A Guide To Delivering Constructive Criticism In The Office

A Guide To Delivering Constructive Criticism In The Office

Key Takeaways:

  1. It is necessary to provide critical feedback to employees for businesses to be sustainable.
  2. Constructive criticism is the best way of providing essential feedback, but delivering it takes work.
  3. Strategies should be considered when delivering constructive criticism, such as remaining positive and specific with examples.
  4. Avoid these five things while giving constructive feedback: using shameful language, jumping to conclusions without listening first, and not providing follow-up or support after the conversation has ended. 
  5. With these tips in mind, employers can create an atmosphere of growth and improvement within their workplace by focusing on positive outcomes when offering constructive feedback.

Nobody likes to be criticized, especially on how they work! But to keep business sustainable, it’s necessary to provide critical feedback to employees so that they can understand their strengths and weaknesses. Avoiding it could result in employees feeling unappreciated. It’s a significant factor in high employee turnover. Surveys report that 66% of employees leave their workplace due to a lack of appreciation. Constructive criticism is the best means of providing essential feedback to employees.

It is integral to helping any team reach its potential, but delivering it can be challenging. We all know the feeling: having to point out what needs improvement without crushing anyone’s spirit or causing conflict can be a delicate balance. Whether you’re an employer, HR manager, or business owner, learning how to criticize your employees constructively is essential for success and maintaining employee relationships.

That’s why Mitsuoka and Companyhas put together this guide on delivering constructive criticism in the office.

11 Strategies to Consider for Delivering Constructive Criticism

1. Avoid Surprises

When providing constructive feedback, give people advance notice and tell them what to expect. It gives employees time to think about their performance and prepare for the conversation. Schedule a meeting beforehand and notify the employee regarding what it’s for and when.

2. Remain Positive

Criticizing an employee’s work can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to mean that you need to be overly pessimistic. Focus on strengths and weaknesses, and show appreciation for the effort. Employees are more motivated to work when they know their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. It can help turn mistakes into opportunities for improvement, so try to maintain a positive attitude during the conversation.

3. Be Specific

Constructive feedback should be about more than just a “bad” result or lack of progress; it should focus on specifics. Don’t simply tell an employee they need to do more – explain exactly what needs work and why it is essential that they fix it. Ensure employees know what areas to improve and provide detailed feedback on how they can do that.

4. Offer Solutions

It’s not enough to point out flaws without providing solutions to help an employee move forward. Give specific advice and suggest ways to improve their performance, such as coaching or additional training programs. Although you offer them solutions, be sure you don’t micromanage, as it will only make them feel more overwhelmed and less likely to improve.

5. Provide Regular, Actionable Feedback

Constructive feedback should never be a one-time event – it must be part of a performance management process. Schedule periodic check-in meetings to provide feedback so employees can actively work on improving their skills. It will also help build trust between you and the employee, which is essential in any good working relationship.

6. Don’t Make It Personal

Remember, you’re trying to strengthen the company’s relationship with employees, so don’t criticize their personality or character. Focus on their work and provide concrete examples of where they can improve. This way, they won’t feel attacked and will be more willing to accept your feedback.

7. Be Understanding & Respectful

Mutual respect is essential in any relationship. Acknowledge that mistakes were made and empathize with how difficult it can be to hear criticism. Showing compassion will help employees feel appreciated, not judged or criticized for their work. Plus, it’ll encourage them to take ownership of their mistakes, learn from them, and become better employees in the future.

8. Don’t Tell Only; Listen as Well

Listening to employees is an essential part of offering constructive feedback. Invite your employee’s opinions and feedback. This way, you can have a two-way conversation and create an open space for dialogue rather than one-sided criticism.

9. Make it Private

Constructive criticism should come in private, not in public. Make sure your employee knows where you stand on the issue and that there is nothing personal about it. This way, they can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts without fear of judgment or ridicule from peers.

10. Ask How You Can Help

As a manager, supervisor, or HR representative, it’s important to remember that offering constructive feedback isn’t just about pointing out flaws and weaknesses. It’s also about helping employees grow and develop professionally. After you’ve discussed what needs to be improved, ask them how you can help them achieve their goals. By taking this approach, you’ll demonstrate that you’re invested in their success and that you genuinely care about their development as an individual.

11. End on a Positive Note

Finally, end the conversation positively by highlighting what was done right. It will help soften the blow of feedback and make it easier for your employees to understand what you’re saying. Be sure to take the time to thank them for taking on feedback and remind them that their opinions are valued.

5 Things to Avoid While Delivering Criticism

Apart from following the above tips, here are five things you should avoid when delivering constructive criticism:

1. Using Shameful Language

Avoid using words that may make your employees feel ashamed of their work or cause them to become defensive. Instead, focus on offering solutions and emphasizing that these changes will help them improve and grow as an individual.

2. Jumping to Conclusions

When providing feedback, listen first and speak later. You want to avoid jumping to conclusions without hearing what the employee has to say.

3. Not Being Specific Enough

Provide specific examples that illustrate precisely why something needs to be changed or improved instead of being vague or generalizing the issue.

4. Being Too Focused On The End Result

It’s good to have an end goal in mind. Still, it’s also essential to provide actionable steps to help the employee achieve that desired result.

5. Not Providing Follow-Up or Support

When providing constructive feedback, make sure you are available afterward to answer any questions and provide helpful guidance as they work on making improvements. With this follow-up and support, employees may feel confident and confident in their ability to move forward with their growth.

Related: Mental Health And Recruitment: Some Factors To Consider


Delivering constructive criticism in the office is always challenging. But with the right strategies, you can ensure that employees feel appreciated and supported while gaining valuable insight into their performance. Be mindful of your approach and always focus on having a positive outcome in mind. With this softer guide to delivering constructive feedback, you can create an atmosphere of growth and improvement within your workplace.


Get Effective Training For Recruitment Practices in Minneapolis, MN

Do you need help with employee recruitment and management? Mitsuoka and company is a Minneapolis, MN-based consultancy providing custom-tailored training and recruitment solutions to help you properly recruit, manage and retain employees. Put our expertise to work for you today! Contact us and get assistance with hiring.


Download Our Free E-Book!
5 Worrisome Challenges Faced by Modern Recruiters!