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Employee feedback: Leverage this talent retention strategy to boost productivity


Many companies don’t have strong employee evaluation practices in place. As a result, 24% of workers consider leaving a company due to not receiving adequate feedback.[1]

Giving feedback is a quick and easy way to boost your team’s productivity, job satisfaction, and engagement. And it doesn’t have to be intimidating – even negative feedback is an opportunity for improvement when delivered adequately. However, giving effective employee feedback goes beyond just delivering praise or criticism to employees. It is a nuanced skill that shapes the employee experience. 

So, how do you deliver good feedback?

People who provide the best feedback usually have good communication skills, empathy, adaptability, patience, and observational skills.

This guide discusses the importance of feedback, explains how to give employee performance feedback, presents positive and negative employee feedback examples, and explores the benefits of this talent retention strategy for human resources professionals and their organizations.

What is employee feedback?

Employee feedback involves a regular exchange of constructive comments, praises, observations, and tips between managers and employees.

Providing regular and adequate feedback is an excellent employee retention strategy because it is inexpensive, effective, and a great way to build team spirit.

It nurtures employee motivation, individual growth, skills development, job satisfaction, and retention.

Thorough and transparent feedback is part of a general employee retention trend of better communication in the workplace.

There are two types of employee feedback: reinforcing and redirecting feedback.

Reinforcing, or positive feedback, acknowledges and celebrates employee’s desirable behaviors, achievements, and growth, which bolsters their motivation and self-esteem.

Redirecting, or negative or constructive feedback, addresses the areas where an employee’s performance doesn’t meet expectations. This kind of feedback offers constructive criticism and actionable suggestions to guide them toward improvement and better performance.

Why is giving employee feedback important?

Traditionally, giving employee feedback was limited to annual performance reviews. It was more of a sporadic formality rather than the strategic employee retention tool it is today. As workplaces became more dynamic, the need for real-time, constructive feedback became obvious.

This improved communication in the work environment holds key benefits for employers and employees alike.

Employee feedback helps employers with:

  • Better work relationships and stronger teams: Employee feedback cultivates a culture of open communication, creating a better workplace

  • Higher employee motivation: Constructive feedback motivates employees by acknowledging their efforts and contributions

  • Increased employee engagement and productivity: Regular feedback keeps workers engaged, leading to better productivity and overall performance

  • More transparency and stronger company culture: More feedback creates transparency, creating a positive attitude in employees and a more inclusive company culture

  • Better business outcomes: A feedback culture creates a well-informed and motivated workforce, directly contributing to better business outcomes and success

  • Quick problem identification: Timely feedback enables organizations to address issues proactively, preventing involuntary turnover

For employees, feedback can:

  • Support professional development and career growth

  • Recognize and reinforce employee’s strengths, boosting morale and engagement

  • Help everyone feel valued and satisfied through employee recognition

The benefits of giving employee feedback

The benefits of giving employee feedback graphic

Feedback is important for personal, team, and workplace goals. An employee feedback system helps an organization become more agile and successful on the whole. 

Some of its biggest benefits include:

1. Higher productivity

When employees don’t receive feedback, they don’t feel recognized. They’re constantly second-guessing whether they’re doing a good job and don’t know how to improve their performance. 

This leads to many employees losing motivation and facing drops in their productivity. However, feedback can increase employee performance by up to 20% when done correctly.[2]

That’s because employees are more satisfied when they receive feedback, and happy people are 12% more productive on average

2. Increased employee retention

A culture of open communication and regular feedback is vital for continuous improvement. It is a powerful employee retention tool because it reinforces the relationship between employees and their companies, making them feel heard and valued.

Research shows that 68% of employees who receive regular and adequate feedback feel satisfied with their job.[3] As a result, they are more likely to stay with the company.

On the other hand, organizations that don’t provide employee feedback have a 14.9% higher employee turnover rate than the ones that do.[4] 

A lack of feedback leaves employees stumbling in the dark, unsure of the next step they need to take to develop their careers. So, they would rather go to a place that offers clear feedback and guidance for professional growth.

3. Improved performance

Feedback is a powerful tool for self-improvement. It gives employees a chance to see themselves from a different perspective and understand how their actions affect the company.

