“Feedback isn’t about instructing or scolding: it’s about giving someone the information and tools they need to develop their strengths and get over their hurdles.”
— Jenny von Podewils, co-founder and co-CEO at Leapsome
The thought of feedback still makes many people uneasy. The culprits? Outdated management practices based on destructive feedback that isn’t helpful to anyone. But things have changed, and forward-thinking organizations understand that meaningful, growth-oriented feedback benefits everyone. When a company enables its people with the input and support they need to thrive, innovation and engagement flourish — and so does the business.
Managers should share frequent feedback. The most obvious time for feedback is performance reviews; although we see reviews as critical for developing high-performing teams, they don’t happen often enough to be the only source of input. In a culture that values continuous feedback, workers are 3.6 times more likely to strongly agree that it motivates them to do outstanding work.
Why employee feedback is important
Before diving into our 21 employee feedback examples, let’s have a deeper look at the benefits of giving meaningful employee feedback.
Your direct reports want to receive feedback
Research shows that employees want to receive meaningful feedback. This way, people have a better feel for where they can improve and where they’re already excelling. Feedback is fundamental to planning learning and development goals, and it brings coaching and enablement into the manager-report relationship.
Feedback guides people in the right direction
Whether you’re a CEO or a new hire, it’s hard to get an accurate picture of your performance based on your own perspective. Everyone has blind spots and development potential. Feedback clarifies expectations, reveals learning opportunities, and can help people invest in the areas that will boost their career paths and take them where they want to be.
Feedback creates a climate of transparency & trust
When employees know they’ll receive timely (and helpful) feedback when they make a mistake, it’s easier to be on the same page. Meaningful feedback leads to trusting relationships, stronger teams, and a sense of psychological safety at work — all of which makes for a more humane (and potentially high-performing) company culture.
Feedback shows you care about the receiver
It takes time and energy to give someone useful feedback. When delivered appropriately and with care, feedback is a gift. It shows investment in the other person’s progress, rather than a lack of concern for them and their actions.
“Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there.”
― Kim Scott in Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Feedback encourages good performance
When delivered with empathy, employee feedback can boost morale and give people more confidence in their work. When issues are addressed with meaningful feedback, you give people the chance to learn and grow — fueling high employee performance. And when you share positive feedback, you acknowledge impactful work. Praise stimulates the brain’s “rest and digest” nervous system and shows team members that their efforts won’t go unnoticed.
When should I give employee feedback?
Like most things in life, there’s a time and a place for feedback.
Before giving feedback, ask yourself if:
- The person’s actions are having a significant impact on coworkers or the company;
- You’re feeling calm and invested, rather than stressed or antagonistic;
- The employee can hear and take on your feedback (for example, if they’re going through an emotionally vulnerable time because of personal issues, it might be worth it to wait before delivering the feedback);
- You have a firm idea of what you want to say;
- You can give feedback in a quiet, discreet place;
- You have the proper space and time to listen to them and address questions that may arise from the feedback.
You may ask yourself: “What do they mean by significant impact?” If someone is late for a meeting once, it’s not reasonable to take them aside and ask them to work on their time management skills. But if the employee is late for a meeting several times in a row, that could disrupt the meeting’s flow.
Here, it would be reasonable to ask the employee if they’re going through some difficulty or need help with their schedules — perhaps rearranging the meeting’s time or adjusting the workload would help them.
Whenever delivering constructive or critical feedback, explaining the impact of someone’s behavior is crucial. It puts the feedback into context and helps people understand why you’ve raised the subject.
“If someone doesn’t have a clear understanding of what they are doing wrong, how can they be expected to fix it?”
— Jared Narlock, leadership development coach
Types of employee feedback
There are different ways to categorize feedback — e.g., formal vs. informal; manager-to-report vs. peer-to-peer. Here, we’ll also focus on constructive, meaningful, manager-to-report feedback that helps build and coach engaged, high-performing teams.
The recommended types of employee feedback for forward-thinking teams are:
- Reinforcing feedback (or positive feedback)
- Redirecting feedback (or constructive feedback·)
Let’s find out more about each of these — with many examples for each type of employee feedback.
