It’s the sort of question loaded with all sorts of problems and conundrums as to how to answer.
- Should I answer honestly?
- Should I lie?
- Should I develop sudden-onset hearing loss after my early morning swim?!
I want to explore the importance of feedback and how vital it is that we all seek out such valuable insights in to our work or learning, whatever we do.
This is, in part, due to my previous blog on lessons learned which, in turn, has made me much more reflective in both personal and business lives.
Obviously, I seek out feedback as to how I am delivering my HR business support to ensure my clients are receiving a high quality, value for money service which suits their needs and in the way that best suits them. But I feel that feedback is even more important in a Learning and Development setting and therefore, when I’m delivering a workshop, I expect the employer to seek feedback as to the effectiveness of the workshop and how the learning is implemented, because it is a significant investment both in terms of money and time for all delegates. It is equally important that employees feel supported within the workplace and that an interest is placed in the learning and its application.
I would therefore suggest that there are 3 main points about seeking feedback:
- Firstly, giving feedback should form part of the package i.e. it should be an intrinsic part of the learning both from the trainer and employee to the Company and from the employee and the Company to the trainer. Consider what feedback and information can be given by the trainer who will have spent a considerable time with all the delegates and be able to give insights as to any particular difficulties faced, or whether delegates might be able to assist each other with the learning.
- Immediately after the learning, an assessment should be made as to how well the learning has taken place and how it met the expectations of both the client and the delegates. For example, how far did the learning meet the objectives of the session and the goals of each individual delegate? If the learning is part of a series this become even more important;
- A few months after the learning has taken place, the effectiveness of how the new skills are being utilised should be discussed as part of performance management discussions and recorded appropriately e.g. if, for example, the development need had been identified as part of an appraisal / learning & development focus, then this should be reviewed in the same way and discussion take place as to whether the needs have been met;
Much depends on whether the workshop is purely internal to the organisation or whether there is a mixture of delegates.
Personal reflection is also a great way to seek feedback on learning and, more wider performance, and all staff should be encouraged to be reflective particularly after an experience that they might not have encountered before. Line managers have a role to play here to support such reflective time and encourage this through the more regular and informal one-to-one meetings that should be held. Quite often such reflective practice is used as part of an individual’s CPD. If necessary this should be included as an action point and then followed up.
We are all different and being reflective takes practice. It usually needs some quiet time out of the busy schedule to achieve this. Managers in particular should be role models for this.
So go on, give it a go and good luck!