Do Your Servers Make Goals?

Some time ago a particular community called me in for a training workshop. I sat in the Administrator’s office with, I’ll call her Anna for anonymity, to learn the issues that were preventing a higher resident satisfaction rating. She was discouraged that her food servers weren’t performing better. When I asked whether she would be attending my training session, she gave me a funny look.

“If I’m sitting there, I’m not sure anyone will speak up and be honest,” she said. I smiled because I’ve found that this is the reaction from most people in management.

I gently replied. “The reason you need to be there is so that you can hear what’s going on when they do speak up.”

Anna attended each training session and saw that my training is not just my telling how to grow a community or fix a problem. We have hands-on practice, interaction, and discussion. A first step in creating trust and working relationships is to have all staff attend meetings to repair any broken lines of communication, remove barriers, share ideas, and plan goals for themselves.

It’s important for employees to learn how to think and solve the issues they encounter on the job, to settle disputes with grace and courtesy. Encouraging servers to take ownership, to share their thoughts, and to build relationships with management, as well as those working in the same dining room is a goal that will create growth.

Your food servers are the most visible and valuable employees in the community. They interact with your residents throughout the day. Taking the effort to teach your serving staff about hospitality, inviting them to become leaders by offering their opinions and solutions allows them to fulfill their positions as important assets to the company. This will improve the quality of life for your residents and that is the goal of every senior living  community.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Be visible in your dining room to grow your community’s team culture around meal service.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy is the founder and owner of Kind Dining®, which she began in 2006. She’s traveled across the country and Canada working with and training senior living communities that want to create an exceptional dining experience for their residents and staff. In addition, she certifies select professionals in her Kind Dining® philosophy and provides tools, now in an eLearning format, that make learning stick and help people put insights into action. As a result of her work, clients often share their staff has a new sense of purpose, get along better and keep their focus and energy on what matters most. In fact, she wrote a book, Hospitality for Boomers on how to attract residents and keep good team members. In her free time, she enjoys walking Oregon trails and cheering on her favorite soccer teams, the Portland Thorns and Timbers.

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