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"Feedback Within a Graduate Training Program"

"Feedback Within a Graduate Training Program"

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Sarah Montgomery. Originally submitted for Human Resource Management with DIS at University of Ulster, with lecturer Dr. Paula O'Kane in the category of Business
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Sarah Montgomery. Originally submitted for Human Resource Management with DIS at University of Ulster, with lecturer Dr. Paula O'Kane in the category of Business

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Applied Interpersonal Skills“Feedback Within a Graduate Training Program”1
 Applied Interpersonal Skills“Feedback Within a Graduate Training Program”2
Hargie and Dickson (2004; p39) claimed that ‘feedback is a fundamentalfeature of communication. It could be said that ‘in terms of influencing peopleat work it is, perhaps, the most important interpersonal skill that you candevelop’ (Roland & Bee, 1996: p1). An ‘organisation is only as effective as the people who work there’ (Putrich,2006). If an organisation is in a sector where there may exist skill shortages,or there are standard skills all employees are expected to have, they may findthe answer is to develop their own Graduate Training Program, which enablesthem to tailor the training specifically to their own needs. The Programs aredeveloped by the Human Resource Department (HR), who will haveresponsibility for ensuring it is effective in its purpose. This assignment willconsider the role that feedback plays within a Graduate Program.Graduate Programs will differ across all sectors of the economy; however,they will all include the facilitation of feedback between the organisation andtrainees. Roland and Bee (1996: p15) state ‘feedback in the training situationis a vital part of the learning process, providing essential information totrainees on how they are progressing and what else [both parties] need to doto achieve the learning objective’. Feedback ‘should go on throughout the...[program so all parties can] identify issues to work on, develop action planstogether, work on problems, and assess results’ (Harvard BusinessEssentials, 2006: p56.)Martocchio and Webster (1992) claimed ‘feedback is a useful resource...for influencing training outcomes’ and ‘has the purpose of raising the trainee’sself awareness about their performance and leaves them to choose their future actions’ (Hesketh and Laidlaw, 2002). To help them do this HR shouldprovide them with feedback early, as ‘the sooner we know how well we aredoing, the smaller the change required...to achieve our objective’ (Roland &Bee, 1996: p9). If feedback is not given trainees will believe they are ‘on
 Applied Interpersonal Skills“Feedback Within a Graduate Training Program”3
target, until over time the severity of performance problems and the managersfrustration....rise to extremely high levels’ (Tata: 2002).Feedback can be positive or negative. Positive feedback is not only praisewhich ‘is simply a pat on the back for good work...[but] goes further, identifyingparticular actions of merit’ (Harvard Business Essentials, 2006: p56). It shouldbe ‘goal-directed’ with sufficient praise to encourage trainees to repeat their actions. Specific events and achievements should be focused on. Negativefeedback acts by ‘correcting and improving ‘poor’ performance andbehaviours’ by perhaps suggesting methods of improvements or organisingfor extra resources to be available (Roland & Bee, 1996: p2).Whether feedback is positive or negative, it must always be constructive. If there is insufficient positive feedback a trainee will not appreciate what theyare doing correctly, however, negative feedback has the potential to becomedestructive criticism. ‘Destructive criticism tends to occur when...there are noagreed standards against which to measure behaviour or performance, or anyplan for development’ (Roland & Bee, 1996: p3). Feedback gives theopportunity for reasons of poor performance to be explored, but to avoid thisoccurring organisations tend to hold detailed induction days, where traineesare provided with thorough documentation detailing all expectations theorganisation has. This should avoid confusion and ambiguity arising. Positivefeedback should be communicated first, which in turn allows a trainee to bemore receptive to the negative feedback.Feedback can be reinforcing or corrective. When trainees are performing welland meeting objectives they should be informed. Reinforcement is importantas Duggan and Fogg (2006) report that many people leave positions because‘they are not listened to and receive no encouragement or feedback’. Whenso much money is invested in Graduate Program an organisation will not wantto lose trainees. Feedback allows trainees to feel valued, that their role is of great importance and it creates a sense of empowerment for them. Whenreinforcing it encourages activities to be repeated, but feedback intended to

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