How to ask for feedback at work?

Feedback is crucial to social work practice; it promotes personal and professional growth by helping you identify what aspects of your practice you need to work on. Keep reading to see more reasons why feedback is important, how to ask for it, who to ask for it and what to do after receiving it.



Importance of feedback

  • Keeps you on track by allowing you to stay focused, avoid errors and miscommunication
  • Allows you to learn how to respond to and analyse constructive criticism, which results in learning and/or developing your interpersonal skills
  • Can motivate you into achieving your goals and growing your career by understanding what you need to do to get promoted, transition into a new preferred role etc
  • Helps to create a friendly and open environment with a good flow of communication
  • Allows you to regularly review your progress and positively shape your approach
  • The changes you make because of receiving feedback will improve the support you provide
  • Promotes honesty and trust, leading to better relationships


How to ask for feedback?

Asking for feedback can be daunting for some people due to the fear of not being good enough or not liking what someone says about you. Another big reason why many people do not ask for feedback is because of the assumption that it always must be received in a formal situation or environment. Remember that feedback can be asked for informally and spontaneously. See some examples below of how and when you could ask for feedback:


  • After a meeting or visit with a service user, you can request feedback via a feedback form, phone call or email. Do this as soon as possible so that everything is still fresh in people’s minds, and they can give you the most accurate feedback.
  • During a meeting or assessment session, you could ask for feedback now by pausing and reflecting on things as they are being talked about.
  • Most of the time, you should have frequent one-to-one meetings with your manager, and use this time to ask them for feedback. If not, email your manager to arrange a chat or request feedback from them.
  • The colleagues who you interact with frequently will most likely have important and effective feedback to give you. As you already have a relationship with them it will be easier to ask for feedback and can just be in the form of an informal chat at the desk or over zoom.


Remember if you do not fully understand a piece of feedback that someone has given you, ask open-ended follow-up questions. You may also not always agree with something that someone has said but ensure to keep an open and positive mind and be willing to understand it from their perspective as well as take it on board to see if their strategy/comments may perhaps be more beneficial towards your practice. You could always ask someone else for a second opinion and see if they agree or disagree.


What to do after receiving feedback?

If you do receive critical feedback, you must actively listen, understand, analyse, and think about the best possible solution to improve your practice. Adopt a growth mindset so you can be completely open to trying out a new strategy or approach, which is in line with the feedback that you have received. You may also have a follow-up discussion a few weeks down the line to ensure you are on the right track with the suggestions that were given to you.


Feedback for continuing professional development (CPD)

Did you know that you can use the formal or informal feedback that you receive as part of your requirement to record two pieces of CPD so you can renew your social work registration in November? To make your feedback count as part of your CPD, you must reflect upon it by understanding how you have improved or will improve your practice as a result.

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