Providing Effective Feedback to Employees on all Performance Levels

Providing Effective Feedback to Employees on all Performance Levels

This On-Demand event was originally presented on April 19, 2023 (60 min)


Providing Effective Feedback to Employees on all Performance Levels is designed to help managers and supervisors enhance their skills by providing performance feedback to their direct reports to help them better perform their jobs.

Topics covered during the webinar will include challenges to providing performance feedback, why performance feedback is important, processes driven by performance feedback, effective feedback impact, performance feedback roadblocks, strategies for presenting performance feedback to different performance levels, characteristics of different performance levels, importance of goals alignment, keeping employees focused on the right things, becoming a champion of middle employees, the supervisor’s role in dealing with low performers, presenting negative feedback, reasons for poor performance, coaching poor performers, model for career development, and helping others climb their career ladders.

The webinar will review pitfalls to avoid providing this important feedback to employees. Avoiding these traps can help make this process to be more meaningful to employees and not just a mandatory process that everyone is required to go through. If that’s the case, organizations are missing the opportunity to make a significant difference in developing the skills and talents of employees on all levels of their organization. Providing effective performance feedback can have more of a positive impact on your organization than may be realized. Doing this well can help build greater trust and communication between supervisors and their direct reports. It can also create a greater commitment to their jobs and loyalty to the organization. Employees will feel that their manager or supervisor has a genuine concern for their growth and development in their careers and future with the organization. This is obviously very important to them and plays a major role in their overall job satisfaction and performance.

The webinar will give participants new insights, ideas, tips, and guidance to help them be able to provide more meaningful performance feedback and manage performance in their organizations, and take what they will learn back to their workplace.

Attendees will learn

  • How to better understand the importance of effective performance feedback.
  • Managers and supervisors to gain insight into what’s expected from those receiving this feedback.
  • How to provide performance feedback to different performance levels of employees.
  • A new career development model for direct reports.
  • How to help employees climb their career ladder to success.


Peter R. Garber is a retired Human Resource Professional with over 35 years of experience working for a Fortune 200 corporation. During his career, he held a variety of HR roles including assignments at manufacturing facilities across the country and later spent twenty years at the company’s corporate headquarters. Mr. Garber was also an adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Business School. He is the author of over 50 books and learning activities on HR and business-related topics. He has been invited to present seminars and webinars on numerous occasions based on his works and has made presentations at international conferences and colleges.

Peter worked on designing and improving the performance feedback processes for many years during his career. He developed and presented training programs on performance management for managers and supervisors in the organization throughout North America. He is the author of the upcoming book, 50 Activities for Performance Feedback, published by HRD Press to be released later this year.

Get in touch with Peter at:


Providing Effective Feedback to Employees on all Performance Levels

Training Tools for Developing Great People Skills

This event is sponsored by HRDQ. For 45 years HRDQ has provided research-based, off-the-shelf soft-skills training resources for classroom, virtual, and online training. From assessments and workshops to experiential hands-on games, HRDQ helps organizations improve performance, increase job satisfaction, and more.

