How to Give Valuable Feedback in the Workplace

As a leader, giving and receiving feedback is essential to any organization for long-term success. Feedback is an integral part of all the communication required in the day-day operations of a business. Its primary goal is to create positive changes in the workplace by giving individuals detailed suggestions to improve their work habits. It specifically focuses on providing feedback that comes from a place of clear and good intentions.

While giving positive feedback is easy, it’s the constructive kind that can be harder to deliver and challenging to hear, not just when performance reviews come around.

Why is constructive feedback important?

Often, employees, especially those new to the workforce, don’t know what they are doing well and what areas could use improvement. Offering constructive feedback accomplishes two critical tasks:

  • It identifies areas for improvement in the employee’s work performance.
  • It provides suggestions and strategies for improvement.


Strategies for giving effective, actionable employee feedback

We’ve compiled some strategies to consider so you can avoid sparking feelings of defensiveness and ensure the recipient knows you are on their team when communicating with coworkers.

Focus on the issue. Fair, constructive criticism should always concentrate on the situation or problem caused by the person rather than focusing on the person’s character. Focus on observations rather than character judgments.

Display empathy. Be sincere with your employee; whether the feedback you’re sharing is positive or constructiveeffective feedback must be earnest. Communicate how you feel if there’s a performance issue, and pay attention to your tone of voice and body language so that the person hears and feels your sincerity. Illustrate that you know they have the skills to improve and that you’re sharing the feedback because you believe in their abilities.

Be clear. Give specific examples, and don’t try to address multiple incidents simultaneously.

Give informal “live” feedback. Ideally, informal feedback should be happening regularly. Employees should have a general understanding of how they perform when they sit down for their performance review. The numbers show that employees find this communication valuable but aren’t getting enough of it.

In a recent survey by PwC, nearly 60% of respondents reported that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis, which increased to 72% for employees under the age of 30. While only 30% of respondents said they receive feedback regularly, more than 75% believe feedback is valuable.

Listen. Give space and time to allow your employee to share their feelings and ideas after giving constructive criticism. It may take them a few minutes to process the feedback and formulate a response or question.

Allow them to ask follow-up questions and ways to contribute to the solution.

Recommend a solution. Once the individual has had a chance to respond, offer specific examples of the next steps they can take to solve the matter. Offer to work on a solution together.

Make it clear that you’re on the same team. This is a vulnerable space to be in with somebody else. If you approach employee feedback as a You+ them vs. the issue, it allows for a more collaborative solution. It provides the psychological safety required to create an open environment and paves the way for real change and a thriving workplace.

How to gracefully lead by example in the workplace

Actions speak louder than words.





How to Write a Job Description to Attract Top Tech Talent

how to write tech job descriptions

As a Tech Talent Acquisition Agency – we understand the importance of having the right people. Over the decades of hiring great talent, we’ve learned that it starts with attracting great talent. A poorly written job description could lead to the wrong hire, which is costly.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings.

The first step to avoiding the wrong hire is to craft an engaging and compelling, inclusive tech job description.

The most promising job description combines some marketing, the reality of the role, necessary skills and competencies, qualifications, and your culture. In addition to your company mission, include any benefits it provides to employees. The goal is to provide enough information for candidates to determine if they’re qualified and entice them to apply.

Just how much weight does the description carry? According to an Indeed survey, 52% of job seekers say the quality of the job description is “very or extremely influential” in their decision to apply.

How To Write an Enticing Tech Job Description

Here’s how to do it:

    1. Job Title

      Utilize industry-standard language and be specific about the role. Avoid internal jargon such as “VI” or weird titles like “DevOps Rockstar” that may confuse or put off the job seeker.

    2. Job Summary

      Keep it engaging and short (one-to-four sentences). It should include a description, primary function, how it contributes to the larger company objectives, and why it’s essential to the company and society.
      For example, try answering the question, “How does this role contribute to making people’s lives better or solve existing business or social problems?” according to a whitepaper from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
      Using invitational language, like, “Come join a creative team of ____ dedicated to_____,” is remarkably effective.Try not to use a one size fits all boilerplate language – for all the openings at your company. Technical professionals often have different job search criteria than their non-technical counterparts use the language they speak.

    3. Responsibilities and Growth Development

      Outline a detailed and concise bulleted list of the core responsibilities. Like most professionals, technologists care about what they will be working on, how their contribution will impact the company and their potential for advancement.
      Avoid detailing every mundane task.

