone works in any company, especially for someone who is doing virtual work. Yes, it is best to set expectations that this is part of improving one’s work.
On the other hand, the challenge lies more on the person who will be giving feedback because he needs to do this in a constructive manner all the time. This will encourage the virtual employee to improve on his work, thus affect the overall performance of how the entire team work to help the business grow.
If it’s Clint Eastwood who’s going to give me feedback then I would surely listen! You don’t ignore what Dirty Harry’s about to say to you… especially if you are staring down the barrel of a gun. LOL!
On a serious note, this process is indeed important if you want to forge a much better employer – employee relationship.
Feedback and coaching sessions are great, especially these are 0given almost immediately for it to make sense, otherwise people may not see the point of giving feedback if the mistake happened months ago (for example).