Insight #1-Sharing personal information…

What I find most often when talking with teens and young adults serving meals to residents is that they are just coping with how to address uncomfortable situations with residents. Most try to be polite, many admit to not having enough patience, and some are plain honest about their own rudeness to discourage uncomfortable conversations.

It is very important that during initial hiring orientation, and on a recurring basis managers explain basic courtesies and company policy and expectations if and when residents share personal information with servers. As we discuss throughout Kind Dining training, residents often interact more with staff members than friends and family and boundaries can get blurred. In this example, a resident was sharing in detail about how worried they were over their financial situation. The key here is for the server to listen courteously, validate the residents feelings as best they can, and offer encouragement. “I see you are worried about this situation, but I think there is a good chance it will work out just fine.” It is important servers know they should not burden residents with their own money worries or personal situations, when to share this conversation with their supervisor or resident care manager, and that it should not be shared with other employees.

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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