Why providing feedback to your employees is vital for your business

Feedback is a way to support team members and ensure they’re aware of their performance. Regular feedback can help team members reflect on their performance and take action to repeat or change behaviours.

The Johari Window

Johari Window, created by Luft and Ingham (1950), is used to help team members understand the value of self-disclosure, and encourage team members to give and accept feedback.

The Johari Window is a model that can be used to:

  • Improve understanding between individuals within a team.
  • Help people build more-trusting relationships.
  • Solve issues.
  • Work more effectively as a team.

Established team members will have larger open areas than new team members. The size of the Open Area can be expanded horizontally into the blind space, by seeking and actively listening to feedback from other members of the team.

Key points when applying the Johari window:

  • Leaders can assist team members in expanding their Open Area by offering feedback.
  • The size of the Open Area can also be expanded vertically downwards into the hidden or avoided space by the sender’s disclosure of information, feelings, etc. about himself/herself to other team members.
  • Leaders can help a person expand their Open Area into the hidden area by asking team members about themselves.
  • Team members can increase the open area by reducing the blind area through the process of asking for and receiving feedback within the team. Team members need to ensure they adopt this theory when dealing with the wider organisational team to increase understanding between departments.

Informal feedback

Ongoing, consistent informal feedback is critical to developing team members. Feedback should not wait until the formal review process; it should form part of daily conversation. There are two types of informal feedback best thought of as:

  • Reinforcing feedback
  • Challenging feedback

Reinforcing feedback

Reinforcing feedback sends a message to the team member that their performance is appreciated. Reinforcing feedback also acts as an encourager to repeat desired behaviours.

When giving reinforcing feedback, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Provide specifics on exactly what performance standard or behaviour was appreciated.
  • Explain why it is important to reiterate the impact it is having on the wider organisation.
  • Deliver in the public arena so other team members can understand the types of performance and behaviour that are expected.
  • Don’t wait until the task is complete; provide reinforcing feedback throughout to keep momentum and motivate towards completion.
  • Give reinforcing feedback as close to the event as possible to make it relevant.

Challenging feedback

Challenging feedback is intended to correct poor performance and also stretch team members to work to their full potential. When giving challenging feedback, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Don’t use the words negative or constructive it sends the wrong message and potentially causes the recipient to be less receptive.
  • Be specific when describing the behaviour or performance issue.
  • Use a questioning technique to ascertain what the team member thinks of their performance to ascertain whether they can identify the issue themselves.
  • Ensure it is something within the team member’s control.
  • Deliver the feedback as soon after the event as possible; however, be sure that emotions are not running high.
  • Take into consideration the needs of the recipient.
  • Agree with the team member that changes need to be made to ensure they’re working to their full potential. Deliver challenging feedback in private.

Formal feedback

Many organisations have a formal process for reviewing performance. This often takes place on a regular, systematic basis either quarterly, six-monthly or yearly dependant on the organisation. The performance review is concerned with discussing performance against the responsibilities and goals set.

When conducted properly, performance reviews can result in real benefits to both the organisation and the team member including:

  • Opens communication lines between the manager and the team member.
  • Reinforces behaviour and performance expectations.
  • Creates an opportunity to discuss personal and professional goals.
  • Clarifies understanding of the organisation’s strategic direction.
  • Identifies support needed.
  • Reduces team member turnover.
  • Sends the message that the team member is valued by both their manager and the organisation.
  • Provides an opportunity for managers to receive feedback from the front line.

Performance reviews look to facilitate productivity by maximising team member’s performance. If regular informal feedback has been provided throughout the year, there should be no surprises at the performance review. If this is the case, the discussion around the review period will summarise what has already been discussed allowing additional time to focus on the review period ahead and future goals.

Want to learn more about providing feedback to your employees? The ARA Retail Institute runs courses on everything retail from managing daily operations, leadership and team culture. Click on ‘training workshops’ below and enhance your business today.


About ARA Retail Institute

ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au







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