Following on the coat tails of last week’s discussion of Tell, Show, Do, I figured I would share another training tip I learned during my tenure at Starbucks: Sandwiching. And no – I’m not talking about the process of making a killer Peanut Butter and Jelly.
Sandwiching is a fun training term that is related to professional development and training. The premise is that when providing feedback to someone, you sandwich the constructive criticism between two positives.
This method is effective with regard to providing feedback because it gives the recipient relevant compliments on a task, with a small constructive criticism of the task – something for them to improve on in the future. It lessens the blow of the critique, which can be critical, especially if you work with some very sensitive souls.
The important thing with this method is that all points must be relevant. Below, I’ll illustrate a bad sandwiching conversation and a good sandwiching conversation.
Supervisor: Hey, Becky! I just thought I would tell you that your new polo shirt fits you really well, but you suck at making lattes. Great hairstyle – did you just get it cut?!
This is an example of bad sandwiching because all points are not relevant to the constructive criticism. The positives are superfluous. Nice compliments, but a terrible training strategy.
Supervisor: Hey, Becky! Your milk aeration is on point! Although, when you make your lattes, could you please hold the foam back with a spoon or give the milk time to separate from the foam? Otherwise your lattes will be too light and will be closer to a cappuccino – more foam than milk. You did also do really well keeping steaming your milk to the appropriate temperature.
This is an example of good sandwiching because all points are relevant to the constructive criticism.
Good sandwiching conversations may take a bit longer to have, but that’s because they aren’t superfluous. They have the goal of hitting three relevant points, all providing feedback related to the task at hand, in this case, making a latte.