3 ways to build employee interaction

When it comes to being a part of a team, communication is essential, says Cyndi Roberts, manager of food services and clinical nutrition at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro, Ill. Communication builds trust, she adds, which helps to improve staff relationships and teamwork. Here are three exercises she uses—with a bag and some change—to get her employees to better engage one another.  

1. There’s value in peer recognition

During each week’s team huddle, one employee’s name is picked out of a bag. Everyone then goes around the room stating what they believe are the person’s positive attributes and why that individual is an asset to the team. Roberts says the practice reassures staff that they have each other’s backs. “This practice also helps us all recognize that we all contribute something to the success of the department and the team,” she says. “It helps to foster a sense of belonging and purpose by having coworkers state how the person impacts the team and the department, too.” 

2. Relating through ‘change’

At meetings, Roberts has every team member choose a coin. Then everyone shares a memory associated with the year on his or her coin. The purpose is to get a glimpse of people outside of the work environment, Robert says, adding that employees have shared stories about marriage, graduations and births. “When we get to know people on a more human level, we have a better understanding of their wants, needs, personalities, and maybe even better ways to communicate with them. I think we also find common ground with people that maybe we think are really different, but aren’t that different at all.”

3. Getting back to the basics

The company’s objectives and principles are reviewed regularly by having one employee per team meeting choose an objective to consider. A group discussion then follows about how everyone can apply that commitment to their work, either individually or as a team. “This tactic has helped to break down the territorial nature of our department; it’s not so-and-so’s job anymore,” Roberts says. “We are all responsible for holding up to our responsibilities and helping others when they need it.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
ISR

The Illinois Street Residence Hall (ISR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has come a long way since the start of the summer. What was just a hole in the ground now looks like an actual building. Its steel structure is up, and workers have constructed exterior temporary walls to allow them to begin tackling the interior.

“Now, it’s really about pulling all the electrical and all the plumbing. All of those things are becoming realistic for us,” says Director of University Housing Alma Sealine. “We actually won’t have walls up on the interior for a while, but that’s...

Menu Development
Culinary Trends

Fresh, made-from-scratch menu items are table stakes for restaurants these days—they’re what customers expect from fast casuals on up. So how can operators meet that expectation when labor costs keep rising and the labor pool keeps getting smaller? The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and industry competition for skilled cooks is at an all-time high.

Simplifying the menu is one solution, finds Donna Lee, founder of Brown Bag Seafood Co., a fast casual with four units in Chicago. But simplifying doesn’t necessarily...

Menu Development
Shawerma

Grab-and-go options are growing in every operation, but customers are looking for choices that go beyond the same-old sandwiches, salads and packaged snacks. In fact, 29% of consumers overall and 40% of those in the 18-34 age group are looking for ethnic items specifically described as street foods, according to Technomic’s Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite . Not only are street foods a staple in many Asian, Latin and Mediterranean countries, they are typically portable and ready to grab-and-go .

Simplifying shawerma

“It’s important that fans...

Industry News & Opinion

Hawaii public schools are serving locally sourced sweet potato pie in celebration of Thanksgiving and their harvest of the month program.

The menu item is being served this month at over 200 schools throughout the state and will use local Okinawan sweet potatoes . This is the first time the Hawaii-grown sweet potatoes will be served in the cafeterias.

The recipe for the dish was created by one of the district’s cafeteria managers and her staff.

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code