Learn more at

On-Demand Webinar Recording
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Hi everyone. And welcome to today’s webinar, Providing Effective Feedback to Employees on All Performance Levels hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Peter Garber.
My name is Sarah and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions or comments, please type them into the questions box on your GoToWebinar control panel and we’ll answer as many of those questions as we can during today’s webinar. And make sure that you locate today’s handout, found under the handouts drop-down on your GoToWebinar control panel, as well.
And today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ. For 45 years HRDQ has provided research-based off the shelf, that’s off the shelf soft skills training resources for classroom, virtual, an online training. From assessments and workshops to experiential hands-on games, HRDQ helps organizations for performance, increased job satisfaction, and more. You can learn more at
I’d like to welcome today’s presenter, Peter Garber, a retired human resource professional, with over 35 years of experience at Fortune 200 corporations. He had held various HR roles across the country, and spent 20 years at the company’s headquarters, and authored over 50 books, and learning activities, on HR and business related topics.
Peter is a renowned expert in designing and improving performance feedback processes and has developed and presented training programs on performance management for managers and supervisors throughout North America. Thanks so much for joining us today, Peter.
Thank you.
Thank you, Sarah.
I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to present today’s program on providing effective feedback, two employees on all performance levels. So let’s get started.
By way of introduction, it is important to provide employees on all levels of an organization with accurate, candid, and useful feedback, concerning their performance, regardless of the employees level in the organization.
Everyone needs to receive this feedback on their performance to continue to grow and develop in their job and career.
Whatever the organization’s performance management process, it is most important. That is utilized fairly and consistently to all employees. You can have the best performance management process in the world, but if it’s not, if it’s, if it’s not administered consistently, it’s really not going to be valued. Employees need to be able to depend on this process being done on a regular basis. And all managers and supervisors should be expected.
to utilize this process, this should be a core requirement of theirs as part of their manage managerial, and supervisory responsibility.
However, there’s many challenges to providing performance feedback.
First of all, and probably the greatest challenges that takes time away from your other job responsibilities, and understanding how busy everybody is today this. Providing feedback to your employees may seem like it’s not quite as important as some of the other business deliverables that you may be faced with every day, but it but it, but it needs to be considered just just as important.
It is actually an investment in your employees and helping them perform their jobs better and to prepare them for future opportunities in your organization.
However, another challenge is that performance feedback in the process involves forced choices for limited rewards. And I’ll talk more about that a little bit later with that needs. Also, addressing poor performance is difficult and uncomfortable.
I doubt there’s anyone that really relishes the idea of sitting down and presenting negative feedback to someone about their performance. But it is something that is necessary and inappropriate when it’s appropriate to do so.
And another challenge, of course, is distance, or Remoteness.
Makes providing effective feedback even more challenging, recognizing that many of you they have employees that you don’t see face to face on a regular basis that are working remotely. So these are these are challenges that they face.
Performance feedback process is important.
It allows employees to know how they’re performing, provides guidance on individual needs for career development, and identifies areas for improvement that otherwise might not have been addressed. This provides, really, the perfect forum to discuss these kinds of things, to point out this, this type of feedback that can be so valuable to polish. It also reinforces good and excellent performance. And courage creates a written record of an employee’s past performance, which can be useful and necessary for, for a number of things, and we’re going to talk about some of those, some of those processes. Next.
So, some of the process is driven by the formal performance feedback process, raises, is, the outcome from the performance management process raises. Or, in most organizations, driven, by the performance ratings. That an employee gets. And also, bonuses, and, literally, most companies have some, kind of, a succession planning process, where they’re planning for how they will fill future openings, that they might have in the organization. And, one way to help determine who should fill those positions is by looking back on the, on the formal feedback and the records of the former fruits. Of the performance feedback that has been provided to employees. And looking at what types of ratings and evaluations people received, the same thing with promotions promotion, should also be determined by those be driven, by the formal performance feedback process.
Many organizations, most or larger organizations, at least have management development programs in which top performers are top talent in the organization is identified, and provided with learning experiences, or training opportunities, …, or special assignments that help develop them to become future leaders in the organization.
And entry to these programs should be driven by your for performance feedback process. And also reductions in force, there are organizations that use their feedback, their performance management process, to determine who should be selected for reductions in a downsizing initiative in the organization. However.
You need to be aware that if you’re going to use that process for something like reductions in force, you need to make sure that you’re doing it well, and that it’s well documented. Should you need to be able to justify or defend those decisions at a later date.
Ongoing feedback.
It’s important to remember that providing formal performance feedback, like part of your overall feedback communications with those who report to you, you need to be providing feedback to your employees on the performance on a regular basis throughout the year. Not just that, that once a year sit on meeting, that you might have to provide the formal performance feedback.
So, there’s two types of performance feedback, The formal that I just mentioned, documented annual performance review, and, of course, the informal, which are the day-to-day communications and feedback about performance that you may and should be providing those who report to you, which is most important. You may ask, well, both are critically important, and they should complement one another.
