Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and many people working from home, giving constructive feedback and managing staff remotely has become a challenge for many small businesses.
Here are a few tips to help you continue to give appropriate constructive feedback when your staff are working from home in difficult conditions:

Communicate face-to-face.

Never send a text and try to avoid emailing to relay your feedback as this can be easily misinterpreted, and its importance diminished. You don’t get to see the visual cues of how someone reacts, and neither do you have the option of discussing the problem.
Ask your employee if you can have a quick informal chat over a video call, which is the next best thing to actually being face to face.

Ensure your performance review is balanced.

If you go into a meeting and all you hear are “constructive areas to improve” then you may feel disappointed and have the impression you might not be doing anything well. Start with what the employee is doing well and the areas they are performing at or above expectations before moving onto development areas. This will make for a more balanced and open conversation with the employee. It helps in ensuring they are motivated and are on board with areas to improve.

Listen to the employee feedback and ideas on how to address issues.

Ask the employee for their solutions and opinion and make sure you listen to what they have to say. When you have agreed on a course of action, ask your employee to tell you what the plan is to make sure they’ve understood.
You can then follow the meeting up with an email, or ask them to email you with the action points so you have written evidence of your conversation.

Pick the right time.

Feedback is best when it isn’t coloured by emotion, so make sure you’ve “cooled off” before speaking to an employee about something negative to ensure your comments remain objective.
It’s also important to make sure to issue the feedback in a timely manner, so the situation is still fresh in both your minds.

Focus on the specific problem, not the individual.

When providing any feedback to any of your employees, focus on impartial observations and outcomes rather than the individual’s attributes as this could be portrayed as a personal attack, resulting in them being unmotivated to address the problem. Use objective examples of where performance drove subpar outcomes and ask the employee to give feedback on the situation.

If you would like more information on this or any other HR topic please contact Optima HR for your FREE 30-minute HR consultation.