Tips on Giving Effective Constructive Criticism

Jobmax_cunstruction_Criticism_emplyeeAs a manager, it’s your responsibility to give your employees feedback about their work. Unfortunately, communicating when and how something could have been done better is part of that task. It takes empathy and tact to give criticism in a manner that won’t be construed as a personal attack, but rather as an encouragement to improve. In short, giving constructive criticism is a skill, and it’s one all managers must master in order to get the best out of their employees. Fortunately, skills can be learned. Read on to learn some best practices for giving constructive criticism.

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. Before addressing any issue, take a moment to put yourself in your employee’s shoes. Chances are he isn’t aware he’s making mistakes; in fact, he’s probably doing his best. Think back to an occasion when somebody gave you constructive criticism that really helped you in your career, and do your best to be as helpful to your employee.

Choose the time and place carefully. Being criticized is never fun. Choose the time and place to speak to your employee carefully. At an appropriate time when he’s not too busy, ask for a one-on-one meeting to discuss some issues. This will give him the opportunity to receive the criticism in private, without all of his colleagues listening in.

Be aware of your voice and body language. Somebody receiving criticism can adopt a defensive attitude—it’s a natural reaction when one’s attacked. That’s why you must use strong but non-confrontational body language. Respect your employee’s personal space while maintaining a confident posture and good eye contact. Breathe deeply and calmly, and don’t raise your voice. By being assured but not confrontational, you send the message that you’re in the right, yet without backing your employee into a corner.

Comment objectively on behavior. Focusing on actual behaviors that have negative consequences, instead of addressing characteristics you subjectively perceive to be the problem. For example, instead of assuming your employee is lazy and therefore misses deadlines, it’s far more constructive to focus on the measurable issue, i.e. the fact that he misses deadlines.

Use “I statements” to request specific changes for future occasions. It’s much easier to accept criticism when it’s delivered in the form of a request from the speaker’s point of view. So for example, instead of saying, “You always make a lot of mistakes in your report,” you could say, “I spend a considerable amount of time correcting your reports. In the future, could you please review your work for errors before submitting it?” This still gets the message across, but without sounding accusatory.

Highlight something positive first, carefully lead into the negative issue, and end on a compliment. It’s always advisable to let your employee know you noticed what he did well before launching into what he can improve on. You should also express confidence that your employee can make the requested change. For example, you could say, “I really appreciate your attention to detail in this report, and the first section is outstanding. However, the second section needs more work. I’m confident that with another take, you can get it right.” By complimenting your employee, you take the sting out of the criticism included in the message.

Offer your assistance. Constructive criticism is useless if your employee doesn’t know how to improve. Carefully discuss with him what the reasons are for the mistakes or issues in the first place; then find ways for him to improve. For example, if your employee’s reports are full of errors because he’s working too quickly and doesn’t review properly, encourage him to take more time on the next report so he can be more methodical, as well as review and if necessary, make revisions.

Check in. Remember to check in with your employee when he’s next working on a similar task. Ask him if he believes he’s improving. If he’s still facing obstacles, give him the encouragement and assistance he needs to overcome them.

Give praise. When your employee has addressed the unwanted behavior and made the desired improvements, make sure to thank him for his efforts and compliment his achievements.

Giving constructive criticism is a necessary part of any manager’s job. These best practices will help you do so in an effective, empathetic manner so both your employee and you benefit from the improved results.

What do your employees really think?

Because employees have a huge impact on the bottom line, companies need to ensure their workforce is engaged and committed. Numerous studies have linked employee loyalty, customer loyalty, and financial results with one another.

Employee dissatisfaction leads to lower productivity and higher turnover, having a significant impact on organizational performance. Therefore, anything that can reduce the investment of time and money currently channeled into sourcing, hiring, and training new employees is beneficial.

Enterprise surveys enable business leaders to find out what their employees really think and what issues need to be addressed. Through the survey, the organization can communicate to employees that their opinions matter and so increase employee morale, understand key organizational issues, and build an engaged workforce. Carrying out a well-orchestrated survey — and listening, consulting, and acting on the results over time — will have a positive effect on a company’s bottom line.

An enterprise survey is a structured process in which staff can openly discuss their opinions of the organization without fear of reprisal. They can review key areas that the organization has deemed important (e.g., culture, company strategy, career development, reward systems, training, onboarding, orientation, and customer service) and provide input and ideas on what is working well and what is not. The aim is to present staff with a method that encourages them to give honest answers on a variety of topics in a manner that they find comfortable.

Why conduct an enterprise survey

Would you like to uncover key organizational issues that would lead to demonstrable improvements? Do you want your workforce to provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve and feel more engaged and committed to your company?

