Employee Satisfaction begins with the Leader: Rewards and Recognition

Posted on March 19th, 2018

Rewards and Recognition

Employees want to be appreciated! While employees appreciate an instant and sincere ‘Thank you’ gesture by the Leader they also like and enjoy a formal reward and recognition program. Even though many organization including most hospitals have organization/companywide programs but employees prefer a department level program as well. Such programs should have characteristics of both material and emotional rewards and recognition. Such program should have following components:


  1. Be simple, fun, ongoing and easy to follow
  2. Should include a handing of a Card or a Star for instant gratification
  3. Cards or Stars should have some redeemable value within the department
  4. The awardees should also be recognized in front of their peers or customers
  5. Program should also include some monthly gifts giveaways – drawings etc.
  6. Be part of a quarterly and an annual celebration in the department
  7. Should include an occasional hand written thank you note in the mail


Khalid Shiekh

Consultant – Food and Nutrition Services

February 28, 2018

Employee Satisfaction begins with the Leader: Employee Involvement

Posted on March 12th, 2018

Employee Involvement

Employees have ideas! They want to make a positive difference and further improve the way they work. They want to accomplish more, be more efficient and productive.  Leader must listen and get employees involved in both formal and informal fashions. They know their customers, their product and their commitment to excellence so the Leader must pay attention and respect employees’ input. The most effective ways to get employees involved are:


  1. By monthly rounding with a few employees in a formal manner
  2. Responding to their ideas in a formal manner within a reasonable time
  3. When planning a major change or introducing a new concept
  4. Before making any changes to an existing process or product
  5. Invite some employees in brainstorming on problem resolutions
  6. By challenging them for further creativity and innovation in the department
  7. Keeping the door open for one on one meetings to listen to their thoughts


Khalid Shiekh

Consultant – Food and Nutrition Services

February 28, 2018

Employee Satisfaction begins with the Leader: Tools and Training

Posted on March 5th, 2018

Tools and Training

Employees want to do a great job! A Leader must begin with this premise. They cannot perform at their best if they do not have the tools they need or the tools they work with do not cooperate. The department must also have a clearly defined training program. An initial formal training period of three to five days, for their position is essential. Ongoing monthly training and refresher sessions for each position must also be conducted. Leader should conduct monthly rounding with the employees to make sure that they are satisfied with their tools, training and the environment. Leader should take actions when the employees’ needs have changed. A Leader cannot lose an employee’s dedication, energy, positive mindset and vigor by not providing them what they need to perform at their best!

Khalid Shiekh

Consultant – Food and Nutrition Services

February 28, 2018

Employee Satisfaction begins with the Leader: Compensation

Posted on February 28th, 2018


Employees want to be paid well! In today’s economy, compensation matters more than some organizations believe. We are in a service economy more so than perhaps ever before. There is competition out there for most desirable service level employees. To attract great employees the compensation must be above the market place threshold. This is a challenge that the department directors face every day and must find a way to convince higher ups to update the pay scales. The benefits package offered, may attract some but most candidates who meet the service excellence criteria want higher base pay than the marketplace.

Khalid Shiekh

Consultant – Food and Nutrition Services

February 28, 2018

Employee Satisfaction begins with the Leader

Posted on February 14th, 2018



Satisfied and inspired employees in service industry who are genuinely respected, treated with compassion, well compensated, properly trained, involved in decision making processes and are recognized and rewarded for their outstanding work are the heart of a successful organization. They will do everything possible to inherently provide EXCEPTIONAL service to their customers. They love what they do and are proud of it. It’s called Service Excellence CULTURE!

The end-users may be patients in a hospital being served with their meals or their rooms being cleaned, retail cafeteria customers or any other service industry customers. These satisfied and inspired employees will support each other, be very productive and excel at their tasks. They follow the standards, go above and beyond their duties, immensely enjoy their day at work and make the department run smooth and efficient. These are Happy and Engaged employees!

It takes a dedicated and committed Leader who creates an employee focused culture and places employees first in almost all situations! To build a service excellence culture, the following six strategies and employee engagement practices can help tremendously! See the first of six below.  Check back to our site for the reveal of the other five over the next few weeks.


1. Recruiting   

The right people for the right jobs! Recruiting or hiring the very best people for any job in the organization is the foundation of a great service excellence culture. It starts with the position posting. The first sentence of the job requirement must state clearly about the service excellence culture and the importance of their individual role in enhancing it. In live interview it must be re-emphasized that if hired they are expected to make a positive difference in the prevailing culture of the organization or the department.

Hiring for technical skills is important but not as significant as a candidate’s personal presentation skills such as personal grooming, greeting, eye contact, politeness and a natural smile. During the interview process if they are paying attention to their personal details, they are likely to pay attention to service excellence details while at work. Technical skills can be improved by further training, once the candidate is on-board.

