“Success lies in absorbing negative feedback and making the best use of it” ~ Osama Sarwar
As a supervisor of student employees, an important aspect of your role is to prepare them for their next job. This process includes providing feedback. To aid in this practice, I recommend incorporating feedback from students’ coworkers. In most situations, coworkers can provide more insightful and specific feedback.
Feedback is like a mirror, sometimes we are so focused on the outcome or “treat” that we forget to look in the mirror. Student employees have been trained to focus on the end result, for example, grades. But, peer feedback can provide student employees a chance to look into a 360 mirror. It also provides an opportunity for student employees to critically evaluate and apply this feedback to improve their – professionalism and overall work skills.
However, in order to apply the feedback it is important to follow these steps:
Feedback workshop– All student employees should be given a workshop on feedback. The training should include-
– How to give feedback by asking questions such as: What is appropriate? What is helpful? What were the specifics of the situation? What was the impact? And how can the action be improved?
– How to receive feedback: encouraging student employees to stop the first reaction, think critically, and deconstruct the feedback.
Review the feedback– Before sharing the feedback with your employees, you, as the supervisor, should review all feedback. Items that are vague, lack a critical lens, or irrelevant, should not be included. Depending on if you asked the student employees to include their names on the feedback forms, some feedback may need to be discussed with the provider of the feedback before presenting it to the subject of the feedback.
Share the feedback– Share the feedback with the student employee. Before the session starts, remind the student employee what they learned in the feedback training. After the feedback has been provided, the student employee may ask for your feedback. If you feel it is appropriate, share it. But first, I recommend asking the student employee pointed questions to deconstruct the assessment. These questions may include but are not limited to the following:
– How do you think this feedback relates to your perception of your skills and professionalism?
– How might you address or improve the perceptions of your peers and your work style?
– What do you see as next steps for this feedback?
Follow-up– After the session, it will be important to follow up with the student employee and set specific goals based on the feedback.
Follow-up again– You can’t follow-up too much. Continuous follow-up on these goals and other feedback is important to your growth as the supervisor and the growth of your student employee.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Terri Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracey Walterbusch is a #SADoc and #SAPro working as the Vice President of the Council of Graduate Students at Ohio State University. She completed her Master’s degree at the University of Louisville in Counseling. She enjoys eating her husbands’ cooking, baking, and buying gifts for her lovable Shiba Inu #Howieknows
You can find her on twitter at @walterbusch