Transform Your Workplace Ep. 05 – How to Give Constructive Feedback

Transform Your Workplace Ep. 05 – How to Give Constructive Feedback

Genuine, constructive feedback is an important part of employee success. When we receive feedback, even if it’s negative, not only does it show us that someone cares, and that that person is paying attention, but it also gives us a chance to be better. When we aren’t told how we’re doing, we can’t identify opportunities for growth. That means positive recognition and constructive criticism are equally important for improving workplace relationships and increasing productivity.

With just a little preparation, you can script genuine feedback that resonates with the recipient and helps you achieve your desired outcome. When you prepare, you’ll go into the conversation feeling confident, and the recipient will ultimately have a better understanding of what’s needed from them. The D.E.S.C. model is a straightforward and simple way to craft feedback that encourages productive conversations. If you’re a supervisor, you can use this model to provide feedback yourself, and you can coach your employees on how to use it in their conversations with their peers, too.

Describe the employee’s behavior/performance using specific examples. When you’re providing criticism, it’s important to be specific. Don’t use this conversation to reprimand the employee for a whole host of issues. If you pile on the complaints, the employee is more likely to feel attacked or bombarded—and is more likely to take the criticism personally and negatively.

Explain the impact of the behavior/performance on you, your coworkers, and the business. While you don’t want to shame the employee, you do want them to understand that their behavior or actions need to change. To express the importance of that change, explain how their current actions affect those around them.

State what you need and your expectations for the employee. Whether you need the employee to stop behaving a certain way or work harder on something, you need to state very clearly what you are asking them to do. Don’t leave any room for assumptions. You both should leave the conversation knowing exactly what you’ve asked of them.

Create an agreement for further action through dialogue. After stating what you need, ask the employee what they need to fulfill this duty. Engaging them in this step and asking for their input shows that you value them and that you understand their side of the problem, too.

Here’s what the D.E.S.C. model can look like in action when used to give constructive feedback:

(Describe behavior) When you came to my desk yesterday and accused me of not being a team player,

(Explain impact) I felt offended and confused.

(State what you need) I can see that you are feeling stressed, and I am willing to help however I can with this client. I need the customer’s information before I can complete this for you. I also need for you to talk with me when you are not feeling supported.

(Create an agreement) What kind of plan can we come up with so we don’t have the same challenges in the future?


Watch Episode 05 of Transform Your Workplace



BONUS: Watch the full role play of Suzi Alligood giving constructive feedback to Brandon Laws.


PS – We can teach your employees how to give constructive feedback, so that employees are having productive conversations and your culture thrives. Check out Xenium’s web coursesin-person workshops, or contact us regarding onsite training for your entire staff.

Suzi Wear

A valued member of Xenium’s Senior Leadership team, Suzi gives clients the guidance they need to be better employers. With over 18 years of experience in human resource management, Suzi has provided her expertise to clients across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, nonprofit, retail and professional services. As VP of People Development and Culture, Suzi oversees Xenium’s training and development programs, regularly leading workshops and seminars for business owners, managers and human resource professionals throughout the Northwest.