Employee Feedback Critical to Success

Providing comprehensive job feedback to employees allows them to produce
the desired results and understand how important their roles are to the overall
success of the company.

  Dennis E. Clark
  Dennis E. Clark

Dennis E. Clark, CPO, president of the Orthotic and Prosthetic Group of
America, said that a critical part of this process takes place on the
employee’s first day. Employers should outline their expectations so that
new hires have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and
the ways in which these intertwine with the roles and responsibilities of their

One way to ensure success on this path is to set up specific goals and
arrange a number of meetings to check progress and applaud major

“Without that kind of a road map, it’s hard to tell them when
they’re on target and when they’re off target,” Clark said.

Once the foundation has been laid, the owner or hiring manager can
highlight specific examples of those goals and responsibilities when providing
employees with feedback about their progress. After that point, employers are
in a position to have a respective dialogue with them about how they’re
doing in terms of meeting and exceeding of goals.

All such dialogue must begin by recognizing their strengths, Clark said.
First highlight their abilities — the qualities that led to them being
hired in the first place, and their capacity to both meet and exceed the goals
set for them — and then discuss areas for improvement.

Part of any conversation involving pointing out employees’
weaknesses should be centered on the importance of strengthening those areas
and the smaller steps necessary to correct the problem, as well as how their
progress affects the quality standards surrounding the whole company.

“You never have a discussion with a person on your staff about
their shortcomings without offering some solutions to get them back on
track,” Clark told O&P Business News. “To just tell
somebody they’re not getting the job done or they’re not doing this
as well as I wanted them to without giving them concrete examples just
doesn’t work.”

In addition, employers should be careful not to compare employees when
offering feedback. Instead, they should evaluate employees based on the
company’s values, and whether or not they rise to meet those standards.

Another key component to offering feedback is addressing issues as soon
as they occur. If an employee steps out of line, all of the other employees
know about it, Clark said. If they see that management does nothing to correct
the situation, their confidence in management’s authority begins to erode.

This type of consistency is key in providing feedback — positive
and negative. By nature, people want structure and, in a constantly changing
business environment, employees need to rely on the management for unwavering

“It’s a simple fact: if you’re not growing, you’re
dying. And growth means change,” he said “If your staff is so
helter-skelter and unmanaged that you can’t implement change, then
you’ve got a problem.”

The solution lies in the mirror, he said. — by Stephanie Z.


Dennis Clark is right on target. I concur completely and employ many of
the same principles. Another aspect of employee feedback, which occurs daily in
the normal course of business is personal communication. I like to use the
“walk around” management style. I make it a point to walk around and
interact daily with most of our 70-plus employees. When I observe an employee
functioning less than optimally I will suggest, as Dennis describes so nicely,
that they might modify their activities to achieve the needed outcome or to
support the companies goals more completely in a way that supports and builds
confidence, not discouragement. This also this gives the employees an
opportunity to interact with you, and by doing so, creates a feeling of
inclusion and importance that is necessary to everyone.

Without effective communication — both ways — any organization
will ultimately fail. No matter how large the corporation, the culture must
encourage managers at every level to interact in a positive way with their
subordinates in order to foster the goals and objectives of the company.
Whether a three-person facility or a company with 100 employees and multiple
locations, communication and positive employee feedback are imperative to

— Tom DiBello, CO, FAAOP
Owner, Dynamic
Orthotics & Prosthetics

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