Many organizations utilize a pre-designed interview format with specific questions. No matter what format is utilized for the basic interview questions the Leader must also look for the following three qualities by simply asking some probing questions:

  1. Integrity – in their answers
  2. Intelligence – in their thinking
  3. Interactive skills – and their body language 

What you see and feel is likely what your patients or customers will experience behind your back. This is also what the other employees in the department will encounter when the candidate is hired. Some organizations also conduct peer interviews which can be beneficial from a team building standpoint. But the Leader must make the final decision!


Khalid Shiekh

Consultant – Food and Nutrition Services

February 9, 2018

FNCE 2017

Posted on September 29th, 2017

Industry leaders, Georgie Shockey and Sharon Cox, MA, RDN, LDN are presenting Monday October 23 at FNCE 2017 in Chicago, IL. They will share their experience in managing complex transitions with insightful guidelines, new tools and ideas to make a transition successful….

“Change is inevitable; progress is optional”. The four-step Transition Learning Model (TLM) plan, provides leaders with a guide to navigating the chaos associated with change.  While change is external, the transition plan is internal and unique to you.  As a leader, effective strategy formulation skills are essential-and necessary amid change. The ability to translate business strategies from plan to action can set true leaders apart from their peers.  The session will bring the plan to life and show the audience the value of careful planning, assessing the risk of transitions and case studies where the plan has taken organizations to the next level.

The four stages of the transition touches on three elements:  Talent, Process and Systems.  Learn how to integrate these steps and elements into your next transition.


Sharon and Georgie will also take you through what is impacted by each type of change…. And how to mitigate the risk as you are managing the transition.

Preview the session here:   http://eatrightfnce.org/program/educational-sessions/ and download our presentation preview here: FNCE 2017 Presentation


Dealing With A Decreasing Global Food Supply In An Increasing Industry

Posted on August 3rd, 2017

There are strong narratives regarding the global food chain. While many are exaggerated and frightening, there is still plenty of truth and validity to the vast majority. With an increasing population, the global food supply will experience changes, but not necessarily solely due to increased amount of people.

With an increased population, changing diets are rather the primary driver relating to food demand. As wealth increases in many regions, food demand is changing towards diets consuming larger amounts of meat and fresh produce options. While we are experiencing a change in food demand, it is the demand of specific products rather than physical quantities of foods. With increasing demand of meats and fresh produce, population growth certainly impacts these numbers, but it is primarily the popular diets that are creating the influx of demand.

It is also important to recognize that the food and beverage industry increases along the demand curve. As demand increases, more food and beverage operations open to the public. As an industry, it is important we promote the food and nutrition that will nourish and sustain our food supply. Creating more meatless options, focusing on classic grains, and sourcing local to minimize travel (and damage) on crops is vital towards the success of the industry.

In addition, food waste is a major problem associated with the food and beverage industry. About 40% of food is wasted annually. This waste amounts to roughly $650 billion in the United States and even $310 billion in developing countries. It is clear that food waste is an issue, but the amount of money going to waste as well is far too drastic to ignore. In an industry where profit is the primary goal, preventing food waste will save your company money as well as benefit the industry and the earth. It is time for companies to create sustainable goals towards the success of their business, the industry, and the planet.




Unlocking The Door To Customer Service With Key Strategies

Posted on July 12th, 2017


The goal of customer service is to build strong relationships with your customers while providing exceptional experiences that develop loyal guests. Customer service is often overlooked by the product or service itself, however it is important to realize that customer service is vital towards the success of a company and ensuring retained customers and guests. Regardless of how great your product of service is, what customers remember most is the interaction they experienced with your company.

When considering key strategies to enhance your level of customer service, it is important that your team is equipped with the right skills for the job. The value of empathy needs to be implemented as a core value throughout all strategic developments. The power to empathize allows your associates to understand and share feelings towards your customers. When aiming to provide personalized experiences to allow customers to feel an emotional connection to your brand, empathy is the secret ingredient.

When it comes to customer service, it is important to empower your employees. You must empower your employees with the right tools to excel in the presence of customers. Foster open communication and expectations with associates to guarantee they are prepared throughout their time face-to-face with customers. With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, your associates will feel empowered and equipped to excel in the presence of your guests.

Another important aspect of quality customer service is the customer’s perception of constancy and reliability. Customers should always feel confident they would receive the quality customer service your company promises and promotes. Consistency is vital to a successful company due to the dependability and reliability it provides your customers. Costumers will always prioritize one company over another due to the comfort and predictability provided through their services. For example, many customers continue to purchase Apple© products because they are familiar and dependable on those devices. They are confident in the exact product they will get and how it will treat them. Customer service is very similar to this. Customers will gravitate towards companies where they can be familiar with their quality customer service, confident they will be treated exceptionally, and that the end result is something they can rely on.