    4. Skills and Qualifications

      Identify the must-have vs. nice-to-have skills. Here’s why: 63% of candidates in a recent survey said they chose not to apply for a job because they felt like they didn’t know the specific tools or skills listed in the job description.
      Try to emphasize any technologies that will be used that are hot in the marketplace and in demand as a skill. Skilled technologists consider their career marketability when choosing jobs and will favor positions where they can learn a new and valuable trick.

    5. Salary and benefits

      “Competitive salary and benefits,” tells candidates nothing. High-level candidates look for opportunities that meet their salary needs and goals. Stand out from the crowd (only 30% of job listings include salary information) by adding a salary band to your job description to help attract top tech talent.

      Almost 1 in 4 job seekers say that compensation is the most important part of a job description. Highlight your top perks and how your overall package may differ from competitors. Hybrid working option, unlimited PTO, catered lunches, tuition reimbursement, dog-friendly office?

Examples of Tech Job Descriptions

Here are some examples to help you get started.

IT System Support

Principal Full Stack Engineer

Senior Data Engineer

Staff Data Scientist

Still, need help crafting a tech job description? Contact an INNOVA People specialist today to start!


How To Be OOO For Real

How To Make The Best of Your OOO Time

Year after year, the evidence shows that Americans who plan for their vacations at the start of the year take more time off to travel and are healthier in many facets of their life.

As the season transitions into spring, it’s a great time to start planning your summer vacation. Now the hard part, how do you unplug from the office while away and not feel guilty for using your PTO?

That means no checking emails, Slack, or firing off a quick message, “before I forget.”

As a leader, it’s essential to model the behavior of being on vacation and OOO (out of office) for your team so they reap the health benefits of taking some time off. Here are some ways to ensure your trip is genuinely personal time.

How To Make The Best of Your OOO Time

Communicate that you’re going away

A week before your departure, send an email to your team or anyone else that you’re in regular communication with stating the dates you’ll be gone. Let them know you’ll review the minutes of missed meetings or watch a recording when you return. Add the dates to a shared office calendar, and don’t forget to update your calendar with your availability so colleagues can’t try and schedule meetings during that time.

If you work in a smaller office, this is a great time to make sure you’re not the only one who knows how to do something. If no one else can approve the invoice, etc., use some time before your trip to train someone on that task.

Set clear expectations

Prepare your team and your boss that you’ll be off the grid and clearly state what that means. “I won’t be checking emails, Slack, and text messages while on vacation. Can I send folks to you if they need help while I’m out, or would you prefer I direct them to (co-worker)?” Then share this with your team, “Reminder that I’ll be on vacation from X through X. I won’t be checking email and will not be available via text or phone. (Boss) said to speak with (co-worker/boss) if you need assistance while I am out.”

Set a clear away message

Don’t use the “I’ll have limited access to email” line. Chances are you will have access to email, and this implies that you might/could/will occasionally be skimming your email, which cancels out the boundary you are trying to create.

Now stick to your plan 

We know you want to do it. Just one little peek. Don’t. Do. It. Turn all your notifications on your phone off that are work-related, so you’re not tempted. If you still don’t trust yourself, delete Slack off your phone. If you’re not quite ready for this yet, designate a co-worker who has permission to reach out if it’s vital.

Having clear expectations ahead of time is critical to making sure your OOO stays that way.


Top Podcasts for the Tech Professional

Yeah, we know it seems like everyone has launched a podcast. Still, according to the numbers, people are tuning in at record levels.

With over 504,000 podcasts available – it can be challenging for the around 104 million podcast listeners to narrow down their choices. To save you from scrolling endlessly here’s a list of podcasts focused on business and technology that we think are worth tuning in.

Master of Scale Masters of Scale is an original podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and Greylock Partners investor. Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion in each episode, testing his theories with legendary leaders. Masters of Scale is the first American media program to commit to gender balance for guests and the 2018 People’s Voice Webby for Best Business Podcast recipient.

This Week in Tech: This Week in Tech (TWiT) is the #1 ranked flagship technology podcast from TWiT.tv. Every Sunday, Leo Laporte and a roundtable of tech experts and journalists discuss current tech news, trends, and niche topics in the tech industry.

