One of the hardest tasks agency staffers have is giving feedback to the nannies who apply and work with their agency. You know being honest is the best approach for everyone involved but how do you do that in a way that allows the caregiver to really hear the message, that supports rather than disempowers the nanny, and that lessens the chance the nanny will leave with a negative view of your agency? Here are my top ten tips for rocking the feedback process.
1. Model how to graciously accept feedback.
EXAMPLE: “It’s clear you’ve put a lot of work into your resume and portfolio and I can see how not being accepted as a candidate would be very frustrating to you. Our goal is to make our requirements clear from the beginning so that doesn’t happen. I’ll have our team review our website and application materials with your suggestions for improvement in mind. We genuinely appreciate your input. Hopefully when you have the necessary years of experience, you’ll give us another try.”
2. Admit that giving feedback is difficult for you. Otherwise your body language and tone can suggest there’s something you’re not saying.
EXAMPLE “It’s important that we talk about how the interview went and why they decided to offer the position to another nanny. I have to tell you, these conversations are hard for me. I’d rather talk about all the great things you bring to the table rather than the things you can improve on but both are important.”
3. Detail the positive.
EXAMPLE: “Even though they didn’t go with you in the end, they did say that it was a tough choice. You really impressed them with your commitment to great care, your outgoing personality and just how at ease you were with all the different things going on during the interview.”
4. Take responsibility for anything your agency contributed to the situation.
EXAMPLE “I realize now that we weren’t clear in the beginning about our requirement that temp caregivers must always be reachable by phone or text during their stated available hours. I’m sorry for that.”
5. Frame the feedback around requirements and expectations rather than “wrong” behavior.
EXAMPLE: it’s our policy that if a back-up caregiver is late more than 3 times in a 12 month period, we can no longer work with her.”
6. Acknowledge that you’re giving one perception, not the world’s reality.
EXAMPLE: “The hard part about all of this is everyone has a different take on a situation. In this case, the family believes you’re missing some of the characteristics they’re looking for. That doesn’t mean every family will feel that way. Each family sees things differently.”
7. Allow them a voice and the space to share their reaction and story.
EXAMPLE: “Please tell me what your take is.” or “How do you feel about the situation?”
8. Give them the opportunity to correct course.
EXAMPLE: “I really do believe that with some more infant experience, you can be a top contender for the type of job you’re looking for. I’d suggest working as a temp or babysitting for some new parents and taking some training on the new theories and strategies in infant care.”
9. Let them know what the next step is.
EXAMPLE: “I’d love to be able to represent you. However to do that I need for you to reformat your resume according to the instructions on the website. There’s a submission email address on the same page. Email it to our office through that address. Once we receive it, we’ll review it and get back to you within 3 days.”
10. Follow up.
EXAMPLE: “I wanted to check in with you and follow-up on our conversation from last week.”