Feedback Skills for Employers Doing In-House Education

Can you remember a time when you were asked to present something before your peers? Can you remember being assessed on that presentation? How did that assessment leave you feeling afterwards?

Feedback is a critical tool at all educational levels. With in-house education, it can be critical in engaging and developing employees. When teaching, coaching and training in any capacity, it is critical that we make that feedback as positive an experience as possible for the trainee/student.

Feedback can be delivered by verbal, written and gestural means and its effect cannot be underestimated. The goal of feedback should be to build upon existing skills and competencies and to empower the student or trainee with confidence that they can in fact do what you are teaching them to do. Negative feedback can leave trainees with a bad sense of where they sit in the organisation and can lead to disengagement. Good educators find the right keys to have trainees feeling good about themselves and eager to improve.

Below are listed some ideas to help you provide the right feedback for your in-house students.

  • Feedback should be educative in nature. Feedback should be a conversation about what the trainee/student is doing correctly and incorrectly. While the focus should be on what the learner is doing correctly, there should be some conversation about what needs improvement. The feedback ‘sandwich’ of compliment, correction, compliment comes into play here.
  • Timely feedback is best. Immediate feedback creates a positive experience that helps the learner remember the experience. If you wait too long, the opportunity for maximum impact is lost.
  • Be sensitive to individual needs. Everybody is different – some people need to be given a ‘hurry up’ to achieve at a higher level, while others need to be treated with kid gloves so that their self-esteem remains intact.
  • Ask these four Questions. All employees want to know where they stand. Addressing these four questions will help you help them, when providing feedback.
    • What can the employee do?
    • What can’t the employee do?
    • How does the employee’s skill compare to that of others?
    • How can the employee do better?
  • Feedback should focus on a specific skill.
  • Mind your body language. Feedback can be given verbally or non-verbally. Facial expressions and gestures in some cases can provide devastating feedback. Frowning is not a good strategy.
  • Give genuine praise. While it’s easy to say the words “good job” or “well done”, the words themselves mean nothing unless you genuinely mean it. When praise is earned, be prepared to give it publicly. Don’t devalue it by constantly praising acceptable work. Your students recognise real praise when it’s given and will accept it for what it is.
  • “I noticed…” This habit goes hand in hand with praise; take the time to acknowledge people’s efforts to rectify faults, change behaviours or to have a go. “I noticed in the role play you were using the language we have been talking about.” “I notice you were using that new technique I demonstrated.” Acknowledgement of effort will help positively impact on your people’s continued engagement.

Lastly, be prepared to receive feedback from your trainees. Learning is a two way street. Demonstrating your preparedness to accept feedback will keep those lines of communication open.

The CFS Team
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