Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is an essential part of training. Follow these rules so that learners are clear about their standard of performance and motivated to raise it where possible.

Focus on the job not the person

Convey the message that it is a piece of work you want to discuss with them and not their personal qualities. Use good listening skills and statements such as:

“"This… did not work very well, let’s find out why”"

"“This … seems to have gone very well, let’s go over the good parts”"

Instead of:

“"You aren’t very good at .. “"

“"You are doing fine .. “"

Focusing on the job also ensures that specific points can be made relating to both good and not so good performance.

Concentrate on the good at least as much as the bad

Firstly, you want to reinforce the good things so that they are repeated. If learners do not know what they are doing well, those aspects may drop out of future performance.

Secondly, It will be easier to accept any negative comments if they are preceded by positive comments. Remember that giving feedback should motivate, not upset, learners.

Finally, praise from you is a reward. In many jobs, praise is a key source of motivation.

Go into detail about good and bad points

Learners need to know why something is good or bad. To give an example of throwing a dart, they need more feedback than “you have missed the target”. For example, they need to know that the dart is to the left of target, and if possible, what it is about the way they throw it that makes this happen.

Remember that there may be external factors at work. Poor performance may be in part due to faulty equipment or badly designed procedures. It is important to look at the wider system within which the learner is operating.

Ensure rapid feedback

The more quickly performance is followed by detailed feedback, the more effective that feedback is in influencing future performance.

You can find yourself in a positive feedback loop: giving praise encourages the employee to create more situations for you to give further praise!

Arrange semi-formal feedback sessions

The importance of feedback in the workplace cannot be over-estimated - it is a key source of employee motivation. Informal feedback can be given on the spot. However, it is also useful to give semi-formal feedback on a weekly or monthly basis. Creating a specific occasion to talk about progress and performance - and giving the learner a chance to prepare - can have many benefits.

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