It would be unfair, I think, to be providing an employee with a with certain types of feedback throughout the year on a day-to-day, or, most, a most days basis.
And then, during the formal meeting, that, once a year, formal meeting, when you sit down with that employee to present something completely different than anything you talked about during the year. Blindness, blindside. Deploy it with this information.
The information should be consistent and to hear something completely from left field during the formal meeting. They’re going to feel that, that they weren’t communicated with very, fairly, throughout the year, so it needs to be consistent. They needed to complement one another.
These are, what I’ve identified as the basic components of a performance appraisal process. And I feel certain that on your performance and your performance management processes, and perhaps on your performance feedback form, that’s developed by your organization, you have, may have more than just the five that I have listed, the bullet points here, components.
And, you know, you undoubtedly call them different things, but for purposes of this presentation, I’ve described in these ways, this work versus performance goals, both looking at performance goals in a forward manner, In a backward backward glassman or the performance manner, would be establishing performance goals for the upcoming year, for the upcoming evaluation period. And then, the the accomplishments would be, looking at the accomplishments that the employee achieved for the performance goals that were established. The beginning of the prior year during the evaluation period that you’re reviewing. So, concerning performance goes, both forward, looking.
Typically, there’s a developmental plan in which training and other learning job experiences are identified to help develop the employee, both on his or her current job, and, and hopefully for future jobs as well, and plans put in place for implementing that developmental plan. There’s typically a career goal section in which the employee is giving the opportunity to express his or her career goals and receive feedback from their supervisor concerning those career goals, if they’re tracking, if they’re on track, or not in achieving those goals.
Then finally, there’s an evaluation or a rating.
And that, and that the ratings are established by, by the organization.
And supervisors select the, the rating that they feel is most appropriate for the individual that they’re talking about.
So these are the basic components of, I think, of all performance appraisal processes. And each is very important. Of course, I’ve listed the compensation changes at the bottom.
And I’m not sure that that is usually discussed and most Oregon’s stations during the formal once a year performance review. I know in the organization that I worked in, this was always a subsequent meeting, it was usually pretty brave. If my supervisors would inform me what compensation changes, I was going to receive as a result of the performance appraisal process that we had previously gone through, and this information may not be known at the time of the performance appraisal meeting because of budgets and timing of budgets and approvals and things like that, so it might not be available at the time of meeting.
So, which of these components receives the most in the least attention, during a performance review?
I think most people would answer that reviewing feedback on performance goals and accomplishments received the most attention and that’s probably what’s most important to you as a supervisor, right? How well the employee performed and helping that employer guiding that employee to perform better in the future. That’s kind of what’s in it for you. But most would say feedback on career goals typically received bleached. Often. It’s kind of tacked on at the end of the discussion and may not be covered very thoroughly.
Which of these two do you think is most important to the employee?
I know when I would come home from work and tell my wife that I had my performance review that day, I don’t ever remember her asked me how I did on those performance goals. And accomplishments during the year. She invariably always K with the boss, say about about the promotion that you’re hoping to get. And that’s that was what was the most interest to me as well during that discussion.
But, sometimes, that discussion doesn’t always occur the way the employee wants it to. And, and here’s an example dialog concerning the Career Goals discussion.
I’m afraid that we’re almost out of time in this meeting, and we both need to get back to work.
I think that we had a good discussion concerning your farmers last year, employee. Yes, I agree, that was a good discussion, but I was hoping that we could have a chance to discuss any future career opportunities for me before we end today.
Supervisor, that’s something we need to discuss, but like I said, we’re out of time today. We needed to find another time to sit down and have this discussion.
Well, OK. I guess I’ll wait to hear from you.
Now, we don’t know if that meeting ever gonna schedule or not from what we see here, but one of the ways to, to avoid this, this from happening is, so to do this, cover the career goals first.
one way to avoid this from happening is to start the performance review discussion by reviewing the employee group goes first rather than last, which is often the case.
Just think about the message that you would be sending to to your employee by, by doing this.
It would send the message that this is very important to you, and that you recognize how important it is to the employee and that you want to make sure ensure that you have a good, incomplete discussion about, about his or her career goals, understanding and recognizing how important it is to that individual.
So that would be my suggestion.
This, I call this the default Performance Feedback system and it goes like this.
If you don’t hear anything, you’re doing just fine.
But if you ***** up, we’ll let you know.
And I believe that this is the system that the employees work under.
In the absence of a performance manage, a formal performance management process in their organization, and not a good system, for them, obviously, to, to be, to have to work under.
There are four levels of feedback. And the Level one would be no feedback at all. your work, personal, works in a complete void of information, and feedback about how they’re performing their job, either, good, or bad, or different, or whatever. And, when, I see this reminds me of a story, I much want to read, that, was entitled the blindfolded Golfer, in the story.
Every time a golfer stepped up to his ball, somebody came up behind him and put a blindfold on and that went on throughout the whole 18 Holes of Golf.
And you may be wondering what the **** they employ for how the golfer felt about it. Well, first of all, wouldn’t have enjoyed playing golf very much that day. Not not having any feedback on performance, and it didn’t receive any feed back on, on, from hitting the ball and seeing the results of hitting the ball, how to correct a justice, swing, or correct the swing. Or anything like that. Didn’t learn anything that day about performing as a golfer. And that’s what happens, really, if, if the employee’s work in a no feedback situation level, to the only negative feedback, only feedback you get as corrections from the from a supervisor or others that say, you know, I would like to see you do this battery.
