Have you adapted to food serving changes brought about in 2020?

Alice was walking down the hallway and telling a new coworker that it has been a year that she wasn’t sure the community would get through. ‘Here it is, behind us, and we have overcome some difficult hardships, made tough decisions while keeping the safety and comfort of our senior care community. We were continuing our everyday service in the best way we knew how. Vaccines have been developed and hopefully will allow us to return to our former way of life even though I know life will never be the same.”

“Virtual everything has become the norm. Our residents have even learned how to virtually socialize. Chefs are giving virtual cooking lessons and families are doing virtual visiting. But the best thing that has come out of 2020 is that we have built better relationships among staff.”

There is no doubt that team bonding of the food servers is essential for smooth running mealtimes, even more, when the pandemic changed social dining overnight. The food servers trained as a team quickly adapted to new ways of compensating for the loss of dining room meals. Employees are happier and more content with their work when they are working as part of a team. Contented workers are resilient through trials and remain with the company removing the high turnover that is so costly. Add obvious appreciation by the leadership team that is noticeable and you have a solid foundation of employees serving meals that are keeping residents complacent with the sudden, but safe, changes. A bulletin board displaying thank you cards and notes from the residents about particular food servers who have exceeded expectations compliments notices from leaders and peers for the same attention by team members.

Brief daily meetings between the chefs and food servers regarding up-to-last-minute changes or corrections over morning coffee or snacks keep that sense of bond while it keeps the team members equal and on top of things. Kind Dining♥ training has recommended team practice in a similar idea of the huddle that works in football after the meal.  With this communication open and operating smoothly, remind the team to have the same open communication with the residents about what worked well and what could be improved during the meal. The residents will appreciate it even more in their isolation and feel more bonded by being heard. Although the vaccine is becoming available it may take many months before social dining is back in place again.

B♥ Kind ®Tip: Do you find ways to praise co-workers for all they do?