Effective feedback does two things: It acknowledges positive behavior and offers guidance to correct the negative.

When employees feel heard, they are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best.[5] 

This underlines the crucial role of feedback in supporting motivation and performance.

4. Boosted engagement

Lack of feedback leads to poor employee engagement, and 40% of workers feel actively disengaged when they receive no input from their managers.[6]

When employees receive regular feedback, it signals that their contributions are recognized and valued. It also offers a roadmap for improvement, empowering employees to grow and develop in their roles. When employees see tangible results of their efforts, they become more engaged and committed to their work.

However, not all feedback is the same. 

Gallup’s research shows managers who focus on employees’ strengths see a 60:1 ratio of actively engaged to disengaged employees. In comparison, focusing on weaknesses only creates a 2:1 ratio.[6]

Addressing strengths helps employees realize what they bring to the table and how their talents contribute to the company. This makes them feel like they are a vital part of the team, not just a small cog in the machine.

Giving employee feedback the right way: 12 examples

Providing feedback is more than saying “good job” or pointing out mistakes. It’s a skill that involves delivering necessary information in a manner that motivates and guides the employee toward developing their skills. 

In this section, we cover the 12 performance feedback examples for an employee, offering real-world scenarios and best practices.

6 examples of reinforcing feedback (positive feedback)

Here are some positive employee feedback examples you can use to boost your team morale:


When to use


1. Good work

When an employee consistently produces high-quality work that exceeds expectations, demonstrating a strong work ethic and dedication to their role

“Great job on the outstanding report you delivered yesterday. Your attention to detail and thorough analysis truly impressed the team. Keep up the hard work!”

2. Teamwork

When an employee demonstrates exceptional teamwork skills, plays a vital role in a collaborative project, and helps foster a positive team dynamic

“Great job on the collaboration on our recent team project. I noticed how you communicated effectively, raised concerns, and supported other team members. Thank you for being a great team player!”

3. Personal development

When an employee is actively working on personal development and displays noticeable improvement in skills or abilities

“I’ve noticed the presentations you make have become increasingly better. This has helped other team members better understand the project’s scope and objectives. Great work!”

4. Leadership

When an employee demonstrates exceptional leadership skills, displays organizational values, and positively influences their team

“Your leadership during a recent crisis has been a key to overcoming it. Your ability to stay calm under pressure, make well-informed decisions, and inspire the entire team was truly remarkable.”

5. Soft skill work

When an employee improves soft skills like communication, empathy, or adaptability, contributing to better working relationships

“I’ve noticed the impact your soft skills have had on team morale. Your ability to actively listen, empathize, and provide solutions is highly commendable. Keep up the great work!"

6. Client work

When an employee consistently excels in client interactions, demonstrating a commitment to their needs and satisfaction

“We appreciate the level of service you’ve provided to our clients as a new hire. Your prompt responses, attention to their needs, and unwavering commitment have made a difference.”

6 examples of redirecting feedback (constructive feedback)

Not sure how to give critical feedback to an employee? Here are six constructive employee feedback examples and when to use them:


When to use


1. Good job

Use this feedback to praise a good job in one area while pointing out an opportunity for improvement in another

“Your recent project presentation was well-prepared, and you effectively communicated the key points. Moving forward, consider incorporating more visuals to improve engagement and clarity.”

2. Teamwork

Use this feedback to address teamwork dynamics and suggest improvements

“Your collaboration within the team is commendable. To further strengthen teamwork, try actively seeking diverse opinions during brainstorming sessions to ensure comprehensive problem-solving.”

3. Personal development

Use this feedback to support employee growth by pointing out key areas for personal development

“Your software developing skills are excellent, and you could benefit from improving your project management abilities. Consider taking a course to boost time management and organizational skills.”

4. Leadership

Use this feedback to guide leaders to improve their approach

“Your leadership style creates a positive work environment. You can improve it further by providing more structured feedback to team members, empowering them to take ownership of their tasks.”

5. Soft skill work

Use this feedback to address and improve soft skills

“We are satisfied with your communication skills. You can improve them further by developing active listening skills, ensuring team concerns are fully understood and addressed.”

