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Providing Constructive Criticism to Employees with Data Analysis



Providing Constructive Criticism to Employees with Data Analysis

Employees are one of the most valuable assets of any organization and it is vital than ever to keep them engaged and satisfied. The wave of digital transformation is taking over every industry and every vertical inside the businesses and Human Resources (HR) is no exception.

While monitoring the employee performance comes within the scope of HR, when it comes to providing feedback to the employees, most of the time, it becomes a grey area.

No employee is happy to hear that they haven’t performed well or they need to improve in something that they have been doing for quite a long time. During such times, data analysis is a blessing in disguise for the HR to soften the blow and direct the employee towards growth instead of accusing them of inadequacy.

In this article, let’s see how we can get ahead of the issues associated with feedback with data-backed constructive criticism.


Overcoming the Difficulties of Employee Management with Data Analysis

Human Resources is the only department that stays in touch with every other branch of the organization. It is up to HR to recruit talented people, mould them, and make the best use of their skills to help with the company’s growth.

However, amongst the generation of millennials and Gen-Z, the expectation of the employees from the organization is high. They require better prospects, better opportunities to showcase their talent and expect the employer to guide them to learn new skills to perform better at their job. In this trend, the responsibilities of HR start piling up. It is not humanly possible for HR to analyze every single employee in the organization about their capabilities, skills, needs, and expectations to retain and train them.

This is data analysis rises in its importance. Typical data analysis helps the HR to build employee profiles, keep track of their performance, include the pain points, the fulfilment of the skillsets needed for the job, and the most important of all, provide useful feedback to the employees to excel at what they do.


How to Promote a Culture of Growth Rather than Blame?

Let’s face it. The way you put the point ahead has a lot of doing with how the other person takes it. If you keep telling the employee about the lag in the performance without any solid reason to back up, you will be seen as whining and over-fussing, maybe even as someone too picky and complaining.

On the other hand, when you sit down and have a talk with the employee with the data at your hand along with the root cause of the problem and the solutions to manage it, the employee will be more than happy to consider it.


Much Better than the Traditional Way of Close-Eyed Blaming

A traditional method of employee management could cause a lot of strains between the immediate higher authority the employees working under the person. This approach would soon turn into a culture of blame and hand-pointing, wherein no one takes responsibility for the mistakes and it becomes more or less, guesswork to find out the root cause of any issue.

With the data analysis, a lot of these issues can be solved entirely. This inclusion of a data-driven employee management culture will help to cut down a lot of guesswork and unnecessary confrontations when you have proven analysis to back your claims. Without placing the burden on the immediate higher authorities like managers and coordinators, the data analysis could solve a lot of communication problems and let the employees understand the situation.


Better Insights, Better Conversations, Better Feedback

The employee performance records and reports from the data analysis will ultimately be an eye-opener for the employee. It does not only point out the shortcomings of the employees but also highlights their strong points, which is something that can come in handy when addressing the negatives. The employers can appreciate their strong points from the analysis and further provide constructive feedback on how to improve the shortfalls and what actually gave way to it in the first place. Such a positive approach reinforces the employees’ mindsets on the belief they have with the management when every one of them is analyzed and given constructive feedback.

In the current generation, it is challenging to retain talented employees. It requires high investment to identify and nurture the talent, which is only made possible after careful analysis. In times the talks of development of the employees’ skills can be taken offensively when discussed without any materials to support it.

That’s why you require the analysis of the employee performance to have a concrete reason and a straightforward solution that puts the employee on the map and gives them what they need to develop themselves and, thus, help in improving the organization too. This is vividly said in Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, “Only a focus on experiences, new career models, data-driven tools, and L&D offerings will enable companies to develop, retain, and reinvent the right talent at the right time.”


How Can the Managers Monitor the Performance?

For the data analysis to work, there should make a human touch to let it align with the practical goals and responsibilities. Let’s see the typical steps involved between a manager and the respective employees for performance management.