TED Radio Hour: Created and hosted by Guy Raz and co-produced with NPR, the TED Radio Hour is a weekly podcast where Raz discusses various topics with top thinkers, scientists, artists, and visionaries. Topics include: “How can we fight burnout with purposeful rest?”, “How can we stay relevant in an increasingly automated workforce?”, “Why rethinking our ideas means we’re growing,” and many more.

The Future of Everything  This weekly Wall Street Journal podcast hosted by Janet Babin offers a comprehensive look at how science and technology affect our daily lives and how developing trends shape our world. Topics include AI, cyber-attacks, mobile payment apps, smart cities, the blockchain, and a zero-carbon future.

How I Built This Another Guy Raz gem – How I Built This dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies. You’ll hear the journey of innovators and entrepreneurs like Andy Puddicombe and Rich Peirson of Headspace, Otis and Elizabeth Chandler of Goodreads, Telfar founders Telfar Clemens and Babak Radboy, and so many more. The podcast airs every Monday and Tuesday.


How to Attract Top Talent as a Startup

Hiring tech-talent – chief technology officers, software engineers, dev-ops, data scientists, and related can be challenging in the current climate, especially when your business is in the early stages or on the small side. But it doesn’t have to be that hard as long as you create a company where people want to work.

Here are some tips from our experienced talent acquisition specialists for attracting (and retaining) tech talent.

Look Beyond Compensation

As an early-stage start-up, you may find it difficult to compete against other start-ups on compensation.

Look beyond compensation when recruiting. Companies are more effective at attracting and keeping talent by creating a work environment where people want to work, grow, develop, and do the things they genuinely love rather than focusing on compensation alone.

Start-up founders need to be prescriptive and intentional, paying attention to their company culture and each employee’s journey, which isn’t easy, especially in today’s world of remote work teams. With clarity on vision and values, a start-up can help candidates make the changes they want to see in the world through their job.

Show off What Makes you Unique

You’re competing for exceptional talent against larger companies with well-known brands and resources as a start-up. To stand out in the crowd, show candidates the unique elements of your team that they won’t find elsewhere.

Ways to do that, showcase what makes you unique, and have some fun with it! Maintain a blog and regularly post on social media about your team, office, company news, events, etc., to humanize yourself to potential future employees.

Your Employees are your Greatest Recruiter 

The blurb on your company site about your work culture and mission doesn’t ultimately define you; the people do. Focus on finding the right fit for your company rather than just accepting the first person who you like during interviews. Evaluate potential candidates for shared values and aligned motivations.

At INNOVA People, by combining an AI platform, cutting-edge HR technology, and a people-first philosophy, we deliver faster, more accurate, and longer tenure employees.

So when a prospective employee meets with some of the talented folks you already have on board, they are more eager to join the team.

Great talent attracts great talent.

Let us know how we can serve you as your build your start-up and search for top talent.



New Trend in Tech = 4 Day Workweek

Ever wonder how the 5-day workweek even came about? In 1908, a New England mill became the first American factory to institute the five-day workweek. The move inspired others to follow suit, and eventually, three decades later, the Fair Labor Standard Act made 2-day weekends official in 1938.

Today, some tech companies are cutting another day. Bolt, an e-commerce startup, made its 4-day workweek permanent after a 3-month trial. The concept was wildly popular with employees; in a companywide survey following the trial, Bolt employees reported a variety of benefits to the new schedule:

  • 84% said they were more productive
  • 86% said they were more efficient with their time
  • 84% saw improvement in their work-life balance

While many have been quick to praise the move as a generous perk for Bolt employees, CEO Ryan Breslow says the move is selfish — citing improved productivity across the board.

He’s also quick to mention that not all companies are suited for the shift. Bolt makes a point to measure worker impact, which will help weed out any decreases in productivity over time.

The concept is not to necessarily take on more work hours but to work more efficiently. During their work hours, employees are laser-focused, Breslow told CNBC.

“A lot of companies operate with a lot of work theater, which is people caring more about the appearance of working than the actual work,” he noted.

“So, you have countless meetings, countless documents, countless presentations,” Breslow said. “It’s impossible to sift through the noise and get to the heart of the matter.”

The San Francisco-based tech unicorn is one of a handful of companies in the U.S. that have moved to the shortened workweek.

When attracting and retaining top talent is a critical priority during the “Great Resignation,” those who have made the transition report a significantly expanded pool of potential recruitment.