How to give employees feedback for their performance review

Feedback is important and should be a give and take relationship. It is important to foster a culture that values and provides feedback on a continuous basis. You want to provide it immediately or as soon as it makes sense, not wait months before letting them know your thoughts. To be a good leader, you also need to make sure you receive feedback. A great leader is surrounded by those smarter in their particular areas than the leader themselves.

A great leader will value their employees opinions in making decisions and feedback is critical to success and making the right decisions.

Providing feedback can be difficult. We aren't born with the skill but we develop and hone it over time. Practice makes perfect and you need to practice it to successfully lead.

Instill these qualities in your employees as well to better help the organization and help them succeed.

Pro Tips

  • Speak for yourself. Don't speak on behalf of the team. These are your opinions, own them.
  • Show respect and always remain calm. Yelling rarely helps things. It just puts them on the defensive
  • Provide examples of the actual situation with details and be specific. Don't generalize as this isn't as effective.

Feedback done effectively:

  • Remove fear of the unknown
  • Help employees know what they need to correct
  • Ensure your expectations and priorities are clear and understood
  • Help reinforce positive behaviors
  • Shows you are involved

When should you give feedback?

Waiting until review time is too late. You should be giving feedback on a continuous basis throughout the quarter and the year.

You should also talk with colleagues to request feedback from other sources to gain insight into the performance and behaviors of your employees.

This doesn't need to a be formal process. A quick conversation or email will suffice.

Ideas for when feedback makes sense

  • After a problem comes up
  • After the problem is solved
  • After an important meeting
  • After meeting with a client
  • When you see an action or performance that warrants feedback.
    • Employee did something great!
    • Employee did something that could use a course correction.

Providing feedback in a timely manner is extremely important. Make time for it. Set a reminder if you need to.

Various types of feedback

  • Positive Feedback: Feedback regarding behaviors or actions you find beneficial. Providing this feedback is important to help reinforce these behaviors. You can deliver this in front of others to set and example for the team or say it in private as a personal reinforcement.
  • Corrective Feedback: Feedback regarding behaviors or actions you find detrimental. This is very important feedback to help avoid mistakes and issues in the future. This should rarely if ever be done in public. A private conversation is the best route.
    • Be clear and let them know your expectations
    • Use soft starts to your statements. "I really like when you...","I would rather you...","My preferences would be for you to","If I were in this situation, I may have done..."
    • Use the sandwich method. Try and frame corrective feedback around positive feedback.
  • Developmental Feedback: Nothing was done that was really wrong or right. This feedback is more to help encourage them to perform and action or exhibit a behavior more in alignment with your and the company's best interest
    • Be positive
    • Be encouraging
    • Don't be confrontational
    • "You got the job done, but here is an even better way to do this..."
    • "I like how you are doing this, but here is an idea for a different way that might be better."

The do's and don'ts of providing feedback


  • Intimidate or yell
  • Threaten
  • Bring up too many issues. (You need to focus and not overwhelm them)
  • Beat around the bush.
  • Speak in vague or abstract terms
  • Use "always" or "never". Absolutes should be avoided.
    • "You are always late"
    • "You never clean up your station."
  • Bring emotion or anger
  • Be subjective.


  • Speak professionally and calmly
  • Be specific and stay focused.
  • Prioritize the important issues
  • Be clear and to the point
  • Use "sometimes" or other non-absolute verbiage
  • Be objective
  • Foster a culture of feedback
  • Request feedback often
  • Give feedback often
  • Be honest. No white lies, half truths. Honesty is necessary
  • Be empathetic
  • Focus on the future, not dwell on the past. Provide a path to move forward
  • Make sure the feedback is actionable. What's the next step and can it be measured or evaluated?
  • Be open to listen to them
  • Understand their motivations and your own. Why do you feel this way? Why do they?
  • Focus on their behavior and not them personally. There is a difference
  • Help bring clarity and impact by letting them know how this impacts you, the team and the organization
  • End with a positive message.
  • Use the sandwich method. Try and frame corrective feedback around positive feedback.