4 Employee Feedback Examples (Plus How and When to Use Them)

Here’s your guide to the main types of employee feedback – and the right time to use each one.

June 15, 2022
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Employees crave helpful feedback.

People want corrective reviews even more than praise when it’s provided in a constructive manner. An article by Zippier shows that 89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key for successful outcomes.

While it can be typically challenging, effective reviews and constructive criticisms are the holy grail of productivity and employee improvement. So, giving your staff feedback doesn’t have to be awkward. You just have to know the best type to use and at which times.

Here’s your guide to the four types of employee feedback – and how and when to use each one.

How Do You Give Professional Reviews?

It might seem counterintuitive, but your employees will thank you for bringing up areas they can improve on. However, most managers find it hard to pick their staff up on their flaws. 

Giving reviews doesn't have to be awkward though, especially if you follow these simple steps:

  • Don’t spring anything on them. When an employee falls short of your expectations, that should be dealt with straight away – not left until their next one-to-one when the criticism might seem out of the blue. 
  • Ground every bit of feedback in an example. Criticism that isn’t founded on something concrete can be interpreted as a matter of opinion by your employee and dismissed. 
  • Focus on themes. Pick out patterns in your employees’ behavior and ask them to brainstorm solutions on how they can change it.
  • Sandwich criticism in praise. Soften the blow of feedback by making sure to praise the employee on either side of it. 
  • Give it time to breathe. It’s important to give a teammate time and space to absorb any feedback you give them. The bigger the criticism, the more important this step in the process is. 

Assembly makes it easy to give and receive reviews with customizable and automated workflows. Schedule 15 min to learn more.

What Are The Four Types Of Employee Feedback?

There are four main types of workplace feedback. Here’s the difference between them – and how to give each kind effectively.

1. Constructive feedback

Constructive feedback is when you flag an area where an employee is falling short in and give them concrete and actionable advice on how to improve.

For example, if you’ve noticed a few mistakes starting to creep into an employee’s work, you might flag that with them during a 360 Employee Review, pointing to a few specific examples so they can see exactly what you mean. Then, you can talk through some ideas with them about what they can change to fix the problem going forward.

How to give effective constructive feedback 

Constructive feedback works best when you put the onus on the team members to come up with ways they can improve in the area you’re having to flag with them. Telling them exactly what to do isn’t likely to work anywhere near as well as giving them the chance to work out ways to improve that best suit them. 

And always be sure to end on a positive note. Mention another area they’re doing well in or a recent win they had at work to balance out the criticism and let them know it’s just this one area they could improve in.

2. Negative feedback

While this type of feedback isn't the easiest to give, it is as effective when shared appropriately.

In fact, in a study by Harvard Business Review, 92% of the respondents agreed that negative feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.

How to give effective negative feedback

The best way to handle an issue with an employee is head-on – no matter how uncomfortable it might be in the moment. No matter the kind of employee review comments you've received in the past, everyone will be better off if you broach difficult topics with a direct conversation.

When you do have to give negative honest feedback, remember that everyone wants to feel like they’ve been heard and understood. So, make it a priority to understand how the person you’re having to flag a problem with perceives the issue and get their side of the story.

You might discover the problem you’re having to highlight is a symptom of a wider problem you weren’t even aware of. 

For example, a colleague’s poor work performance might stem from problems in their personal life they didn’t want to burden their teammates with, and the ultimate solution might be some time off or a more flexible working situation.

Approach negative feedback with empathy and your staff are more likely to feel comfortable opening up if the behavior is the tip of an iceberg – not to mention far more likely to take the feedback on board.

3. Positive Feedback and Recognition

Positive feedback – when you acknowledge and praise an employee for who they are and what they do for your organization – is one of the most underutilized tools in the people management toolkit.

In fact, 40% of employed Americans say they'd put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often, and 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve “massively” if managers simply said “thank you” more.

And yet 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year.

So, be sure you’re getting positive feedback right in your organization.

Recognition has never been easier - Assembly empowers teams everywhere to recognize and celebrate each other. Book a demo to start for FREE today.

How to give effective positive feedback

Not all workplace recognition is created equal. We can share a gazillion manager performance review samples but the most meaningful feedback is honest and authentic. It's also tailored to how the employee likes to receive recognition and comes from their line manager.

So, be sure to include prompts for your managers to give their reports praise that ticks all these boxes in your Performance Review Flow.

Upward feedback

Everyone needs some push to reach their potential at work, and managers are no exception. 

That’s where upward feedback – where managers ask their reports to give them feedback – comes in.

This gives employees at every level of your company the chance to have a say in how they’re managed. And since 57% of employees have left a job because of their manager, this can have a huge impact on employee engagement and turnover.

How to get effective upward feedback

You can bake upward feedback into your company culture through simple Flows that help your managers get meaningful feedback from their reports and your employees to give useful feedback to their managers.

So, How Do You Use Employee Feedback?

Stick to these simple tips whenever you have to flag an issue with your reports to make sure you’re delivering the kind of helpful feedback they’re bound to appreciate.

Make all four types of feedback a fixture in your organization by baking them into your performance reviews and your one-to-one meeting questions to reap the rewards regular feedback can have on your organization.

Book a demo today for FREE and learn how to incorporate flows that increase workplace productivity seamlessly.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered