The six step process to providing constructive criticism   

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Managing employee performance can be the most challenging aspect of your job as a business owner or manager.

A large part of successful performance management revolves around clear communication and the provision of regular feedback to employees – in fact these are vital to the continued efficiency and performance of your team(s) and your overall organisation.

HR Team director, Martina McAuley, advises the best approach when addressing an employee’s underperformance: 

“The best approach is referred to as a ‘positive sandwich’. Begin with positive feedback, feed in with addressing the negative issue at hand and finish with a positive statement. This is to prevent the ‘fight or flight’ mode or confrontation that may arise from employees otherwise.  

“Speak to an employee in private, speak clearly to avoid a misalignment in the message and follow the six step process below”.

The 6 step process on providing feedback: 

  1. State your purpose to be concise – avoid small talk. 
  2. Describe the problem – describe the performance or behavior without being judgmental and always provide detail on incidence of poor performance.
  3. Listen actively – use open questions, positive body language, etc. 
  4. Agree on the problem – this is important for reaching a solution and may require modifying your own view. 
  5. Ask the employee how they could resolve the matter and agree on an action plan. 
  6. Have the employee sum up the matter – ask for a recap, what the issue is, what you will do to resolve it and the timeframe. This ensures a common understanding. 

Ms McAuley adds: “It is even more pressing to focus on performance management now, given the current unusual circumstances.

“Performance must be monitored, discussed, and measured frequently. Providing feedback encourages employees to adhere to the basic standards and addresses areas of concern – while positive feedback will boost staff morale,” Ms McAuley added.  

If you would like to access Ms McAuley’s webinar on performance management for further expert advice, contact us today: or call NI/UK: +44 2871 271882 Ireland: +353 1 695 0749

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