That run whatever correcting them, and tell them what they did wrong, and never saying anything, but, but negative feedback. That’s pretty tough on somebody’s ego, isn’t it?
Level three, it would be only positive feedback, and you might be thinking, That’s what I want to counter, but, it’s, that’s maybe not a very effective level feedback, because nobody does your jobs perfectly, and everybody need some guidance and feedback, and how they can improve their performance in the future. So, the absence of receiving, and, you know, a negative feedback is not a good situation either, So, a level four is balanced feedback and that’s the optimum level feedback with more positive feedback, the negative feedback.
Over the years, I’ve seen different ratios described on what that ratio should be, 4 to 1, 5 to 171, or whatever. I don’t know what that ratio should be, I think.
I think it’s too depended on the individual that that’s involved.
But suffice to say that there should be significantly more positive feedback, the negative feedback and inappropriate balance for the situation.
However, there is potential value to negative feedback.
Negative feedback can be the most difficult feedback to hear.
They can also be the most valuable that a person ever receives.
It can correct unproductive behaviors and actions that can be counter-productive to employee becoming fully successful on the job.
And this can be especially valuable early on in a person’s career.
However, it must be presented in a constructive and supportive manner to be of most value.
I know when I first started off in my career, and with the company, I had some really good supervisors that provided this kind of negative feedback to me in a positive and constructive manner, supportive.
And it really helped me, and it helped me avoid developing bad habits that, you know, may have haunted me throughout my career, and I thought, often, later on, in my career, about some of the feedback that I received. And I found it to be, really, one of the, the best things, and best feedback that had ever received during my career.
But it has to be done, right?
OK, let’s begin talking about performance levels and radius distribution, and this. This slide has a lot of love stuff in it.
I’ve identified three levels of performance here. Top performers, middle.
I’m certain that your organizations, that you have more performance levels and categories than what I have listed here. But for purposes of this presentation, I’ve boiled down to the three and the expanded list that you have. Those those ratings surprise fit, and would fit into one of these top three, or one of these three that I have listed here. And then I’ve also listed what the ratings distribution would be in a normal bell shaped curve for a population of employees. And we see that top performers would represent approximately 20% of that population. Middle performers, the largest group would be 75%.
And low performers would be approximately 5%.
Now, this could be a rather controversial topic, I can’t it.
Man enters the supervisors in certain parts of an organization, particularly parts they’re performing extremely well, might argue that that’s not fair to confide, can find us to just 20% in the top performer category, because because we have more moral top performers done than that, and that’s unfair. And similarly, they may say we don’t really have a low performers are.
Certainly don’t have 5% of our of our population is low performers and the unjust to give people that really are poor performers, a poor poor performance rating just to meet those guidelines. And in some cases, you know, they might be right.
However, let me ask this question.
Would this distribution change if there was no guidance from the organization about how many people should be assigned to each of those levels of performance?
What do you think? What happened to the distribution of these ratings?
Where do you think what happened to that bell shaped curve wouldn’t move to the right? Wouldn’t people get higher ratings would, and, wouldn’t that skew to the right?
And what would be the consequences of having a disproportionate percentage of employees receiving the top rated for ratings, and I call that rating inflation, and we know, when we talk about inflation and our economy, what happens to our dollars, while the dollars become less of less value? And I would argue that when you have rating inflation, the ratings are also of low value. I have heard about a company that did not have any kind of enforcement on the number of people. there could be included in the top categories, of the rating system. I think the top category was called Distinguished, and they had so many people in that rating system, that it didn’t allow the other processes that I mentioned earlier in the presentation that are driven by performance feedback, like promotions and management development programs, and succession planning, and those kinds of things. And I guess that necessity is the mother of invention.
So, what started to happen to address the Soup Reviser started putting a star or a series of stars after the distinguished ring that they gave, too, most people. And so that hiring managers and the organization, has learned that we need to select people that receive three stars, four stars, or five stars, or whatever, from the supervisors to differentiate, who really was a top performer who wasn’t so. So if you don’t do this, there’s a need that will be identified and some kind of secondary process will emerge to to, To help you perform the functions that You need to function.
That you need to have atmosphere itself of the performance management process. And finally, what would be the consequences of not having any employees receiving the lowest rating. Well, you know, you may not have any low performers. But it’s probably, like, there are, some, in, if you don’t identify them, and address that, and aren’t you really condoning poor performance by allowing it to be called something other? Something more, acceptable? And I think that you are addressing things that need to be addressed. And we’re going to talk about that later on.
So Which performance level is most difficult to manage?
I don’t know if there’s an absolute right or wrong answer to this, because everybody’s perceptions might be different based on their experiences dealing with different performance levels. I think it’s suffice to say that all three of them are challenging, and the, each of the room.
Unique challenges. And we’re going to talk about that next as we review each of these performance levels briefly.
So let’s begin by talking about top performers.
These are people that are the highest potential as potential: they receive the top performance ratings, you expect them to. Consequently, they received the highest raises and bonuses they exceed the requirements of the job. I like to say they add value to their job.
They’re the best contributors, and they get the most done. These are the people you want to go to, that when you need to have it done right away, and you need to have it right. You’re gonna go to, these are the people.
There are, of course, people sought after for promotional opportunities.
All hiring managers want to have the best candidates for four openings that they have, and, and these are the people they want and we’re talking about characteristics, should top performers, they have high expectations concerning their careers.