6. Client work

Use this feedback to guide improvements in customer or client interactions

“Your client work has always been one of your strengths. You can elevate customer satisfaction further by trying to understand their needs even more and personalizing your communication.”

9 best practices for leveraging employee feedback to retain your best performers

Employee feedback is vital for keeping your workforce engaged and happy. 

These nine practices can help you learn how to give employee feedback the right way and retain your best performers.

How to use employee feedback to retain talent: A summary



1. Use talent assessments to measure and track employee development

Use talent assessments to provide a detailed skill breakdown, informing targeted feedback

Create professional development plans for your employees

2. Consider timing

Avoid delivering feedback during rushed or emotionally turbulent times

3. Be prepared and know what your feedback means

Build a clear understanding of feedback objectives to ensure constructive and actionable insights

Tailor feedback on specific behaviors you want to encourage or discourage

4. Ensure your feedback is specific and actionable

Avoid vague statements and focus on providing clear, actionable steps for improvement

5. Provide future-focused feedback

Focus on improving future outcomes rather than criticizing past shortcomings

Encourage positive change by framing feedback to address future goals

6. Commit to continuous feedback

Foster an open and communicative environment, promoting continuous learning and growth.

7. Make feedback a core element of your company culture

Integrate feedback into your company culture using a 360 degree feedback system

8. Be empathetic and solutions-oriented, but don’t sugarcoat 

Show understanding for mistakes

Be direct and honest about problems, creating an atmosphere for collaborative solutions to arise

9. Listen to your employees and be receptive to upward feedback

Create a culture of listening because employees who feel heard are more likely to stay engaged and satisfied

1. Use talent assessments to measure and track employee development

Talent assessments help you create accurate and timely feedback, enabling your employees to grow. Remember, your employees want to learn and progress in their careers, and they can’t do it without your feedback.

So, how do you use talent assessment tests to improve your employee feedback system?

How talent assessments improve employee feedback graphic

First, you can use these tests to get a detailed breakdown of an employee’s skills, which helps you pinpoint their strengths and skills gaps. Use this information to create targeted feedback, helping them identify growth opportunities that align with their goals, organizational standards, and company objectives.

You can also use comparative analysis to see how an employee’s performance ranks within their team or department. This helps contextualize individual skills within the team’s dynamics, enabling you to provide better feedback.

Once you’ve set clear and achievable learning and development goals, you can offer resources and opportunities to help them reach those objectives. Then, you can also use talent assessments to re-evaluate employee’s skills and performance to track their progress.

Hiring the right person to design employee training programs is also vital for organizational growth. 

You can do it using our Training and Development test that helps you find the right experts to create and execute talent development initiatives.

2. Consider timing

The timing of your feedback significantly influences its effectiveness. You need to offer feedback while it’s still fresh and relevant because waiting for weeks or months greatly diminishes its effectiveness. 

Unfortunately, around 32% of employees report having had to wait more than three months to receive feedback, which shows the poor effectiveness of many organizations’ employee feedback systems. 

In addition to being prompt with feedback, you need to ensure it’s the right time for it. That’s why, before offering feedback, you should consider the recipient’s state of mind and context.

For example, you don’t want to give feedback to your employees when they’re rushing out of the door. The truth is, they’re probably already checked out mentally and can’t make the most out of your feedback.

You should also consider employee wellness and their current mood and emotional state. You shouldn’t deliver feedback when an employee is busy with work or dealing with personal problems. Emotional turbulence can impair their ability to process and benefit from these insights.

3. Be prepared and know what your feedback means

Before delivering feedback, it’s crucial to be well-prepared and have a clear understanding of your objectives. 

Ask yourself the following: What is the purpose, and what specific behaviors or actions do you want to encourage or discourage? 

Knowing these answers enables you to provide constructive and actionable feedback.

For example, if an employee did a good job adapting to a new technology despite less-than-ideal conditions, you may want to offer positive feedback on their adaptability, problem-solving, and flexibility. This encourages them to continue developing their skills and mastering new technology.

4. Ensure your feedback is specific and actionable

Your employees get the most benefits out of clear and actionable feedback. That means focusing on specific steps they can take to improve performance. 

For example, you don’t want to say, “Your report was terrible” because this is highly subjective and doesn’t offer any insight into what made it bad or how to improve it. This can only damage your relationship with the employee in question.

