Three Essentials of Employee Feedback

Buyer Persona: Small Business Owner

 “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” – George Bernard Shaw

Many small business owners don’t take the time to give regular feedback to employees. Who’s got time? Right? However, according to the Gallup Q12 survey of over 2.7 million workers, having someone at work talk to them about their progress at least every 6 months is a primary measure of employee engagement. 

What does that mean?  People want feedback. 

Additionally, according to the same Gallup 12 survey, another definition of engagement is that, at work,  employee opinions seem to count.


What does that mean? Employees want to give their feedback too.

Here is an easy-to-use, three-part checklist, that will make it simple to provide feedback and ask for the feedback that will motivate and inspire your employees. 


Essential #1

Your Employee should prepare a review of their performance.  They should reflect, in writing, where they have grown, excelled, been challenged or need help. This is also time for them to articulate continuing education or learning opportunities they would like to pursue as well as any other concerns about their employment.

Here are sample questions to spur their thoughts:

In the last 6 months:

  1. What have you contributed?
  2. How have you grown in terms of:
    • Skills
    • Experience 
    • Relationships 
  3. What has been a disappointment?
  4. What are your short-term goals?
  5. What are your long-term goals?
  6. What are your pay and benefit issues?
  7. What commitments are you prepared to make regarding your development in the next six months?
  8. Other Concerns?


Essential #2

As the employer or manager, you should also reflect, in writing, how your employee is excellent,  adequate, challenged or needs improvement. 

Here is an outline of how you can cover all the bases and be prepared to deliver your thoughts.

Name and Date:

  1. Strengths
    • How you are contributing
    • How you have grown
  2. Areas for Improvement
    • Performance opportunities with current job 
    • Benchmarks for advancement 
  3. Job-threatening weaknesses that are jeopardizing your ability to perform your job 
  4. Development Recommendations 
    1. Develop the following skills, relationships or experience: 
  5. Commitments:
  6. My commitment to your training, education, access, or development
  7. My commitment to your increasing compensation

Use a standard worksheet that both of you will sign at the end of the conversation. That way, you are keeping the necessary paper trail should there become any legal issues down the road.  However, in most cases, this should be a feel-good moment!

Essential #3

Follow Up:

It is surprising how people can react to reviews after the fact. So follow up within 48 hours with a brief conversation and ask:


    • What did you learn from your evaluation? 
    • What other thoughts have you had about your evaluation? 


If you have any understanding issues or follow through, create time to explore further with your employee. 


And lastly, create short – 15-minute- intervals monthly or quarterly to discuss and review progress. It can be as easy as asking how their learning, plan, or goals are working for them. 

In closing, employee feedback is essential to creating a culture of openness and trust that keeps your employees happy, engaged and productive. Make sure the feedback is two-sided. Give them a chance to speak about their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Offer them positive and constructive feedback as well as commitment to their development and growth. And lastly, follow up, follow up, follow up. 


If you want help developing company culture at your business,  a consultant with the Idaho SBDC in your region is available to help.  Click here to set up an appointment. 

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz joined the Idaho SBDC in March of 2020, She has been a life-long entrepreneur and business owner. She spent 25 years in the music industry: radio, publishing, producing, retail.

Most notably, Ruth started, built and sold a $10 million, wholesale, music, distribution company. She has owned and operated a leadership training and coaching company, a debt collection company and an Amazon store.

Ruth is a Professionally Certified Business Leadership Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation, an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Conference and is the author of the book, The Key to the Golden Handcuffs: Stop Being a Slave to Your Business. She is certified in over four assessment sciences and the creator of the Fail Proof Hiring Program. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member of the National Speakers’ Association.

Hailing from the Sierra Foothills in Northern California, Ruth taught at the Sierra Commons Business Incubator and became a consultant with the California SBDC before her move to Idaho in 2017.

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