Feedback on employee strengths rather than weaknesses deemed more valuable

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Feedback on employee strengths could have more of an impact on their performance than focussing on their weaknesses, according to co-founder of Act2Manage Robert Dobay

Speaking on day two of the MERIT Summit in Seville, Dobay argued that the way employers give feedback needs refreshing.

"If you correct somebody on their grammar they may not continue to write as they have become disheartened," he said, "However, if you praise their writing ability, they are likely to carry on writing and perhaps even finish their novel.”

Dobay argued that managers usually give feedback when employees do something extraordinarily good or bad and small things don’t make for feedback, but the evidence that this improves performance is lacking.

He added: “It is very hard to monitor how, as a person's mistake is often an outlier and they will return to their average state of work.”

Dobay also described the feedback expectations of different generations, with Millennials and Gen Z (18- to 38-year-olds) in need of feedback even more than other workers because they are more accustomed to social media gratification.

He said: “Why did Facebook not include a ‘dislike’ button on its range of emojis? Perhaps it is attention and not feedback that these generations crave.

“Similarly, Snapchat users receive no feedback at all from using the platform. I do believe our culture surrounding feedback needs another look.

“HR’s job is to strengthen the experience of employees and it should do so by examining the whole picture, and not only half of it.”

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