1. Goal Setting

To check the performance of the employees, there should be a reference mark to compare it with. It can be any previous employees’ high records or the specific, achievable goals set by the employees themselves. In the beginning, it is best if the manager sits with each of the employees and help them to set a target within a specific period to achieve it. This will become the scale against which the performance of the employees will be checked.

HR can oversee this session and ensure that the specific procedures are followed.


2. Regular Monitoring and Check-Ins

No goal is complete without a few milestones in between that acts as motivation for the employees. The manager will continuously monitor the performance of each of the employees at regular periods and help them in any way they want to. Further, if the project the employee working is online, then the organization can use software to help the employees to keep track of their progress.

The manager can check-in with the employees a few times in between this period, guide them better, motivate them, and keep them on the path.


3. Additional Responsibilities Based on Capabilities

Sometimes, there are a few employees who may quickly achieve their goals well within their timeframe. It is time for the manager to put these employees to test and check their potential. So these employees can be assigned tasks of great difficulty, which will help them to grow in their organization and take on more responsibilities.


4. Performance Appraisal

Equipped with the data of the employee performance, the manager and any other people involved in the project will give their ratings for the employees. These ratings will be one among the factors in the data analysis but never the only important factor in it. This practice will give every employee a fair chance at appraisals.


5. Feedback Sessions

Based on the goals set by the employees, their performance throughout the entire period, their way of operations, the ability to handle conflicts and troubles, and many other factors can be taken into account in the data analysis. The skills of the employees, their current responsibility, their talent, and ability will be matched against each other. Such an approach will give an idea of the strong suits of employees and the further areas of improvement.


The ideal employee performance analysis should comprise of the following:

  • The best skills the employee possess
  • The skills that were the most valuable for the project
  • The improvement in certain parameters like time management, problem-solving, conflict resolving, etc. than the previous cycles
  • The new skills used by the employee when compared to the earlier times
  • The new skills the employee learnt in the current project
  • The opportunities for development for the employee in the organization
  • The skills needed to grow more and reach their long-term goal
  • Some of the skills that were shortcomings in the current project
  • The shortcomings from the previous time that were rectified and its impact on the current project
  • The behaviour aspects that helped or obstructed the current project
  • The requirements for the next project and the match with the employee’s skillsets
  • The new skills the employee can pick up
  • The training that is easily made available to them

These are some of the main parameters in an employee performance report that will give a holistic view to the employee and help them to take the negative feedback constructively.


What Does It Mean for the Organization?

When we urge to include data analytics as a part of performance management, it means a lot for the company too. Aside from helping the team members to improve their work, data analysis of the employees helps to develop the organization.


Develop Training Programs that Adds Value

The data analysis of a team as a whole will also give insights into the requirements of training in certain aspects that are a collective shortfall among all team members. Thus, the organization can provide better online training and offline training sessions that are much-needed for the employees to work well.


Increase Employee Satisfaction

When the employee is clear about what the organization expects from it and provides them with all the resources they need to satisfy the needs, they strive to do better with full awareness of their role. Motivated employees are just what the organization needs to serve better and drive the organization’s growth.


Minimize HR Workload

As the automated data analysis takes care of a majority of the work involved, the work of the HR is decreased. There will be no need for many staff to manage employee performance as a single software does the complete job with better accuracy. Further, the metrics and reports are concise without any errors, which helps to avoid conflicts and focus on employee performance.


Identify New Talent

You may never know where the real talent is hidden. The data analytics of the employee data over a span may bring surprising results about the employee behaviour and capabilities. Having regular records of employee performance may prove beneficial in the future. It can help the organization to identify the next manager, the next team lead, or even the next officer to head the entire branch.


Evaluating employee performance and giving feedback without hurting the sentiments is crucial for any company. As the data provides no room for doubts, it simplifies the entire approach of providing constructive feedback and encourages the employees to do better every time incrementally instead of bringing out the blame game

Barjunaid Cadir is a Content Writer in The Weekly Trends, Web Developer, SEO Content Manager, LinkedIn Specialist, Social Media Manager, and a University Researcher at Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey.