Employee Engagement

6 ways to use employee feedback to fuel engagement

65% of employees want more feedback at work. When companies invest in employee feedback, they have 14.9% lower turnover rates than organizations that don’t provide it.

That’s not the only benefit, though.

Four out of ten employees who receive little to no feedback are disengaged at work. 

Considering feedback is a way to show we care about someone and their career progress, this statistic doesn’t surprise me. 

Nor does the fact that 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their employer recognized their efforts through feedback.

43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.

All this shows that providing employee feedback can significantly improve engagement. And of course, we all know that comes along with a slew of additional benefits.

So, here are some tips on how to improve your employee feedback and increase employee engagement as a result:

Share positives and negatives

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when giving employee feedback is focusing too much on the negatives.

This risks hurting the recipient’s confidence when all they receive is negative feedback. Plus, it also risks them fixing things that don’t need it.

Sometimes, it’s only one element of a project that needs amending. But if you don’t tell someone that’s the only thing that needs fixing, they may break other areas in an effort to fix the one that was originally broken.

Not only this, but if employees don’t know what you’re looking for, how are they ever going to achieve it? It’s therefore just as important to highlight the things you like as much as the areas for improvement.

Tailor your feedback to their skill level

The more advanced someone is in a skill/career, the more in-depth feedback they can handle.

If someone is new to something, they’ll find too much in-depth feedback complicated, overwhelming, and potentially off-putting. So, you want to balance the feedback with where their skills lie.

That way, you build their confidence and their skills, allowing them to continue to flourish in their role.

Watch your tone

Some employee feedback, particularly when it’s notes on a digital document, can unintentionally come across as aggressive, negative, or passive-aggressive.

I’ve seen many first-time authors get hurt by the tone a professional editor uses when annotating their novel. They interpret their tone to mean the editor hates them/their book. Ultimately though, that’s just how many people give feedback—even those of us who have professional training. After all, we’re taught how to pick things apart, not how to pay a compliment.

Now, imagine if you were in the workplace and you’d sent something to a colleague for them to review. When they wrote back, their feedback had a passive-aggressive tone. 

You may feel like they hate your work, they dislike you, you’re not good enough, etc. It can really impact your feelings of belonging in the workplace.

At least with a freelance editor, a writer can choose not to work with them again. People can’t do that at work.

So, be mindful of your tone.

Consider how you’d feel if you were on the receiving end of that feedback. Would it make you uncomfortable? Afraid? Angry? Hurt?

Or would you feel supported? Appreciated? Challenged to grow your skills?

Keep it simple

Many businesses—particularly older or larger ones—still like to write in business-speak. They favor long, inaccessible sentences that sound like they came from a politician or a 1960s fantasy novel.

If you want engaged employees who feel like they belong, plain English is your friend. More employees will understand what you’re saying, and therefore will be more likely to act on the feedback you give.

They’ll also feel more valued by you because you made the effort to talk to them in an accessible way. They wouldn’t be so receptive if you excluded people by using unnecessarily verbose language.

Save the sandwiches for your lunchbox

I’m sure you’ve heard of a compliment sandwich. It’s where you compliment something, say something negative about it, then provide another compliment. 

The logic is that the recipient will dwell less on the negative feedback because it was in the middle. 

But it’s become increasingly transparent and can come across as disingenuous. This is especially true if there aren’t two positives for you to remark on, so you’re forced to find them. Just be honest and upfront with employee feedback, and watch your tone instead.

Evaluate mistakes—and look ahead

It’s important to evaluate mistakes from an objective point of view. It isn’t an occasion for employees to beat themselves up. Or, for you to berate them and make them feel worse. But you do want to make sure any mistakes don’t happen again.

Once you’ve looked at what went wrong, look ahead: what can you do to stop this from happening again?

This also puts a positive, productive spin on mistakes and helps to prevent employees from ruminating on them.

Focus on their hard work, not the end result

When you praise someone for their hard work, not the outcome, they’re more likely to work hard and keep growing. It encourages a growth mindset. 

This benefits their personal growth as well as your business growth.

It also encourages employees to experiment, seek to develop their skills, and learn from their mistakes instead of hiding them.


Employee feedback is an important tool to help employees grow and keep them engaged in the workplace.

For it to work, you need to tailor your feedback to their skill level and share both positives and negatives.

You don’t want to overwhelm someone with how much feedback you provide. At the same time, you want them to feel like you’re paying attention to what they do. You can do this by offering the feedback and also taking the time to listen to them. That could be in person, on a call, or in written form.

Providing employee feedback is clearly really important, but it also needs to be a two-way street. You should be gathering feedback from employees, too. Workrowd automates the process of collecting employees’ thoughts and opinions, especially when it comes to the programs, groups, and events you offer.

Sound useful for your organization? Send us a note at to learn more, or drop by our site to schedule some time to talk.

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