However, there are some perceptions that that the top performers have that you need to be aware of and appreciate. First bullets, as it says here, that yesterdays accomplishments often become today’s performance standards.
And you’ll hear top performers reflect that. They’ll say, Geez, last year, this was a stretch goal and really required a lot of work and extra effort to reach that goal, but we did. And this year, it’s a core requirement.
And there’s not too much you can say to comfort someone complaining about that, except to assure them that, so that the performance bar does get raised each year, and that’s just the way it is. But, but it’s important that you listen to them, and, and understand how they feel about that, even though you may not be able to do much about it. And then the other point that I’d like to make is that one employees reward could be another employees punishment.
What do I mean by that? And what would be an example?
Say that you have a special assignment that you want to give to a top performer, and you go to a two top performer, and you explain what the assignment is, now, assignment.
By the way, it is in addition to his or her current responsibilities, which are probably pretty arduous. And you explain what would be in the commitment that you that would be required to be able to successfully complete that special side. And the one employee might say, well, I know that it’s gonna require more work and more time that I currently put in, but I welcome the challenge. I welcome the opportunity. I see this is the opportunity for me to be recognized, to show that, what I can do to get results, and I feel like this can help me in my, in my future, career, So bring it on, I’m ready for it or not other employee might say, let me see if I understand you correctly, My reward, for working hard, and putting in all the extra effort I do to perform at this level is to give me more work.
So you have to know your audience and understand what may be reinforcing to you, to your employees, and what might not be reinforcing or reward to them, So you need to know your audience.
Helping top performers, performer succeed, they’re interested in developmental opportunities. They want growth career growth. They typically want that recognition for doing a great job.
They see greater levels of responsibility wanted to be recognized for, for accepting and succeeding in those more responsible.
Roles that you may provide them in, very important to them is they want support in their career goals and strategy, and they want you to be their partner in achieving their career goals and strategy. That’s what they probably want from you as their supervisor, more than anything else. They want you to be working just as hard as they are to, to achieve those career goals that they have.
Let’s begin to talk about middle performers.
They can be difficult to distinguish from top performers. Sometimes, you can have a high performer, high performing, middle performer, a sort of a close call, if that person should be a top performer or not.
However, sometimes there’s high activity, but not a clear focus, or results.
They may say, jeez. I’m working really hard, and I don’t understand why, why I don’t get, re do better.
And maybe because they’re because there’s this lack of focus on results, it’s more challenging when a manager or supervisor has many direct reports, especially if they’re working remotely, and the measure’s sometimes are unclear.
So what do you do?
Well, the key is, goal is, Goes alignment.
Goals should cascade throughout an organization.
Doing the right things versus doing things right should be the objective. What’s the difference? Well, of course, you want your employees to do things right.
But what if they’re not doing the things you want them to do? Wonder if they’re doing things that are important to you that don’t support your objectives, or your organization’s objectives. No matter how well they do it, it’s really not gonna help you help the organization. So you really want them to be focused on the right things, and you really want them to do the right things right.
So employees should not be permitted to choose their own responsibilities, if not aligned with the right goals. And frequent communication is important between an employee and providers are to achieve this.
This is a model of goals, alignment. And in this model at the top, you see organizational goals and supervisors goals should be supportive of the organization’s goals as to the employee’s job. Growth should be supportive of their supervisors. Goals in the employee’s career goals Should be in alignment with all the things that you see here.
And when there’s a misalignment here, then you’re going to have a problem.
Different perceptions of the job. You see here on the arrow on the left is the supervisor’s perception of what is most important to be successful on the job and on the right is the employee’s perception, and you can see those perceptions that are going in different directions, and that’s, that’s not, that’s obviously not a good situation.
These perceptions need to be aligned. The supervisors perception is what’s most important and the employee’s perception of what’s most important to be successful on the job should be, in alignment. There should be an agreement. And who should be deciding what is most important to be successful on the job? Well, obviously, it should be supervised.
So, getting perceptions in agreement, make sure middle performers know what your goals are, and how to support them.
And keep employees focused on what’s most important to you and the organization. You have every right to insist that that is what the employee does.
And you need to provide middle performers with timely and specific feedback, what they’re doing, that is an alignment with organizational and job goals.
Focusing on the right things, performance management process is very important.
It is an excellent view call to ensure that this, this alignment occurs, keep focused, keep employees focused on the right goals, set expectations, and measure results. And that is so important. And that applies to people that you see face-to-face and people that work remotely. You need to be setting those expectations and measuring results, as Mark mentioned earlier. Don’t confuse activity with achievement. Just because somebody’s putting a lot of time into their job doesn’t mean that they’re doing the right things. And you need to ask, is employee doing the right things? Are they invoicing?
Are they avoiding certain duties that they don’t like to do, even though they may be important, critically important? And are they focusing on instead instead on favorite duties, that may be of less importance. So this is the feedback that you should be delivering to to employees, to make sure that they’re focusing on the right things.
You need to be a champion of middle performers.
You need to acknowledge their accomplishment, Give them timely, frequent, and specific feedback on their, help them build their confidence. Confidence, by incremental increases the responsibility and acknowledge and reward positive performance by providing developmental opportunities for them. Just the same as we talked about with top performers. And provide the mentors if if available mentors relationship can be very valuable to middle performers it gives them a second voyage safe. Voice, perhaps, or safe ear, to, to hear about what the employees feelings are. Perhaps frustrations and Mentors will probably most likely support what you’re the feedback that the, and gates that you’re giving the employee, as well.
