Stories come to me from all directions. As soon as my career choice is known, someone has a story for me. This one came from the laundromat while the woman’s dryer at home was being repaired or replaced.
“My mother-in-law is way ahead of us. She announced last week that she has researched senior living communities and has chosen one for herself. She is selling her house and moving.”
“Oh, my!” came the reply of her companion. “I’ve never heard of that happening.”
“She said it is like going on a permanent vacation, and she deserves it. Further, she has lunch with a friend in the community she chose and received first-hand recommendations, like what to look for and what is most important. She has chosen her friend’s community.”
“Tell me more. I want to relay the information to my mother, who has been living solo since my father died four years ago. I’m concerned with her lack of luster since the pandemic. Maybe a senior independent living community is the answer.”
She continued to say that, surprisingly, it wasn’t the fancy trimmings that made the decision easy; it was the people who worked there. The staff, as she called them. First, they made her feel welcome as she came in the door. One young woman took the time to chat with her, and later after touring the grounds and common rooms with her friend, they stayed for lunch. She knew the food being served was especially important. The young woman, who met her when she came in, waited for their table and remembered speaking to her when she arrived! She was so impressed! She knew at that moment she belonged there.
It was obvious that the young woman who met the mother-in-law at the door was educated to respond with a pleasant greeting to any visitor. Following up by recognizing her when she served the meal was the result of training, loving the work you do, and being a part of a team who shares the same goals.
Kind Dining♥ continuing training series creates a culture of belonging, of working as a unified team. The knowledge gained in training sessions benefits the staff by giving them the incentive to stay, to work with intention, and to have the confidence to extend that sense of belonging to the residents. They get to work with a company that values them.
We are proud to announce that Kind Dining® is now approved for 11 Continuing Professional Education credits for RDNs, & NDTRs, as well as CDMs. CPEs are from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes 1 Ethics unit for the entire series. The CPEs for Certified Dietary Managers are from the Certifying Board of Dietary Managers (CBDM), the credentialing agency for the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals.
Be♥ Kind: Skills gained in training sessions benefit the staff, giving them the incentive to stay.
It’s like a party!
When you entertain, you want your guests to feel special to have received an invitation to your home. You prepare foods and beverages that entice, tempt an appetite, please the eye, and you serve a variety so there is a choice. You want your guests to know they are welcome in your home, and to socialize with other guests you’ve invited.
Mealtimes at your senior living community have the same goals that you do for a party at your home. It’s on a larger scale but the standards and challenges are similar. It also takes the same skills you want your food serving team in your community to perform as naturally as breathing.
A good host will be aware of certain people who need to connect and be brought together, knowing they will benefit from each other’s company. You want food servers who can spot a possible problem and know how to dissolve it before it develops. Most of all, you want your guests to be glad they came and will take away happy thoughts and memories of the evening.
Some people are legendary for the parties they’ve given and are known internationally. They weren’t born that way. They became great hosts through learning, practicing, and using social skills. They wear invisible antennae that tell them what is happening in their realm. These are the skills that you want your food servers to have and to use each time they step into their role as food servers.
It includes every employee that carries a plate of food or even a glass of water.
It includes full-time employees and part-timers, which may include teenagers who want the experience for their resume`.
An investment in training your food serving team, all of them, and following up with practice, practice, practice, promises that residents and guests will talk about your community in a way that will exceed the paid advertising you do. Your residents will feel and know they belong in your community. Your dining rooms will buzz with conversations that connect people as friends and create a general feeling of happiness throughout the halls of your community.
Kind Dining♥ are key words to your success. We offer virtual training sessions that you can extend to use with part-time and newly hired employees, as well as your full-time and long-time ones.
Training teaches ways to add kindness to their skills. It can open doors to culture change and understanding coworkers and residents.
A kinder, happier staff is a healthier one that creates committed employees who stay with the company. The spread of kindness to residents reinforces their immunity to illness. It begins with your food servers carrying pleasant considerations along with the food.
Know those food servers are still the company’s best assets. Investing in them is an investment in your community and your company’s growth.
Be♥ Kind: Training teaches ways to add kindness to a food server’s skills.
When talking about the travel we did when being much younger, my friend, who prefers traveling solo, and has since she was 14 years old, told me about a time flying to England 40 years later. When she boarded the airplane, she settled in, delighted to have made early plans to get the window seat. It wasn’t long before her seatmates, a mother and a young child sat down. The woman looked all around, hoping to find three seats together so her husband could join them for the long, seven-hour flight. He sat across the aisle, a row back, in the middle of two grumpy-looking, complaining men, on either side of him. My friend, remembering how important it was for the family to be together when she was young and married, offered to move. She would exchange her precious window seat so the husband could join them.
Keeping an eye on all her passengers, as flight attendants do, she came over to my friend and remarked. “That was very kind of you to give up a window seat for that family. It’s quite unusual to see that on a flight. Thank you.”
My friend just acknowledged the compliment, surprised that anyone had even noticed. As soon as dinner was over and the trays cleared away, the same flight attendant came to her row. She leaned in and handed a napkin-wrapped bottle of wine to her, the same white wine she had at dinner. “Just a little thank-you gift,” she said. “It’s so nice to see kindness.” Without any fuss, she went back to her duties.
Kindness generates kindness. What seemed a small thing to my friend was enormous to the family and impressive to the flight attendant. Of course, my friend wasn’t thinking about any acknowledgment or reward, it only seemed the right thing to do. It may have been a small thing that the flight attendant responded to, but it is still remembered by her many years later.
It doesn’t take a college degree or years of training, just a mention during the employees’ weekly discussion or training session. Remember to be kind. When one employee performs a kindness it will reverberate.
Kind Dining♥ training was designed to assist you in honing the skills not just of your food serving team, but all your employees, in building communication between coworkers, residents, and management, using cross-training exercises. These training sessions, now available online, focus on working smarter, with intention. The sessions are friendly and supportive. Change begrudging attitudes to employees who love to come to every work day. Encourage them to show kindness to all people. Take a close look at your food service team and realize how important they are to your residents, to each other, and the success of your company.
Be♥ Kind Tip: Kindness that is practiced grows into a natural way of life.