Evidence-based expert: Offer constructive criticism during performance evaluations

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 24, 2008

This week's expert, Barbara A. Brunt, MA, MN, RN-BC, lends strategies for giving constructive criticism and feedback during performance evaluations.

Q. What steps should I take to effectively give feedback and constructive criticism when I'm evaluating a staff member's performance?

A. The purpose of constructive criticism is to provide feedback on both strengths and weaknesses. Constructive criticism should motivate, reinforce learning, and identify the nature and extent of problems. Use the following steps when giving feedback:

  • Identify the unacceptable actions. What is the staff member doing or failing to do that is not acceptable? Remember to focus on the employee's behavior, not on his or her personality. Give specific examples.
  • Explain the outcomes. What about the behavior is unacceptable? How does it negatively impact productivity, patient outcomes, and so on?
  • Establish the expectation. What must the employee do to correct unacceptable behavior?
  • Identify the consequences. What will happen if the employee corrects his or her behavior? What will happen if he or she does not?

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