Should You Balance Feedback in your Workplace?

Should You Balance Feedback in your Workplace?

If you want to get the best from your employees, research suggests that the ratios of 6:1 and 1:3 could be the key to success.

But what are these numbers and why do they matter?

Delivering praise and criticism is essential for managing teams and employees in any business.  According to research from the University of Michigan Business School, there are ratios of positive and negative feedback that improve and erode productivity.

Charlotte Gallagher of P3 People Management explains, “According to the research, the first number to look at is 6:1.  This is the ratio if you want to get the best from your workers: six positive comments of encouragement to one comment of criticism.”

The study, written in 2004 by Emily Heaphy and Marcial Losada and published in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, investigated team dynamics in business.  They studied different teams to assess how well they worked together with different frequencies of praise and criticism.  The 6:1 ratio was their headline finding.

“If you want the happiest workforce and you want to get the best work from them, more praise and less criticism is the way to go,” continues Charlotte.  “Of course, many managers know this already but there are some who are over critical.”

According to the research, too much criticism can have a detrimental effect on employees.

“This is where the 1:3 ratio comes in.  The study found that the worse-performing teams were given just one positive comment to every three negative ones.  Of course, it depends on how you give your criticism.  Generally, mouthing off at your workers in front of the whole team is a big no-no. If your employees are constantly told they’re doing a bad job, they’ll do a bad job – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” concludes Charlotte

If you would like to learn more about balancing your workplace and maintaining a healthy relationship with your staff, give P3 People Management a call on 0161 941 2426 or visit their website.