Employee engagement is a central goal of a smart company that understands that is only as good as its employees and that there is great value in knowing their opinions, drivers, and behaviours. Numerous studies have established that a moderate increase in employee engagement can garner huge returns for a company. Being aware of what employees are saying about their work experience provides insight into a company’s key issues and makes available crucial information that can be positively applied to the future.

An organization can reap many benefits from conducting an enterprise survey:

  • It’s a strategic organizational tool to identify important issues.
  • It provides an assessment of current organizational culture and gauges the level of employee engagement.
  • It allows employees to communicate views and concerns.
  • It isolates the root causes of such continuing problems as high turnover or low productivity.
  • It enables companies to find solutions to issues that will lead to profitable improvements.
  • It fosters stronger employee relations by creating an environment of openness and trust.
  • Empowered employees lead to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, better customer service, improved morale, and measurable savings.

How to conduct an enterprise survey

To implement an enterprise survey, you must plan — to create governance policy, clarify objectives, establish timelines, allocate resources, identify topics, and define a reporting structure. Once you have dealt with these elements, you need to develop survey items with the input of key constituents. You must also address administrative details, including who will receive the survey, communication, and timing, and then create your plan of action to analyze and identify priorities. Over time, you implement and monitor key recommendations, ensuring that you provide regular updates and communicate progress.

Your organization must keep your employees informed through all phases of the survey, including preparation, data collection, action planning, and implementation. You need to develop a communication plan to get out the key messages — objectives and rationale, timeframe, importance of participation, how results will be reported, and action priorities identified add implemented. Be sure to allow for two-way communication.

Explain suggestions that cannot be implemented in a timely manner and tie changes that are made back to the survey. Communicating effectively throughout the process establishes a solid foundation for future surveys.

When employees see the changes that take place as a result of their feedback, they will understand the connection between that and their response, leading to an improvement in future survey scores.

Timing the enterprise survey

If you conduct a survey only once, you lose the survey’s value in monitoring progress over time and uncovering new or developing issues. If you conduct surveys too often, fatigue can occur. To be effective, you should schedule the survey process so that any initiatives that come out of it can be incorporated into the business planning cycle.

Once it has been distributed, allow enough time for staff to consider their responses before completing the survey. Providing the opportunity to fill it out while at work will increases response rates.

Once collected and compiled, release the data to all employees without delay to signal that the information collected matters and that management has given it high priority.

Action planning and implementing results

There is little point in conducting enterprise surveys unless the information is going to be used to make your company more effective. Without action and follow through, there is no value.

The results need to be analyzed and presented in an efficient and cost-effective manner. How do you keep on top of the volume of information without letting the process weigh you down? How do you respect privacy issues? Effective evaluation of enterprise survey outcomes requires you to identify trends and patterns of key issues perceived by the workforce. Benchmarking the results from one period to the next enables you to compare valid data and opens the opportunity to monitor progress.


Many dedicated HR departments do not have the time or skill to gather or analyze the data or implement the recommendations they reveal. Outsourcing an enterprise survey frees up the time of internal resources by enabling a third-party provider to oversee the design, facilitate planning, provide guidance, and implement and coordinate the survey in a way that minimizes demands on employees and their managers.

As well, employees who are not fully engaged will not provide honest input unless an external advisor assists in prioritizing results based on objective, statistically reliable data. To ensure that your organization capitalizes on the potential rooted within the results, a third-party provider is ideal.


A well-designed and implemented process will guarantee that the concerns identified by your enterprise survey are the right ones. Equipped with this crucial information, your company will be in a position to address key issues, which will result in greater employee engagement.

By managing it properly, using the right resources, asking the right questions, processing and responding to the answers, and using the information to create necessary change, you can convert enterprise surveys into one of the most valuable management tools your company has.

How to Prevent Injuries and Illnesses At Your Workplace

As an employer, you are responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. A safety and health management system, or safety program, can help you focus your efforts on improving your work environment.

Whatever you call it, your plan describes what the people in your organization must do to prevent injuries and illnesses at your workplace.

Your organization will have its own unique system, reflecting your way of doing business, the hazards of your work, and how you manage the safety and health of your employees. If you manage a small business in a low-risk industry, your system may simply involve listening to your employees concerns and responding to them. However , a large business in a hazardous industry may have notebooks full of written policies and procedures and a full-time safety director.

What’s most important is that your system works for your organization. It’s up to you to decide how best to operate a safe and healthy workplace, and to put your plan into practice.


A successful system will be part of your overall business operation, as important as the other things you do to succeed in business. Successful safety and health systems have the following in place.

