How am I Really Doing?

One of the things that is very important to me as I navigate my professional career in Human Resources is feedback and constructive criticism. I cannot stress enough how important it is for managers and supervisors to communicate with their people frequently. In my opinion, the relationship between a manager and his direct report can be compared to an intimate relationship between a couple.

There are many things that go into a romantic relationship, but two things that are non-negotiable are transparency and communication. Your significant other always expects you to be open and honest with them no matter what the situation. I think that managers owe their employees this same courtesy.

Praising or giving recognition to an employee when he’s doing well is simply not enough. A manager must also have the tough conversations when an employee may be missing the mark in an area. There is nothing worse than having a disconnect on performance between an employee and their manager. Part of the problem is that most companies are not requiring anything additional from managers in regards to feedback and reviews. Companies who place a higher focus on performance management will benefit by changing the culture through feedback and recognition.

Most companies that I have been apart of up to this point follow the typical annual performance review process. However, a manager should be communicating with their subordinates all throughout the year in addition to the formal review. Employees cannot be expected to increase efficiency on a task when the only time they get feedback is at the end of the year.

Companies that implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback (ClearCompany). That’s a very interesting statistic to think about. Managers and supervisors could be saving their companies thousands of dollars in turnover costs simply by giving more consistent feedback. 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week (ClearCompany). This feedback does not have to be a half hour- or hour-long formal meeting either.

Ensuring that your employees are highly engaged is critical to the overall company success. Feedback and recognition are imperative to keeping an employee engaged.

Some may wonder what the difference is between an engaged employee and a not engaged employee. In my experience, an engaged employee is one that is going to give 100% effort and then some daily. This person is going to do everything in their power to ensure the company is successful. Which in turn will make them look good in the process. An employee who is not engaged typically is a person that is doing his daily tasks and waiting on the next paycheck. Granted, this person may not have any issues with their performance, but you will always get the bare minimum needed from this person. Don’t expect them to go the extra mile.

Jonathan Sutherlin is a human resource professional with experience in the engineering and automotive industry. Currently going for his Master’s in Organizational Change Leadership in a hybrid program at Western Michigan University. He is very passionate about reading, philanthropy, basketball, and fitness. You can connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn or through email at When Jonathan is not at work trying to impact lives, you can either catch him in the gym or nose deep in a good book!