And so they hear from two different sources, which makes it even stronger.
So supervisor, communications, you don’t have to be the greatest communicator in the world to provide effective feedback to your employees.
What is most important is that you communicate with your employees in a manner, and style most comfortable and effective for you.
Don’t always assume that you’re being understood by everyone.
You communicate with it work, staying in the communication longer to ensure that you are understood and that you understand others is important in your role as a supervisor or manager and you may need to check for understanding. At one of the facilities that I was assigned to earlier in my career.
I met a supervisor named Leon, and Leon was actually a very effective supervisor and communicate, and when he gave his direct reports and assignment, he went through indi in pretty good detail what the, what the assignment would be, what his expectations would be, what the timetable would be for, completion of the of the assignment, and so on.
And when he got done with his instructions, she would stop, you would look the employee in the eye, and you say, Now, you tell me what I just told you.
Now, how carefully you think that his employees learn to listen to Leah when he gave them instructions, that they needed to perform the job, well, as you might guess, they listen very closely, very intently.
And this technique works very well for Leon and it may work for you, do middle performers know what great performance looks like.
Communications is often the difference between success and failure of middle performers. They may never have been told what is required to become a top performer.
You may need to describe in specific terms what behaviors you expect from these employees and reinforce it when you see it.
Provide guidance that can help them better. understand what is considered top performance, and what they need to do to strive. To strive to reach this performance levels. And give them very specific examples of what you expect.
What behaviors you want to see them do, in order to be a better performer, or a top performer, as they may aspire to middle performers’ challenges. They are important, because they are the largest group in any organization, and get most of the work done.
Middle performers may perceive themselves as higher level forms.
They may have fairness issues about how they’re written. They may not always accept the feedback that you give them about how well they’re performing.
However, regardless, you need to continue to encourage and support them to work towards reaching their career goals. They need to feel that you’re on their side, or you have their back, and you’re trying to help them improve their performance.
To begin talking about low performance, they’re pretty easy to identify, because they’re not meeting performance expectations. They’re not performing the requirements of the job, they’re not contributing to goals that can cause disruption to the organization. They’re time consuming, and they may result in potential disciplinary actions to be taken. And nobody really wants to do.
Here are your choices when dealing with low performers. You can do nothing and ignore it, which is, which happens.
You could say you do something, but do very little or nothing about it, which I think is worse than the number, or you could do something and take action to address this poor performance.
So, the supervisors’ role in addressing poor performance provide regular feedback, poor performance, provide feedback that connects their poor performance to the bigger picture.
They need to understand, when they do not perform their job, as is required and expected, what the, what the problems it that creates, the problems that that creates for the organization, for your customers, for your co-workers, for you, for everyone, they need to, they need to hear that.
You need to ensure that employees clearly understand this feedback, and what’s expected of them, and how they need to change their performance, and advise poor performance of the potential consequences of continuing to perform at this low level.
Just some notes about negative job performance feedback.
Negative job performance feedback needs to be clear and un ambiguous is to provide constructive criticism.
The database includes specific examples of the unacceptable performance.
It should also explain any support available to help them to improve his or her performance.
Now, here’s an example of a supervisor giving unclear negative feedback, performance feedback to an employee supervisor.
I’m rating you lower this year because I don’t think you’re doing as good a job as you did in the past employ.
I don’t understand. I do the same thing every day I come to work, and this hasn’t changed over the past year.
This is the first time you’ve ever been mentioned this, too.
Could you give me some specific examples of what you mean by this supervisor? Well, this is just something that have served over the past year. I can’t be any more specific than that. I can just tell you. I can just tell when someone is doing a good job and when they’re not.
Employ, well, that doesn’t give me much to work on if I would expect to get a better rating next year, supervisor. Well, you need to think about what you can do to improve your job performance. So we don’t have to have the same discussion in that.
Let me ask you, what do you think will be the result of this feedback?
A, The employee’s performance will remain the same. B, The employee will not meet the expectations of the supervisor or see the employee will be read at the same way the following year.
Well, if you answered A, B, and C, you’re absolutely correct, and we didn’t see anything, in that, We just saw the, we just did.
That, we just heard, that would help for that employee, meet the expectations of the supervisor.
And and, and that’s critical that, that the expectation expectations need to be clear, OK, reasons for job poor performance.
Working with, and thinking about a poor performing your organization, the first thing you really need to cause, to think about side is, is this poor performance a result of ability, or motivation?
If you have a fairly concluded that, there is a matter of ability that the person just does not have the ability to perform the job, there’s really no reason to go any further. In this case, you should contact your human resource department and talk about either, finding a job in the organization that this person might be able to perform acceptably are developing a plan for that individual. That poor performer, to exit the organization. If it’s a matter of motivation. Then you then you have something more to work with.
And we’ll talk about that a bit more and more detail in a moment. Another reason for performance, maybe job fit, maybe they do have skills that they can provide for the organization, but the job there and it’s just not very … to their set of skills and moving that person to a different position. As I mentioned earlier, maybe the answer. it might be the job itself. I get concerned that with all the downsizing and restructuring that occurs in today’s business world that sometimes jobs are created as a result of combinations of other jobs there.