Reinforcing feedback examples (positive feedback)
Also known as positive feedback, reinforcing feedback is more impactful than many think. After all, who hasn’t met (or known of) managers who, no matter what their reports did, weren’t happy and never shared praise? While, to these managers, it may be obvious that a team member did a good job and they’re grateful for it, acknowledging efforts is key to showing appreciation and encouraging employees to keep up the good performance.
Giving feedback that is positive activates the receiver’s parasympathetic nervous system, making them feel relaxed. It makes the person feel more at ease, motivated to continue delivering results (hence the term reinforcing), and receptive to other types of feedback.
Here are some positive employee feedback examples that you can adapt to any situation:
1. Show appreciation for individual performance
You’ve been bringing your A game to work this quarter! Your efforts don’t go unnoticed — they’re very inspiring and impactful.
2. Show appreciation for team performance
I wanted to thank you for the amazing job you all have been doing as we launch this ambitious campaign. It’s been remarkable to see so much progress as a team.
3. Acknowledge efforts/results on a specific project
I appreciate the effort you’ve put into the new feature launch. It’s been a pleasure to see you take ownership of this initiative and drive it forward. We’re delivering even more value to our customers now!
4. Recognize overall performance improvements
I just wanted to acknowledge that I’ve seen such a positive change in your performance since your last performance review. You’re very committed and I appreciate how engaged you are in helping the team find solutions.
5. Appreciate improved skills
I’ve been thrilled to see how much you’ve grown in the data analysis area since our last performance review! Thank you for your effort. How has this learning experience been for you?
6. Thank your report for going the extra mile in challenging times
I know it has been a challenging time at the company, with the changes in our leadership team and the rebrand. I’m impressed to see how you’ve been staying on top of all of your tasks while handling additional requests.
7. Praise someone who is supportive & sets a good example to other colleagues
One of the things I really enjoy about working with you is that you’re always willing to share ideas and support your colleagues! And you don’t just consider the topics you’re working on, but you come up with ideas to help everyone else on the team and improve our processes.
That sets a great example and encourages other team members to be innovative and supportive. Thank you!
8. Acknowledge & encourage contributions to the company culture
I know that bringing up challenging conversations at work isn’t easy — I wanted to commend you on doing that and encourage you to keep it up! You’ve consistently brought up difficult, but much-needed discussions. You help keep us accountable and you greatly contribute to the company culture.
9. Highlight actions you’d like to see more of
I really enjoyed the workshop you presented! It would be great if you could do that more often; I’m not sure if you realize how much your experience, perspective, and insights bring to the table! I learned a lot from your workshop, and I’m sure the entire team feels the same.
Redirecting employee feedback examples (constructive feedback)
Redirecting feedback is input that points to problems or areas for improvement constructively. It’s a better way to approach “negative feedback.” You’ll want to use it in a broad range of situations: from refining processes that are already going well to addressing severe issues and mistakes.
Although the goal is to address issues, redirecting feedback should not resemble outdated practices of delivering negative employee feedback destructively.
Calling people out at work without offering guidance and pointing at solutions is ineffective, harms employee morale, and doesn’t improve performance. Redirecting feedback, on the other hand, is a constructive criticism that has the potential to bring teams closer together and enable your people.
Check out constructive employee feedback examples to help you in any situation:
10. Help your report refine processes
Thanks for building and sending weekly reports to the leadership team — once we refine it a bit, it will be very impactful. Currently, it includes too many metrics, which makes it hard to read. I think we should work with a simplified version for leadership, with these key metrics: X, Y, and Z?
11. Support your report in improving their prioritization skills
I know you have a lot on your plate, and it’s challenging to handle multiple tasks. What would help us move forward would be to hit pause on task X for the time being and focus on delivering Y.
I’d recommend that you always consider the impact of each task and prioritize what’s most impactful before getting started with others. Let me know if a project’s impact is ever unclear or if I can support in defining priorities.
12. Recommend improvements after a presentation
I’d like to give you feedback on your presentation. Would this be a good time?
I appreciate how well-prepared for this presentation you were, your positive attitude, and your effort to keep the rest of the team up to speed on our latest highlights.
