Web Extra: Documenting feedback, good or bad


IRW-WrittenAs discussed in Extinguishing Burnout, communication helps managers combat employee burnout, and it can come in various forms. Written communication is often an effective way to get a message across to employees.

Employees cannot break bad habits or form good ones if they don’t know what they’re doing right and wrong. Communication is essential, but it’s not always easy. To improve communication between managers and employees, Matt Heller suggests giving employees feedback through an “I remember when…” form. Heller is owner of Performance Optimist Consulting, a speaker and author of “The Myth of Employee Burnout.”

This form has two options: “I remember when you surprised me by…” or “I remember when you impressed me by…” When filling out the form, select one of these options and describe the event in detail below.

If the employee’s work does not meet company standards, choose the “surprise” option, since an employee not meeting expectations should be a surprise, otherwise the employee shouldn’t have been hired, Heller says. A written description of a mistake lets the employee visualize the mistake, and it can help him take steps toward breaking a bad habit.

The “impressed” option is equally important, Heller says, since recognition is vital to avoiding employee burnout. A written acknowledgment of good work helps an employee who is going above and beyond see the value in what they’re doing. Acknowledgment also will help good habits form, Heller says, and the acknowledged hard work will be repeated.

Finally, written documentation of both positive and negative events makes employee evaluations much more productive. When discussing anything from termination to a raise, written documents give employees concrete examples to lean on.

Photo: Matt Heller

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Dillon Stewart

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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