  • Managers committed to making the program work
  • Employee involved in the program
  • A system to identify and control hazards
  • Compliance with safety and health  regulations
  • Training on safe work practices
  • Mutual respect, caring, and open communication in a climate conducive to safety
  • Continuous improvement

Take a look at your safety and health system: Some components may be strong; others may need to be strengthened. The following sections describe the key factors and give ideas about how to make them part of your program. Use them as a practical guide to adapt to your needs. Because small business often cannot afford in-house safety and health professionals, you may need help to set up your system.

1. Make a commitment

Put as much as energy into your commitment to safety and health as you put into any other important part of your business. Make sure to include workplace safety and health in your business plan and integrate it into all facets of the business.

  • Write a policy that emphasizes the importance you place on workplace safety and health.
  • Commit the resources (time, money, personnel) needed to protect your employees.
  • Begin meetings with a safety topic.
  • Encourage employee participation in safety and health.
  • Let your employees know you expect them to follow safe work practices, and follow them yourself.
  • Respond to all reports of unsafe or unhealthy conditions or work practices.
  • If injuries or illnesses occur, make it your business to find out why.
  • Go beyond the regulations; address a;; hazards, whether or not they are covered by laws.

2. Involve employees

In a safe and healthy workplace, employees have a stake in the success of the program- safety and healthy is everyone’s responsibility. For your program to succeed, actively encourage employee involvement. Hold people accountable and make sure every one does their part.

  • Establish an active workplace safety and health committee.
  • Make daily safety inspections part of some employees’ jobs.
  • Keep employees informed about safety inspections, injury and illnesses statistics, and other safety related issues.
  • Give everyone a meaningful activity that supports safety.
  • Value employee input and feedback: Employees often know more about safety problems and solutions then managers do.
  • Make sure employees help review and improve the program.
  • Hold employees accountable: Include safety and health responsibilities in job descriptions, and make following safe work practices prat of performance evaluation. Set safety goals and hold everyone accountable. Discipline employees who behave in ways that could harm themselves or others. Establish a clear system for reporting hazards, injuries, illnesses, and close calls. Recognize employees who contribute to keeping the workplace safe and healthy.

 3. Identify and control hazards

Before you can control hazards, you need to know what they are. These are some ways to identify safety and health hazards:

  • Review records of accidents, injuries, illnesses, and close calls.
  • Review health and safety logs, first aid logs, workers compensation reports, complaints, and close calls.
  • Look for trends or common factors in: Kinds of injuries or illnesses. Parts of body. Time of days/shift. Location. Equipment. Protective equipment. Department.
  • Survey employees.
  • Review inspection reports from enforcement inspections, insurance surveys, or consultations.
  • Learn the safety and health regulations that apply to your workplace.
  • Inspect your workplace for safety and health problems, current and potential: Use checklists to locate dangerous conditions. Watch employees at work to spot unsafe work practices. Perform a job hazard analysis. Conduct air and noise sampling where exposures exist.

Once you know the hazards, decide how to control them:

  • Prioritize the hazards you found: Which are most likely to cause serious injury or illness? Which can you fix immediately? Do you have make long-term plans to correct some of the hazards?
  • Make a plan to correcting the hazards: Conduct a job hazard analysis to identify how best to correct the hazards. Find out best practices from companies in your industry.
  • Correct the hazards: Engineering controls eliminate the hazards through safe tools, facilities, and equipment. These are the best controls. Administrative controls don’t remove the hazards, they reduce exposure by changing the work practices, such as rotating workers, rest breaks, and training programs. Personal protective equipment(e.g. gloves or safety shoes) puts a barrier between the employee and the hazard. If you use personal protective equipment, you have to assess  the hazard beforehand and train employees the right way to use it.
  • Evaluate the changes to ensure they have corrected the problem and not created other hazards. And periodically re-survey the work environment and work practices.

4. Comply with regulations

Identify the regulations that apply in your workplace and comply with them:

  • Develop required programs.
  • Maintain a safety and health log if required for your business.

5. Train Employees

Train personnel about the hazards they may be exposed to at work and how to protect themselves. Keep records of all training. Provide:

  • General safety orientation for new employees and employees starting new jobs, including company safety and emergency procedures.
  • Specific training on the hazards of their jobs and how to do their jobs safety. Many safety and health standards include specific training requirements.
  • Retraining: as required by the standards. When jobs change. When employees return from long absences. As needed to ensure employees know how to do their jobs safety.

 6. Support a culture of safety

Workers hold safety as a value, they actively care about themselves and others. Mutual respect is the norm.

  • Establish effective two-way communication. Respond to the needs and concerns of workers.
  • Make sure management goes beyond the regulations to ensure a safe workplace.
  • Encourage workers to go beyond the call of duty to ensure a safe workplace.
  • Support a work environment that fosters trust, creativity, and general well-being.
  • Celebrate your success with recognition programs.