What may help you get the point across more clearly next time would be to give a few straightforward examples throughout the presentations. I’d also suggest that you simplify the data-heavy parts. The audience may not deal with this kind of information daily, so it’s best to focus on the key takeaways you’d like them to have in mind.
13. Guide them in finding a better approach to communicating
I’d like to have a chat about how you interacted with your colleagues at yesterday’s meeting. I understand you feel strongly about how the new marketing materials have been handled, but it’s important to come from a place of collaboration and not treat your colleagues like you know best.
We’re all free to disagree, but it’s crucial to be careful about how we share our points of view. Next time, I’d suggest you consider a more collaborative tone, acknowledging the positives and sharing your opinion as a constructive suggestion — not as the only way.
14. Highlight skills that need improvement
Do you have a moment to catch up on our social media channels? You’ve been doing a great job with our new strategy, but we could achieve even better results by stepping up our game with the writing aspect.
There are some well-recommended writing courses that might help — I’ll send you the links. How about you have a look and let me know if you’d be interested in those? I think this would be really important.
15. Get the root of disengagement
I couldn’t help but notice that you haven’t been as engaged and excited about your role lately. Is there anything I could support you with so that you feel better at work? Any processes or topics that we should reevaluate or adjust?
16. Suggest that they work on soft skills
This is difficult for me to say, but I think you’d really benefit from working on soft skills like active listening and teamwork. Your hard skills — like data analysis, reporting, and market research — are outstanding, and polishing those soft skills is what I think could take you to the next level as a professional and team player.
17. Talk over unmet goals
I’d like to have a chat about the results from last quarter. We’ve set ambitious results, but as we’ve only reached X%, this shows us we could improve. We need to get closer to fulfilling these goals to support the company’s overarching objectives. Is there any extra support I can offer to help you reach your goals moving forward?
18. Address failure to meet deadlines
I’ve noticed that you haven’t met your deadlines a few times now. I understand that it can be challenging to juggle multiple tasks. But it’s crucial that you let me know in advance, so we can manage stakeholder expectations, adjust priorities, and reevaluate the workload when needed.
19. Discuss ongoing quality issues
This is not an easy topic, but I’ve noticed that the quality of your work has considerably slipped lately. And I know you have the potential to deliver outstanding results.
It’s really important that you pay more attention to details, as we’re expected to deliver high-quality work. Also, if there’s anything happening that has caused these changes and that I can help you with, I’m always available to talk and see where I can support you.
20. Talk through mistakes
Shall we do a quick debrief on X?
First, I want to acknowledge that we all make mistakes. But it’s essential that we learn from them and that it doesn’t happen again — especially when considering our work on X and how a mistake can impact the company/our customers. Is there anything about this process/task that is unclear to you and that I could help clarify?
21. Call out problematic behavior
This is a hard conversation, but we really need to talk about your behavior during our last team meeting. We don’t tolerate disrespect at the company, and there’s always a way to voice concerns and dissatisfaction without being rude to others.
Tips for giving effective employee feedback
“There is no mastery without feedback.”
— Brené Brown in Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.”
Guide people towards a solution
According to experts from the Center for Creative Leadership, just telling someone how to fix a problem isn’t the way to go: “You’ll foster more learning by asking questions that stimulate reflection and coaching people into exploration and experimentation.”
Describe the situation & the impact
When giving constructive feedback, ensure you’re describing the situation, the impact, and guiding them towards finding a solution. You must also encourage the other person to engage and share their perspective.
When sharing positive feedback, always clarify the situation, the impact, and your gratitude.
Example A: Employee often switches off in meetings (redirecting/constructive feedback)
- Situation [your perspective]: “Whenever I see you in a meeting, you seem to switch off. Sometimes you seem tired or distracted. I’ve also noticed you never ask questions.”
- Impact: “That can make whoever is speaking feel like they’re not being listened to. It can also be a distraction for the other participants.”
- Encourage the other person’s input: “Does that seem like a fair comment to you? How do you feel about our meetings?”
- Pause and listen to the other person: “I find it hard to engage when I don’t feel like my input would be valued.”