Instead, actionable feedback might point out that the reports need a little more work and could benefit from including more visualizations to improve readability and complex data breakdown. You can also suggest expanding explanations and ensuring conclusions are clearly tied to report data.

This actionable feedback outlines specific steps they can take to improve report-making skills.

5. Provide future-focused feedback

Instead of focusing on past shortcomings, your feedback should be aimed at improving future outcomes. This “future-focused” approach recognizes that employees cannot alter the past but can learn from it to shape a more successful future. 

Focusing on the future taps into our psychology and inherent positivity bias. 

It promotes solution-oriented thinking, which reduces defensiveness and encourages continuous learning. Future-focused feedback also supports the right mindset for upskilling and future success.

How do you use future-focused feedback to encourage positive change and growth?

For example, instead of saying, “You didn’t meet your sales quota last month,” you can say, “Moving forward, let’s work on new strategies to help you achieve and exceed your sales goals.”

6. Commit to continuous feedback

In many companies, employees may receive feedback during their initial onboarding or in the first several months, only to be left in the dark later on. 

Semi-annual or annual performance evaluations offer a little light on their impact on the company, but nobody wants to wait that long to see how they’re performing.

Instead, your business can benefit from implementing a continuous employee feedback system where everyone is always in the loop. This sort of frequent and meaningful feedback is the key to staying engaged, according to 84% of employees

As a manager, dedicating time each week to offer feedback or actively listen to what your employees say makes a world of difference. It supports an open and communicative environment where everyone feels valued and understood, ultimately creating a culture of continuous learning, growth, and success.

7. Make feedback a core element of your company culture

Feedback shouldn’t only be a way for your managers to help employees; it should be an integral part of a good company culture

You can do that by embracing a 360 degree feedback system during one-on-one meetings.

Unlike traditional performance reviews, 360 degree feedback focuses on understanding how employees are perceived by their peers, managers, and sometimes customers. That way, employees receive anonymous employee feedback and constructive insights from multiple sources, helping them realize their strengths and areas needing improvement.

Here’s how you can make 360 degree feedback a part of your company culture:

  • Make it regular

  • Keep it separate from performance reviews

  • Focus on relevant skills

  • Distribute employee surveys asking for feedback

  • Combine it with professional development plans

  • Use skills tests to track progress

  • Emphasize training and upskilling opportunities

8. Be empathetic and solutions-oriented, but don’t sugarcoat 

Mistakes are a natural part of the work environment, and being understanding and compassionate during these moments helps build teamwork and mutual respect. It’s important to show employees you want to work together to find solutions, not point fingers.

Empathy is great, but you shouldn’t gloss over issues.

Managers should offer direct and honest feedback about problems but create an atmosphere where they can act as a helping hand in finding solutions.

For example, you may discover that a team in your company missed a project deadline due to poor communication. You can address this with team members, letting them know they need to prioritize open and timely communication to ensure everyone is aware of project timelines and potential challenges.

9. Listen to your employees and be receptive to upward feedback

Feedback goes both ways, and you should listen to what your employees have to say. If you want to maintain a healthy workplace and retain high-performing staff, you need to embrace engagement surveys and employee listening – and be genuinely receptive to their upward feedback.

Upward feedback is a process in which employees provide feedback to those in more senior roles, such as managers, supervisors, or executives. This can significantly improve job satisfaction, engagement, and employee retention rates.

Research finds that companies that listen to their employees are 11 times more likely to have high employee retention levels. So, if you want to keep your workers, listen to them.

To encourage your employees to provide upward feedback, you need to:

  • Ensure that feedback is anonymous

  • Communicate the purpose and importance

  • Explain positive outcomes

  • Recognize contributions

  • Lead by example

  • Foster psychological safety at work

  • Offer various feedback channels 

3 examples of companies succeeding with employee feedback as a talent retention strategy

In this section, we explore three real-life examples of companies that have successfully used employee feedback strategies to retain valuable talent and transform workplace dynamics.

Summary of how companies use employee feedback for talent retention




The company implemented regular check-ins, which helped improve employee engagement and increased talent retention by 30%.


The organization implemented the “Everyday Performance Management” system, which made 70% of employees feel valued, and improved productivity by 40%.


