Those of us who take on the responsibility of conducting training needs assessments are often asked how to best share negative feedback with employees. Whether a low-level worker or a senior manager, it is human nature to be upset about receiving bad marks…especially when they come from colleagues.
So how can you help turn the poor report card into a positive experience? In fact, the assessment gives the receiver an opportunity to listen to the feedback, learn from it and grow.
Here are some tips:
- Perspective. Encourage the employee to reflect upon the feedback as objectively as possible and to consider whether it (or any portion of it) could be accurate. Awareness and acceptance is often the first step on the path to behavior change.
- Confidentiality. Do not succumb to pressure to reveal the source of any negative ratings. It is your job to protect the process and its anonymity. If you lose the trust of respondents, you cannot count on their honesty in the next training needs assessment.
- Prioritization. Ask the employee to consider what specific behavior changes would result in the biggest and most immediate performance improvements for them and their team.
- Socialization and Accountability. Encourage the employee receiving the feedback to share the overall feedback with their team, acknowledge key areas for improvement and outline their specific performance improvement plan to address areas for improvement.
- Future Pace. Make the point that the future is what counts. When there is genuine commitment to improving behavior, progress that matters will be made.