Lastly, follow-up and follow-through are components to customer service that are often overlooked. While first impressions are certainly important, a company’s last impression with customer service can create the largest impact. The last impression leaves the final taste in peoples mouths and can either be sweet or sour. In order to ensure a sweet ending, companies need to imbed customer service techniques that exceed customer expectations and create lasting memories. Especially in such a vast business industry, the strongest marketing is word of mouth. With a strong lasting impression, customers are inevitably going to be spreading the word about their great experience with your company’s exceptional customer service accolades.



Increased Employee Engagement Leads To Increased Company Success

Posted on June 29th, 2017

Studies show that less than a third of American workers are engaged in their job. Employee engagement helps develop strong positive attitudes among associates towards their work and the overall success of the company. Employee engagement can be defined as the emotional connection an employee exhibits towards their company, which influences their behavior and effort in work related activities. Most importantly, the more engagement an employee has with their company, the more energy and effort they put into their work. Engagement can be categorized into the trust and transparency through communication between management and associates, opportunities for growth and development within the organization, employee recognition towards impacting company performance, and the overall ability for an employee to perceive themselves are an asset to the organization.
Factors such as untrustworthy management, organizational tumult, lack of cohesion among associates, as well as poor organizational structure will impede successful engagement among employees. Many companies assume that higher pay and increased benefits will increase employee engagement. However, while that will increase employee satisfaction, a company cannot simply purchase employee engagement.

In order to successfully engage employees, companies need to show them how much they care. Paying more attention to associates through deliberate and thoughtful actions and decisions will increase engagement. Involving associates in decisions and maintaining transparency among management and employees is vital to successful engagement. There is no scripted formula to a successful engagement program and it must be strategized and orchestrated towards what suites your specific company culture. When discussing strategy, the most important aspect is to ensure engagement is developed through shared common goals and making decisions that are geared towards ensuring employees feel valued and emotionally connected to their work.

When developing an employee engagement strategy, there are specific steps that should be taken towards creating a successful plan. First, it is important to guarantee your associates have all of the right tools to succeed. Employees are stressed out and become distraught when they do not have the right tools to excel in their job. In a stressful work environment, associates are less likely to be engaged. Second, employees need more attention than you may think. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but simple gestures that induce personal attention customized to each associate show how much you care and value your employees independently, not just as a group. In addition to personal attention, personal recognition and praise is another valuable strategy towards increasing employee engagement. Finally, developing a social work environment, possibly with a philanthropic foundation, can create positive engagement around the workplace. When employees develop an emotional connection to the workplace as well as their colleagues, they become more engaged and content in their jobs.

It is important to understand that a company’s most important assets are the associates that work for them. Without an engaged work force, a company will cease to grow successfully. It is important to develop a strategy for your company that can increase and encourage employee engagement, which will reflect positively on bottom-line results.


Training and Retaining Quality Associates: The importance of training in the workplace

Posted on June 23rd, 2017

Training provides an opportunity to expand the knowledge of associates, however many companies find it to be too expensive. While the cost of training and development opportunities come at a price, if it is done right, it will save your company money in the end.

It is far too common that training is perceived as a one-time program. While the initial orientation and training processes are vital towards the success of an associate’s performance, there should never be an ending point to expanding knowledge. Extended education programs should be implemented throughout an associate’s career with the company. Especially in such a rapidly changing industry, there are constantly new improvements and training opportunities to increase the proficiencies of your associates. Extended education programs can be implemented in a multitude of ways. From quarterly information sessions with associates on the clock, to take-home education packets, there are endless opportunities to be creative in orchestrating the best form of extended education and training for your company.

Many companies are hesitant to implement extended training and development programs due to the expenses associated with it. However, it is important to recognize how training impacts retention. Many companies experience high turnover with associates due to a lack of development opportunities or inadequate training that prevents them from performing at their best. Spending more on a successful training and development program will decrease turnover and increase retention. What costs companies money is the process of having to search and hire for associates followed by training expenses. With a successful training and development plan, your company will spend less time searching for new associates and you can begin spending your time and energy building success among the associates you already have.

Overall, training and development are very important and will lead to increased company success. With proper training, associates are better able to perform their jobs, which increases overall company performance. In addition, another important attribute to a company’s success is consistency. With proper training and extended education programs, associates will always be on the same page and informed with all-important information up-to-date. The investment for training and development also proves as a way for the company to exhibit how much they value their associates. Associates who feel appreciated and challenged through training and development will be fulfilled with increased satisfaction.