The business implemented a 360 degree feedback platform, which helped employees’ professional development and improved leadership satisfaction.


Adobe ditched annual performance reviews and started using a more informal way of providing feedback through regular check-ins. 

During these ongoing, two-way conversations, employees and managers discuss performance and career growth and exchange real-time feedback.

The company recognized the need for more frequent feedback but left it up to managers and employees to decide how often they wanted to perform check-ins. The feedback conversations typically cover what works, what can be improved, and what the future focus should be. So, employees received negative and positive feedback.

As a result, regular check-ins significantly increased employee engagement and improved talent retention by 30%.[7]


Cargill, a Minneapolis-based food producer and distributor, needed to engage and motivate more than 160,000 workers globally.

So, it ditched its annual review system and implemented the “Everyday Performance Management” system, which incorporated daily encouragement, feedback, and motivation between managers and employees.

This system improved communication, ensuring employees and managers were always on the same page. This approach also helped catch problems before they escalated, which significantly increased job satisfaction and productivity.

The results showed that 70% of Cargill’s employees felt valued thanks to the continuous performance discussions. In addition, performance improved by 40%, which helped the organization exceed its targets.[8]


Philips is a large multinational conglomerate with more than 75,000 employees worldwide. One of the most challenging goals the company’s leadership faces is how to motivate workers and support their development to align with the company’s goals.

To help solve this challenge, Philips created a 360 degree feedback digital platform that empowered managers and employees to communicate more effectively. 

This made giving and receiving employee and upward feedback a lot easier, helping employees realize their strengths and areas for capability building.

The platform identifies common feedback themes and displays key findings in a visual, user-friendly format. These dashboards have made feedback more actionable, enabling employees to take more concrete steps toward career development. 

This innovative 360 degree feedback platform significantly reduced the company’s employee attrition rates.

Help your team grow with employee feedback

Your employees are looking to develop new skills and progress in their careers, and employee feedback is one of the most direct ways to help with that.

Employee feedback is a valuable tool that helps retain talent, improves engagement and productivity, promotes teamwork, and creates a strong company culture.

For best effects, your feedback needs to be timely, clear, actionable, and future-centered. You can use skill assessments to measure employee performance and development to provide the most accurate feedback.

If you want to be even more proactive and learn other methods for supporting your employees, read our article on employee coaching.


1. “Yoh Survey: Lack of Respect, Broken Promises, and Overworking Employees Are Top Issues with Managers That Would Make Employed Americans Consider New Jobs”. (October 25, 2018). Yoh. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/10/25/1627089/0/en/Yoh-Survey-Lack-of-Respect-Broken-Promises-and-Overworking-Employees-Are-Top-Issues-with-Managers-That-Would-Make-Employed-Americans-Consider-New-Jobs.html 

2. Warrilow, Garett. (Spring 2017). “The Effects of Feedback on Modality and Performance”. Western Michigan University. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1946&context=masters_theses 

3. “Over 30% of Millennials Unhappy with Their Job and Plan to Quit Within Six Months”. (December 7, 2016). Clutch. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://clutch.co/press-releases/millennials-unhappy-plan-to-quit-6-months 

4. Asplund, Jim; Blacksmith, Nikki. (May 3, 2011). "The Secret of Higher Performance". Gallup. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/147383/secret-higher-performance.aspx 

5. “The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business”. (2017). Salesforce. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://www.salesforce.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/assets/pdf/datasheets/salesforce-research-2017-workplace-equality-and-values-report.pdf 

6. Brim, Brian; Asplund, Jim. (November 12, 2009). "Driving Engagement by Focusing on Strengths". Gallup. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/124214/driving-engagement-focusing-strengths.aspx 

7. Zakari, Murtala. (July 20, 2017). “New Performance Measurement Trends: Evidence from Selected Multinational Corporations”. Journal of World Economic Research. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/article/10.11648.j.jwer.20170604.12 

8. Maier, Steffen. (January 7, 2018). “What Google, Adobe, and Cargill Changed About Their Performance Management Strategies”. HR Daily Advisor. Retrieved November 17, 2023. https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2017/11/03/google-adobe-cargill-changed-performance-management-strategies/


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