How To Ask for Feedback at the Workplace in 7 Steps

Updated March 16, 2023

A person holding papers and gesturing across a table toward another person.

At some point, you may reflect on your performance and wonder if you are meeting goals and performing your duties adequately. Asking for feedback is common in the workplace, and it can be easy if you take the right steps.

In this article, we explore the importance and benefits of asking for feedback and explain how to ask for feedback in the workplace.

Why is it important to ask for feedback?

Asking for feedback is important because it demonstrates to others that you are committed to improving your skills and contributing to your team. Taking the initiative to get better at essential aspects of your work shows that you have the dedication and drive to succeed.

Employees ask for feedback so that they can receive an honest evaluation of their work performance to improve. When you ask for feedback you are choosing to learn more about yourself and to seek the advice of your managers or leaders.

Learning to ask for feedback regularly may help you to develop beneficial professional relationships based on honesty, guidance and mentorship. When communication is open and transparent, it is easier for everyone to work together as a team to complete goals and overcome obstacles. When opinions and thoughts are left unsaid, it can be detrimental to workplace productivity.

Read more: 4 Ways Feedback Improves Performance in the Workplace

Benefits of getting regular feedback

People ask for feedback because this type of communication is important for professional development. Regular feedback in the workplace has the following benefits:

  • Helps you to improve your performance: When you ask someone how you can improve your work performance, they can give you honest advice and steps to take to meet your goals.

  • Develops open, transparent dialogue: Seeking regular feedback may help you to develop professional relationships that are honest and focused on improving and developing career competencies.

  • May improve chances of getting promoted: If you are seeking to get a raise or promotion, asking for regular feedback can increase your chances. You show that you are dedicated to your work and willing to put in the effort to grow and advance.

  • Improves your ability to fix mistakes quickly: Receiving feedback from colleagues may help you to understand areas of your performance that require improvement. Your colleagues can give you guidance about how to solve your workplace problems effectively and efficiently.

  • Provides an opportunity to learn from colleagues: Your colleagues, especially managers and leaders, have an abundance of information that they can share with you about workplace competencies, skills or processes. Feedback meetings can be seen as an opportunity for you to receive potential advice and wisdom.

How to ask for feedback

Asking for feedback is an opportunity for you to grow personally and professionally. To make the most of the opportunity, you'll want to prepare in advance by reflecting on what specific skills or areas you wish to improve. Once you have an idea, you can take the following steps to ask for feedback from another colleague:

1. Find an appropriate time to ask

You'll want to find the right time to ask another person to meet with you so that they can give you useful and detailed feedback. The right time, of course, will vary depending on your unique workplace situation. For example, you may not want to bring it up before an important deadline or an event.

A good time to ask for feedback is after learning a new skill or taking on a new role. That way, your colleague can give you insight into your development. It is also best to ask for feedback when the person you're asking is not busy or preoccupied. Find a time to bring up the subject when you are both working at an easy pace.

You'll want to make sure to let them have time to prepare to meet in give you detailed feedback, so it is best not to spontaneously ask for immediate feedback.

You may wish to bring up the request for feedback in person, over email or another appropriate workplace form of communication. Some companies even choose to use websites and software that help facilitate the feedback process. You may be able to use one of these services to request feedback if your workplace uses them.

Related: Guide to User Feedback and Why It's Important (With Tips)

2. Schedule a time to meet

You'll want to choose a time to meet that is most convenient for the person offering feedback. It is best to give them ample time to prepare so that they can adequately assess and evaluate your work performance. Ask them what time and day would work best for them, and you'll have an appointment set up. Before the meeting, you can also take the time to prepare.

Related: How To Schedule a Meeting by Email

3. Prepare questions to ask

To make the most of your meeting together, you may wish to write down important questions to ask your colleagues that help you to gather essential information.

The following are some examples of questions that you may consider asking to receive feedback:

  • How can I get better at supporting the mission of our team?

  • In what ways can I improve my time management?

  • What skills should I develop to improve my work performance?

  • What advice would you give me to help me improve my communication?

  • How can I be prepared for our upcoming projects?

Take the time to develop questions that will be most useful for you and your unique situation. The best questions for useful feedback help you to discover your strengths and weaknesses and overcome any workplace obstacles.

You may choose to address the specific issues that you are having that make it harder for you to perform at your best. Remember, this is your opportunity to get the information you need to advance in your career and grow.

Related: How To Ask Your Manager for a Performance Review

4. Take notes

It is professional to come prepared with a notebook and pen so that you can write down the key concepts that come up in your conversation. Taking notes shows that you value the information you are receiving and that you wish to remember the feedback.

You'll want to consider the notes as a handbook to help you get better at your job. In the future, you can reference these events to evaluate how you have improved.

Related: Note-Taking Skills: Tips on How To Take Effective Notes

5. Learn how to improve from the feedback

Receiving feedback is only useful if you can use it to improve your work performance. Take the time you need to reflect on the conversation and consider the most essential things that you need to change.

Give yourself the time you need to focus on developing a plan to implement specific improvement methods. You may find it helpful to make a list of goals inspired by your feedback meeting. Develop goals that you can accomplish in a series of manageable steps.

Related: Growing Your Career: Learning From Negative Feedback

6. Say thank you

It is a good idea to formally show your gratitude after a colleague has given up time to help you. Show that you appreciate their help by telling them in person or by following up in an email.

Following up is important to helping you foster beneficial professional relationships. Showing that you are thankful will likely make your colleagues more open to meeting again in the future.

Read more: Guide to Thank You Notes

7. Ask for feedback regularly

Every company will have a different pace at which they make evaluations, but you'll want to find times that work best for you. It is a good idea to ask for feedback before your employer requires you to be officially evaluated. Asking for feedback once a month is usually an appropriate amount. As your meetings become regular, you can begin to develop reciprocal relationships that help you to improve.

Related: 12 Principles of Feedback for Constructive Results

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