7. Continually improve your system

Review your program’s strengths and weaknesses. Does it accurately reflect how you want to manage safety and health?

  • Review annually and as needed.
  • Investigate accidents, injuries, illnesses, and close calls as they occur.
  • Conduct frequent (daily, weekly as needed) inspections of specifics equipment and processes.
  • Evaluate your injury and illness statistics.
  • Document all your safety efforts.
  • Review new and changed processes. materials, facilities, and equipment for hazards (change analysis).
  • Ensure hazard correction systems are in place and working.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of training.
  • Listen to your staff: Do employees know the hazards of their jobs and how to work safety? Are managers enforcing safe work practices and praising safe behaviour?

How to Manage High & Low Performers

People who invest their money wisely focus on the investments that have the greatest chance of turning out to be winners. Do you do the same when managing the performance of your employees? If you are sadly like most managers, the answer is you probably get caught up spending too much time with low performers who have a fair chance of being acceptable but not stars. What would happen if y0u dedicated more time to your employees who are acceptable performers yet exhibit clear signs of being high performers? The answer is that many of these acceptable performers will move into the ranks of high performers.

As a CEO, manager, or business owner, how do you identify the employees to focus on, and how can you make the most of your lower performers?

1. Be selective about whom you focus on

Carefully select who will be important for you to invest your time, energy, and other resources in to develop their performance. This decision is incredibly important. If you choose a low performer, your likely payoff will be less than if you select a high performer. This may seem at odds with what you have learned in the past, or it may even seem to go against the grain of democracy or fighting for the underdog. However, if your goal is to maximize performance, then this approach is more likely to yield grater results more quickly.

Anyone can really improve only two or three things at a single time, no matter what multitaskers tell you. Deliberately practicing two or three things is what drives high impact gains in performance and productivity, and that practice can be enhanced with explicit, targeted feedback from mangers. It is far easier, more rewarding, and more effective to leverage strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses. The key is to find strength in one area in the performer and get them to use that strength in an area that requires improvement. Real, sustained improvement takes time. As a manager, you require patience as you need to focus on the long term and not just quick fix. The quicker the fix, the less sustainable the result.

2. Keep hope alive for all performers

Keep hope alive for all performers, even those who are chronically low. What does this mean? As a manager or CEO, you want to make investments, though not equal investments, in all performers. But do not waste a lot of time, energy, and other resources on your employees who, at their very best, will only be average or acceptable performers. These are not bad people or bad fits for your company or not worthy of salary or slackers; they may simply be comfortable in their current position and have no desire to become the company superstar.

A manager who wants to improve performance should demonstrate what psychologists call “unconditional positive regard”. This means that you accept where your staff begins their performance improvement journey: Some may begin behind; others at the right place; and some even ahead. Assess the starting place but do not judge. Then, you can identify the signature strengths of all of your staff, even chronic low performers.

Watch out for the “Pygmalion effect” of your staff rising or falling to meet your expectations. In other words, if you have low expectations, they will move to meet your low expectations; if you have high expectations; your employees will move to meet your high expectations.

Focus on making progress toward a longer term goal and reward that progress, even if it is only one baby step after another. By rewarding small steps towards the larger performance goal, you will also feel less frustration because you know your efforts with the low performers are paying off.

3. Address chronic low performers

Cut your losses early. As a manager or CEO, you are responsible to your boss or stockholders, to your company, and to your customers. There are two ways to address chronic low performers. If, after setting clear expectations, monitoring their performance, coaching them, and then letting them know about the consequences of underperforming, you still see no improvement, you should let them go.

If your company cannot afford to let any employees go to keep the operation running, the second way to address the issue is to reassign chronic low performers. When you reassign an employee, you protect the majority of those who are performing well from smaller group that could persuade them to lower performance across the board of distract the higher performers.

Picture yourself three to six months from now after experimenting with these three recommendations. Not only will you have a plan for all performers, but you will have dedicated more time, energy, and resources to those performers with the greatest payoff. Your time is precious; you can focus on only so much. You have to be selective about what you focus on. When you are responsible for managing performance, prioritize and be confident knowing that your investment will pay off for you, your company, and your customers.


How to Manage Your Gen Ys

If you’re like many managers, your employees are increasingly gen Ys who bring valuable qualities to the workplace. they’re willing to work long hours. and they relish working for organizations whose values matter to them.

To attract, retain, and get the most from Gen Ys, create the right kind of work environment. Start by emphasizing your company’s values, reputation, and community involvement to Gen Y job candidates. They often prefer to work on their own schedules, so be fexible about asynchronous work. Where possible, performance management should focus on task completion, not time spent.