Building your small business doesn’t just require a lot of hard work and dedication – in most cases, for a small business to scale beyond a certain point, it requires assembling a team or staff that are vested in the success of your enterprise. And the only way to keep a good team operating smoothly is to set up a system of feedback that works well for everyone involved – both you, as the supervisor, and your staff.
So how do you do it? Well, there are some simple steps to getting your feedback system off the ground.
1. Set Expectations Up Front
From the moment you hire your first employee, it’s important that you establish clear expectations on what feedback will be delivered and when. Now, that’s not to say that this system can’t evolve organically over time, and you can even make major overhauls if necessary. But establishing that feedback will be given at regular intervals is an important way of telling your employees that you care about their success as a part of your business.
2. Generalize in Groups
One good way to provide feedback to a group of employees is to generalize – in terms of questions and critiques. Letting the team know when they’re falling behind is important, but singling out individuals can just create animosity. Similarly, asking general questions of the group can help get them thinking about their work in terms of the team’s performance – things like “How do you all feel this week went?” or “What challenges do you think the team is facing right now?” can lead to thoughtful responses and forward progression.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Specific
At the same time, it’s incredibly important to address specific issues with individual employees – positive or negative. If a particularly employee is doing excellent work, or falling behind, it’s critical to address either as soon as possible. After all, reinforcing a job well done is just as essential as correcting flawed work or poor time management. And as to the setting, there is an old business mantra – “Praise in public, criticize in private.” Following this advice will help you avoid tense situations between yourself and your employees.
4. Have Regular Debriefs
After every project or periodic interval, you should have a debrief meeting with your team. Taking the time to ask everyone for their feedback on how work has been going is important. That said, it’s also important to keep this time focused on the business at hand – not allowing it to become a general chatting session between yourself and your employees. That part comes into play when you…
5. Build Trust & Morale
The only way you’re ever going to have that experienced, low-turnover, well-oiled machine of a team is if you spend time building trust and employee morale. Regular praise and congratulations can go a long way toward boosting the atmosphere in the office, but sometimes it’s important to let the team know you appreciate their hard work as a group. Anything from an office happy hour to an extra day off or a small bonus can go a long way toward keeping your employees grateful, happy, and committed to making your business work. And doing so will mean that they’ll trust you more and be giving you more honest feedback, which will keep things running smoothly all around.