How does the leadership perform in your company?

Major changes have taken place in all our lives this past pandemic year. Retirement and Long Term Care communities have been hit hard. They needed to make important decisions, extensive changes, and fast. Gathering together at the table with family and friends at mealtimes was the focus of many and was drastically ended. Alternate ways of keeping residents fed, content, and without fear were a challenge for many communities. Strong, informed leadership took charge and smoothed the rough spots as they appeared. Mealtimes were altered to door deliveries, smaller assemblies on each floor served buffet-style, socially distanced, and pick-ups also socially distanced. Foodservice teams were working at peak performance, adapting to different ways of working other than their normal routines. It took firm leadership with forward-thinking ideas on how to redesign food presentations quickly. All this was planned with quality of foodservice provision combined with hospitality. 

Staff usually looks to administration for leadership but this pandemic time was a time for every person responsible for foodservice operations, purchasing, preparation, cooking, packing, carrying, and delivering food to have the confidence of making on-the-spot decisions as necessary. That kind of self-confidence is built with Kind Dining♥ training that encourages individuals to broaden their responsibility and accept leadership roles they have learned in active coaching classes. Administrators acknowledge value and respect when they place faith in their food serving team to adjust and react to situations at hand that come up unexpectedly during these pandemic days. The company that has invested in training for all employees who will be called on, when serving staff is short-handed, to deliver at mealtimes, is empowering food servers to create the knowledge that ‘we are all in this together’ sense of community. The training that focuses on breaking down the perceived barriers between servers of different professions,  backgrounds, and ethnicities,  to create bonds of working relationships, sharing duties and helpfulness is building that self-confidence. When employees have a voice and are inspired to use that voice, they build self-esteem and see their value to the company. Pride in one’s work enters and promotes relationship bonds with the older adults they serve. The pandemic has called on these food servers to use all their hospitality skills along with their serving skills to assist in calming residents whose lives are chaotic and disorganized from the insecurity of COVID 19.

Satisfying residents by way of their mealtime experience by utilizing the skills of your servers is achieving the desired goal.

 B♥ Kind ®Tip: Talk and share stories to break up “icebergs” with your coworkers and the older adults you serve.

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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