Appendix 2: Workplace Mentor Tips
45 Chapter 5: Workplace Mentor Tips
The feedback sandwich
Feedback is often given using a technique called the Feedback Sandwich. People who use this technique give feedback in the following way:
Start by making positive statements.
Discuss area(s) for improvement.
Finish by making positive statements.
How Sima uses the Feedback Sandwich.
When Sima gives feedback in the video, she uses the Feedback Sandwich. See how she does this:
|Starts by making positive statements||In all my observations, I found you to be approachable and responsive to our customers and tenants. We have had very good feedback about this.|
|Discusses areas for improvement||However, there were two instances—one with Security over the matter of the strollers in our West building, and the other with Maintenance over the issue of fixing the water leaks in one of our food court outlets. We have briefly discussed both incidents before at our check-in meeting. In both cases, the personnel involved could not complete the task and the paperwork because some of the expectations were not clear. You gave the basic instructions in both cases, but it is important to be very explicit. You might want to work on being more explicit on your instructions and expectations.|
|Finishes by making positive statements||Other than this, on the guest side of things, we find your communication to be excellent. In fact, on two occasions, we got email messages complimenting you specifically.|
The Feedback Sandwich technique is a popular way of giving feedback in many workplaces in Canada. When people are not aware of this technique, they may focus only on the positive statements and miss out on the areas for improvement. Another point that causes some confusion when receiving feedback is that the person who gives the feedback often uses indirect
language. The person may say, “You might want to …” This does not mean they are necessarily giving you a choice. They are
actually saying “You need to …” or “You must …”
Listening is a very important skill, and it is a very important part of communication. A listener does the following to show that he or she is listening actively:
a) The listener demonstrates that he or she is paying attention by facing the speaker, making eye contact, and nodding appropriately.
b) He or she takes notes about important points, but still pays attention to the speaker. Taking notes may not always be appropriate and will depend on the situation; for example, it is appropriate at meetings, but not necessarily when one is having a casual conversation.
c) The listener verbally clarifies and confirms information by restating or paraphrasing the information from the speaker, or by asking questions.
Active listening is very important when receiving feedback. It shows the speaker that you value what he or she is saying. Avoid interrupting the speaker to clarify or confirm information. Listen carefully to what the person is saying, and do not focus on what you want to say in response. This way, you are more likely to listen better and understand more. When the speaker has finished speaking, you can ask questions or paraphrase or repeat key points to clarify information. It is important to check that you have understood before you respond to the feedback.
Reacting to feedback
It is important to react to feedback in a positive way. When you receive feedback, do the following:
- Be prepared for both positive and negative feedback. Be open to getting some advice and recommendations for
- Be open to different opinions and new information. Not everyone looks at the world the same way. Another viewpoint can often be very useful and can help you improve yourself.
- Listen actively without interrupting.
- Clarify and confirm information so that you are sure you have understood correctly.
- Control your facial expressions, your body language, and the tone of your voice when you hear something you perceive as negative. Do not show that you are upset or offended. Later, when you have had time to think about it more carefully, you might realize that the person who gave you the feedback was probably right.
- Take notes about the feedback and think carefully about it before responding.
- Pay close attention to “careful” and indirect language. Convert the indirect language to more direct language in your head. For example, you might hear “I think we could put more effort into being at work on time.” Change this indirect language to “You should come to work on time.”
- Always check that you have understood what the person wants you to improve.
- Thank the person for the feedback.
In the workplace, all correspondence and documents are typewritten. Computers are used for this purpose. When you are asked to present anything in writing to your colleagues or your supervisor, it is expected that your work will be typed and formatted neatly. Typing skills and document formatting skills are essential in today’s workplace.
Giving presentations is a very important skill to develop. A presentation must be well organized and must have three clear parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The following tips will help you give a good presentation.
Make sure to have clear transitions when you move from the introduction to the body of the presentation. It is also important to have a clear transition to your conclusion.
Listen to Excerpt 1 in the listening section of Chapter 3. Notice how the speaker divides his presentation into three parts and uses signal words to move from one part of the presentation to the next and from one point to the next.
Reflection is examining your own behaviour and actions in a situation. It can also include examining another person’s behaviour and actions.
It is very important to reflect so that you can develop and grow. Reflection can help you see your strengths and identify areas for improvement. When you reflect, it is a good idea to first look at strengths, and then look at what needs to be improved. Most companies in Canada appreciate employees who can reflect because it almost always leads to self-development.
Looking at the content of this chapter, the following may be opportunities for reflection for the people involved:
- Sima, on whether she had
- given Raja effective feedback
- communicated clearly enough to help the staff understand the performance appraisal process and the importance of SMART goals.
- Raja, on whether he had
- reacted appropriately to Sima’s feedback during the appraisal process
- improved his soft skills and identified what he needed to work on.