You know, essentially an impossible job to successfully perform. And you may look at the job itself is, are you really being fair and expecting this employee a real …
to be able to perform that job successfully. It may be a matter of training. I don’t think it’s fair to expect someone to perform a task or job skill that they haven’t received some training in, And it may be a training issue that is that is the problem and providing that training, they correct the performance. It may also be the supervision, There is such a thing, I guess, as personality conflicts between people were people that just don’t gel well to the other and, and maybe assigning that, low performer to a different supervisor may be maybe the answer to the solution to the poor job performance.
But how to coach will perform.
So you need to address, not ignore poor performers.
You need to set specific goals and manage to achieve.
You need to be consistent, You have to hold everyone to the same standard.
Poor performers shouldn’t be allowed to lower the standards, does the organization? And if you do have equity issues with co-workers, they’re going to say to you, hey, it’s not fair. This employee gets away with not doing this or not doing this correctly, or whatever. And, and, you’re going to have problems with your, with your other workers. If they feel that an inequity is occurring and I’m not suggesting that, you should just discuss the coaching and counseling that you’re having with a poor performer with their co-workers, but if you’re taking actions to correct this problem, they’ll see it, they’ll note.
Avoid contradictory employment actions.
Such a salary increases to low performers and many organizations. There’s an across the board cost of living increase that everybody receives, and you make questions, should people that are low performers receive that, that, that bonus or the full allocation of it transfers. one way to solve your problem with a low performer in your organization, is to transfer ship them out. And, of course, you shouldn’t do that. You wouldn’t want a supervisor from another part of the organization doing that to you, and you shouldn’t do that to somebody else. You should deal directly with a problem and address the poor.
How about promotions? As crazy as that might sound?
Occasionally, that might happen that a poor performers promoted. For some reason, when that happens, it’s obviously a case of poor communications. I remember at least once, and in my experience in the company I worked for, I saw this happening, actually knew the individual that, that was happening with. And as you might imagine, it, as I could have told them, it asked me that it turned out to be a complete disaster. And and the reason why that happened, as I said, it was lack of communication. So most organizations have some kind of a talent review process and meetings in which supervisors on different levels of the organization, meet and discuss their, their employees that are working for them and this shared information about their performance. And information about low performers should the honestly, and accurately describe so that everybody understands.
Hey, Peter. If you can hear, if you can hear me, it looks like your audio dropped off.
Think about understanding the cause, and how they could help you in developing your solution, so, that’s my homework assignment, that I’m giving you. So, finally, helping employees on all performance levels.
O’clock I’m their career ladders. Encourage employees to learn and develop new skills. When I was just graduating from college, a business professor said to us, when you enter the business world, the most important skill that you’re going to most important thing you need to learn is how to develop new skills, and be prepared for new jobs. Or was he, right, when you think about all the new skills and jobs that that you are challenged with during your career, be able to learn and develop those skills? to meet those challenges? Is critically important help.
employees add value to their positions, As I mentioned earlier, encourage employees to seek support from others, such as mentors. And I truly believe that the best mentors that we have in life are the ones that we choose for ourselves.
Getting close to someone who you are, who you respect and admire in, developing that type of relationship can be very beneficial in your career. And even in your life to help them develop a strategy for success. Just as you might develop a plan, any other kind of project plan, they should develop a plan. A strategy for their success with miles of stones and, and accomplishments that they want to reach.
Let others in the organization know their career goals. And a lot of ways, I use their supervisors like an agent of a professional athlete. And the agents job is to, to promote that, that, that athlete to help him or her get the best opportunities That they can, they can, they can achieve, based on their, their talents, and you need to play the same role for, for your employees. And then, finally, help employees expect and accept change. When you look at the people that are that you admire, that are most successful in your organization, Undoubtedly, you’ll find that they were people also people who accepted change. They adapted, they embrace change, there are change champions, and they always found a way to make change, work for them.
So, help helping your employees expect and accept change, which is probably the only constant that we have, is change, is very important and work.
So, in summary, helping managers and supervisors improve their skills to provide more effective feedback to employees, is a worthwhile investment for any organization paying dividends, not only today, but in the future as well.
If you’d like to what you heard today, as are talked about in the intro, I have a book coming out called 50 Activities for Performance Feedback. It’s published by HRD Press. Here’s their their contact information. Much of what I reviewed today was from these activities, but they also have skill building activities. There’s also skill building activities involving role plays that can help your employees learn to develop their skills in providing the performance feedback that we’ve talked about today. And so with that, I’ll turn the program back over to Sarah, and I think we have some time for some questions. Sarah?
Yes. So we have some time here to open it up for some questions. If you do have a question, drop it into that questions box there on your control panel, and we’ll be able to answer some of those for you today. And our first question is coming from Roseanne, and Rosanne would like to know, What? Do you think about pass effect pass fail evaluations since hyper firm formers will also be high performers regardless of a rating scale?
Um, pass, fail evaluations.
Can you explain more? I’m not sure what a pass fail evaluation is. I mean, either either you, you meet the criteria, or you don’t.
Yeah, I think that’s what I mean.
