Property Executive Leadership: Giving Employee Feedback - Property Vista

September 26, 2012

Property Leaders: Giving Employee Feedback

Giving employee feedback is a powerful tool for shaping behaviours and helping to develop your employees’ personal impact on the job. However, it’s vital that feedback be delivered properly. Just as good feedback can yield great gains, bad (or poorly delivered) feedback can lead to setbacks and even increased costs if it doesn’t achieve the results you’re looking for.

Most property executives, managers and employees would agree that feedback sessions and difficult conversations are worrisome. But that doesn’t mean they have to be.

Giving Effective Employee Feedback

  1. Establish a relationship of trust with your employees. You can do this by being open, honest and direct. With this dynamic in place, it’s much easier to navigate feedback sessions and get positive results.
  2. Set clear KPIs for your property managers and assistants. Having proper data can set expectations that are measurable. When your staff members understand the expected vacancy percentage, number of emergency repairs completed on time, or rent arrears over X days, they can then work toward achieving the desired outcomes. (See ViewVista to find out how your company can get reliable data.)
  3. Frame your feedback based on strategic business outcomes. This enables you to focus on facts and business objectives rather than getting distracted by your opinions or by side issues. Not only is this approach more productive, but it keeps feedback sessions constructive and professional instead of personal.
  4. Hold frequent (rather than annual) feedback sessions and provide feedback on an ad hoc basis. You should also ask your employees how they prefer to get feedback (i.e., phone vs. email vs. in person). This serves to make the sessions less intimidating and more convenient, for both you and your employees.
  5. Involve your employees in the process by asking questions. (E.g., How do you see the situation? What could be done differently? What was useful about this feedback?) In doing so, you’re letting your employee know that their opinion matters and that you value their input.
  6. Offer feedback about specific performances shortly after the task, but not immediately after. As CBS reports, a study by Todd Thornock, an accounting professor at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, found that giving people feedback after a “short delay” improved performance more than offering up the same feedback immediately – or long after the task was performed.  The study suggests that immediate feedback prevents people from learning from their own mistakes, while greatly delayed feedback comes too long after the task to be properly applied. The best approach is to give your employee a short period of time to reflect on their efforts, and to then offer constructive feedback while the task is still fresh in their mind.
  7. Clearly define tasks and distinguish feedback from instructions. If you have a request for an employee, don’t present it as feedback and hope that they’ll pick up on the subtext. Instead, find a direct – and polite – way of telling them what you want done.

Giving employee feedback is essential to proper business management. When done correctly, it not only improves operations, but leads to healthier, stronger interpersonal relationships. This creates a work environment where people are more likely to contribute, to learn from their mistakes and to grow together as a team.

Property management teams are customer-focused, by their very nature. Building team relations helps move teams from a “me” to “we” mind-set, encouraging productivity and better customer service.

If you are looking for a customer-centric property management solution for building better tenant relations and running your building more efficiently, check out PropertyVista’s suite of property management products.

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Jack Beaton Sterling Karamar, Property Management
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