- Suggest an approach: “Your input is definitely valued! How about you add some talking points to the meeting next time?”
Example B: Your report completed a long, tedious task — and did a great job (reinforcing/positive feedback)
- Situation [your perspective]: “You’ve worked so hard on transferring our sales data to the new CRM. I know it was a tedious process, and maybe it feels like you’ve been in the background while your colleagues have been working as usual.”
- Impact: “Thanks to you, we can now move forward knowing that all our data is in the right place, and we have a much more accurate overview of our sales pipeline!”
- Gratitude: “It hasn’t gone unnoticed, and I’m really grateful. If you have any ideas for the next project you’d like to work on, just let me know!”
Forget the feedback sandwich
The “feedback sandwich” is a cookie-cutter approach to feedback; it consists of buttering up the receiver with praise before serving them whatever negative feedback you came to give — then returning to a positive note to ease the burn.
Our advice? Nobody wants to eat this sandwich! It’s a notorious method that leaves people waiting anxiously for negative news and makes them cynical about praise (even if you mean it).
Instead, say what you need to say and wrap your session on a forward-facing note. There’s no need to downplay negative behavior or over-inflate praise. Just reiterate what the employee should keep doing and what they should begin doing.
Share negative feedback in private
As a rule of thumb, give constructive feedback privately, with only the person you want to share the input with.
Be respectful, find the right time & be empathetic
Raising one’s voice, making personal remarks, or acting in a passive-aggressive way shouldn’t happen in any workplace.
Also, although constructive feedback must be timely, don’t share it when someone seems stressed, is experiencing personal difficulties, or is in a hurry.
As always, empathy is key. At Leapsome, we exchange feedback to improve work relationships and help one another grow. The goal is to reach the lesson at the heart of feedback; we can overcome the fear of giving and receiving feedback with compassion for one another.
Employee corner: How to give feedback to your manager
Feedback should also travel upwards from reports to their managers. And not just as a principle: research supports that positive and negative feedback are “essential to helping managers enhance their best qualities and address their worst so they can excel at leading.”
But if your company doesn’t have a strong feedback culture yet, giving constructive feedback to your manager probably feels like the last interaction you want to have at work!
So how to give feedback to your manager without feeling like you’re stepping on their toes? By gently asking questions. Asking questions is a more indirect way of calling attention to your boss’ missteps. It suggests there might be another way of going about things.
❌ NO: “I noticed you took the credit for doing my work!”
✅ YES: “Hey, thanks for telling the leadership team about that project! Did you give them my name in case they have questions about the research I did?”
❌ NO: “I noticed you frequently cancel our 1:1s at short notice. Are you not interested in talking to me?”
✅ YES: “Do you think we should schedule our 1:1s at a different time so they don’t interfere with your schedule?
Leapsome helps companies create a feedback culture — making meaningful feedback part of daily work
Giving employee feedback is a way of reinforcing honesty and collaboration between employees and managers. Rather than working under the assumption that everything is as it needs to be, robust feedback culture creates a sense of contact between colleagues.
Employee feedback software — like Leapsome! — helps you build a culture of continuous feedback that drives employee engagement, retention, and morale at the workplace. Our intuitive and easy-to-use platform makes giving and receiving feedback impactful, convenient, and fun.
Share feedback that enables growth & track development
Share meaningful, actionable feedback in your reports’ performance reviews (here are some of the best performance review phrases, performance review templates and some actionable employee review tips for managers). With our features, you can spot areas for development and track improvements.
Give (or request) continuous feedback
Give feedback to any colleague to help them grow and improve their performance. Feedback can be open-ended or based on predefined skills and organizational values. This feedback remains private between the sender and the receiver.
Put gratitude center-stage & build a culture that celebrates success & collaboration
Celebrate wins and show coworkers and reports that you value their work by sending them public praise. A public praise wall reminds teams of their ongoing achievements, showing that feedback can be celebratory and constructive.
Praise can also be integrated with Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Feedback can be so rewarding when done well — let us help you get it right!
Have a chat with our product experts and start building a feedback culture at your company.