Yes, I guess I wouldn’t, I think that that’s too black and white. I think that there’s different gradients of performance and that you should understand how close somebody gets to, know, successfully meeting the requirements. And I don’t think that pass fail gives you the opportunity to get that kind of information to understand that.
Great. And this next question here is from Nick, who would like to now. Do we need to remind the employer for performance feedback?
You have to remind your employer to sponsor such a program. That’s what I’m hearing and the question. I think so. I think if, if your organization is not doing this, and that’s why I included in the presentation, I think you need to talk to them about it, and say, this is something that we need to do, in that. We are not going to be able to really develop our employees the way we want to, in the absence of such a program.
So, I think that you should discuss that with the leadership in your organization, and maybe they will only help if you can establish or re-establish a program. That’s my greatest concern is that sometimes these programs do get pushed aside and are a busy business environment, as I indicated earlier.
And Sonora says, Hello. I am loving this. I have a question on specific best practices. Do you have any advice on how to actually have these difficult conversations with employees being the conversations themselves?
How to how to have the conversation with employees on their own best practices?
Yeah. Do you have any advice or tips on having those difficult conversations? Yeah, You know, I think I understand the question. You know, again, I think, I think, be specific.
And giving very specific examples in feedback. Tone, telling employees, exactly what you expect. What behaviors do you expect from them as is critically important? Sometimes expectations oddly are not expressed to employees about what the supervisor wants. They may tell all sorts of people, their colleagues or their boss or whatever, but they never tell the employer. And the employee needs to get, you know, that specific direction from their supervisor.
And again, being as specific as you possibly can, is, I think, the key.
Great, and this next question is, coming from Mandy’s would like to know, how do we engage staff who seem apathetic?
Hmm, hmm, hmm, That’s a tough one. That’s a good question. I guess I’d want to know why the apathetic, what’s causing that? The apathy, what is it, in the, in the work environment that is, you know, not rewarding not reinforcing to them.
You know, maybe they they’re not given any, you know, kind of challenges or rewards that would make work more interesting.
And I think that apathy may be a result of the, You know, the way, though the organization is, is treating employees and not not providing those kind of some kind of incentive to keep their keep their interest in their jobs, To keep their heads in the game, is the supervisor. You can do things to, to incentivize people to, you know, to be more interested by challenging them and setting goals and erect … achievement of the schools that’s very, very satisfying. And I think, motivating.
This next question here comes from David, who would like to know: In your experience, have you ever felt that the supervisor actually becomes a problem, keeping good people on the team?
Yes, yes, absolutely.
As I said, in one of the reasons for poor performance could be the supervisor, and it really could, You know, there’s that old saying that, you know, people don’t generally leave an organization that really leave leaving their supervisor. So, yes, that, that, definitely, that definitely can be a problem.
And then, a problem that, you know, could be, hopefully, could be addressed. But somebody has to step up and address that problem if it’s, if it’s occurring. But, yes.
And this next question here is coming from Ned. who would like to know, should employees write their own performance evaluations?
Yeah, that’s an interesting question. It is because, when I was talking about earlier, that, some organizations have a process in which the employee initiates the performance evaluation and sends it to the employer, to their supervisor. And they do a self evaluation, and then the self evaluation as compared to the supervisors of evaluation.
And they discuss that, and come to some kind of a conclusion on what with the final evaluation should be, but I think a supervisor would learn a great deal by understanding how their direct report feels about their performance, and how they, how they feel that they should be evaluated.
I think that could be a very valuable exercise for sure.
Great. And we will have one more question for today, coming in front of Cynthia, who would like to know? what is your view about employees receiving the same pay because of pay structure, no matter where they are, and the levels of performance?
Yeah, that is a tough one. And that, when there isn’t a connection between performance and rewards, that, meaning that no matter what the the the employee does, and how successful they are, they’re still gonna get the same, the same amount of pay. And I know that there’s many cellular structures that are set up that way, and can’t be changed, but, you know, that as far as the rewards being connected to the performance, that’s, that’s hard. That’s tough there.
But there can be other things that a supervisor can do other than raises that, can be reinforcing to two people, such as acknowledgement and giving them additional responsibility and things that are within the supervisors control, or the pay isn’t. But there’s other things that can be provided that, I think, you know, again, can motivate people and make them more engaged in their job.
Great, and then that’ll conclude our Q&A session for today.
Very good.
I appreciate everybody’s attention today. I really enjoyed presenting this to you today. I hope that it was beneficial to you.
And if you’d like to contact me, I’d love to hear from you. My e-mail address is, and I will respond to you.
Great. Well, thank you so much for such an informative session today. We’re receiving great feedback coming in from the audience. And just before we wrap up here, Jennifer said, no question, just a comment. I really, truly appreciate the statement you made. Don’t confuse activity with achievement. This is perfect.
And thank you all for participating in today’s webinar. Make sure that you join me next week, same day, same time, same place, or why your returned to office hasn’t gone according to plan and what to do about it. I look forward to seeing you all there, and thank you so much for participating in today’s webinar, and thank you very much for your time today, Peter.
Thank you, Thank you, sir, and everybody who attended.
Have a wonderful rest of your day, everyone.

Listen to the podcast

In this episode on the HRDQ-U In Review Podcast, we’ll explore the importance of providing effective feedback to employees on all performance levels. We’ll cover a range of topics, including the challenges of providing feedback, why it’s important, effective feedback impact, roadblocks, and strategies for presenting feedback. Listeners will gain new insights, tips, and guidance to help them provide more meaningful feedback and manage performance in their organizations. This can positively impact trust, communication, commitment, and loyalty among employees and the organization as a whole. Tune in to learn how to provide effective performance feedback.
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