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Improving Retention Through Constructive Feedback

By: Joseph Moschetto

When discussing the reasons why employees leave their jobs, one of the most common responses is the lack of positive or constructive feedback. Do you know how to give constructive feedback? 

Providing feedback is an interpersonal skill that every manager must have to develop productive, high-performing employees and teams. Consistent feedback reinforces good behavior and fosters a productive environment. It’s also a major factor in an employee retention strategy.

Unfortunately, not all feedback is positive. In some cases, managers must deliver corrective feedback when employees need to change their behavior. Either way, it is essential that feedback be given. Consistent feedback is a critical component of successful performance management, and it should be used in conjunction with setting performance goals for individuals and teams.

Deliver Constructive Feedback to Build Employee Retention

According to AMA’s Interpersonal Skills for Managers program, feedback is a process that allows both parties to gain pertinent information about performance, ideas, and understandings through the use of questions and verbal and nonverbal messages.

Here are a few strategies for providing constructive feedback:

  • Make feedback timely and specific—time, place, and action.
  • Know your objective: What do you want to accomplish?
  • Direct your feedback at behaviors that the employee can do something about rather than at the person.
  • Determine how the information can be conveyed so that the person receiving it will benefit and improve.
  • Select an appropriate environment for the feedback session.
  • Offer constructive feedback only on actions (said or done) rather than motives (why something was said or done).
  • Use the feedback to share ideas, not to offer advice.
  • Ask questions, in clear and concise language, that will let you know if the other person understands your intended meaning.
  • If you expect change, clearly state your expectations. Offer incentives and commit yourself to share in resolving the situation.
  • Make sure the other person feels the situation has been fully and clearly discussed before ending the conversation.
  • Follow through and formally get back to the person about how he or she is doing.

The Value of Corrective Feedback in Team Development

Effective and timely feedback will motivate employees to work cooperatively toward achieving organizational and team goals. Think back to the days before you became a manager. If you were lucky enough to receive regular corrective feedback, it should have made you feel more engaged and clear on your objectives.

However, if you’re like me, you’ve also worked with ineffective managers who offered little input on employees’ job performance, so you understand the negative impact of the lack of feedback. By providing consistent and constructive feedback to employees, you can develop a high-performing work team and add another layer to your employee retention strategy.


Joseph Moschetto  is a learning solutions manager at American Management Association. He manages client engagement processes and is responsible for AMA’s management and human resources portfolios, Leading in a Diverse and Inclusive Culture course, and AMA’s 5-Day “MBA” Workshop. Moschetto previously worked at JPMorgan Chase, where he held management positions in departments including training and development, collections, and the customer service call center.

AMA is one of the most widely recognized leaders in business training, having provided corporate training solutions for over 95 years. From leadership, communication and managerial training to sales, customer service and analytical skills, AMA has developed a vast array of content and training solutions to help individuals and organizations achieve business results . Each year, AMA delivers thousands of seminars and courses across the United States. With courses offered in a  classroom near you or live online, AMA is a flexible, convenient resource for all of your organization's talent development needs. AMA also offers customized solutions based on your specific talent development requirements.