Supportive feedback
Feedback tip #1: Know what your colleagues are aiming for and be there to help them.

As part of a course I’m studying, I have been looking at feedback in clinical education. This means feedback to students and qualified staff in educational institutions, as well as in the workplace.

Surveying students (pre and post-qualification) finds the majority feel they have not had enough feedback, and what they have received has not been particularly appropriate in timing or content.

Educational institutions have set times for marking and feedback to reflect the students’ scheme of work. But when, in practice, can you find time to give feedback that is helpful to staff?

Even if you aren’t a training practice, you could still have newly graduated vets on their professional development phase and qualified nurses undertaking post-qualification studies, as well as supporting support staff improving their skills.

So how do you feed back to improve colleagues within the working day?

  • Make it timely – if you see something good then say so! If it’s more delicate, preserve privacy, but speak sooner rather than later.
  • Feed forward if you can – reflect on what has happened, but offer advice on how to improve in the future.
  • Offer general team feedback regularly – team meetings should include time to inform everybody of successes and improvements to be made.
  • For individual feedback, try to ensure you know what the person is aiming for – be it a qualification, promotion or simply to improve his or her ability in his or her current role.
  • Last but not least, listen to what the person thinks he or she needs feedback on. This should lead your approach to what you need to say.

So, start the year as you mean to go on – know what your colleagues are aiming for and be there to help them.

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