Who wouldn’t want that workplace environment? You can find more information about the benefits of sustainability in the workplace in Inc.com’s article. You can also benefit from the insights provided in this post, which summarizes the Roots 2017 presentation titled “Happy Workers, Thriving Company: Rethinking Sustainability in the Workforce.” In this presentation, MC’d by author Michelle Buffardi (the vice president of digital editorial for Food Network and the Cooking Channel at Scripps), panelists offer usable ideas and methods to ensure sustainability in the workplace, one satisfied worker at a time.
Workplaces often consist of people from different generations, with older supervisors frequently managing the way they were taught decades ago. When that happens, according to Lawrence McFadden – the general manager and COO at Union Club in Cleveland, Ohio – that can lead to closed businesses and/or fleeing employees. Human capital, he says, is a company’s most important resource and it’s crucial to effectively manage people to create a sustainable work environment. What that means today is not what it meant in the past.
Chef John Clark, the executive chef of catered events at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida sees getting young chefs to the next levels in their careers and making them feel wanted as challenges, while Eat ‘N Park CEO Mark Broadhurst has needed to tackle the challenge of managing company culture as the business has grown.
Clark believes that happiness begins at home and, if a worker isn’t happy there – perhaps worried about student loans or other financial woes – he or she won’t be happy at work. Clark therefore does his best to learn about each employee to see how to help him or her in the most effective way possible.
Broadhurst says that happy employees are those who take pride in their workplace and advocate for the company, while McFadden points out the need for heart and soul, and for managers to use appropriate tools to select employees with the desired personality – and then shape, motivate and harness their talents. You can’t make someone, he points out, want to serve someone else. You need to select people who already have that desire.
Collective wisdom from the panel includes the following pieces of paraphrased advice:
Here’s a look at what each of the panelists – including the MC – say about official rules in the sustainable workplace.
When McFadden set up a breakfast roundtable, one where stewards and night cleaners with a collective 185 years of hospitality service sat down on tables with white cloths and silver, he came to a significant realization. These marvelous workers had never been treated to such an experience, and yet they were expected to serve others in that way. So, he says, it’s important to provide the appropriate emotional experiences as rewards to your employees.
Broadhurst shares a story about a dish washer who had worked for his company for 50 years and had never owned a car. So, they bought him a car. After realizing they’d set a precedent – and recognizing how they couldn’t buy everyone who reached 50 years of service a car – they began finding other ways to reward these long-time employees. For one employee, a new deck was the best reward for 50 years of service. Broadhurst also advocates sometimes taking over tasks that employees dislike, such as cutting strawberries.
Farmer Lee believes that transparency is key, being open and honest with employees, while Clark likes to flip the reward pyramid upside down and focus on rewarding people who usually are the last to get rewarded, such as dish washers. Lawrence talks about empowering employees, giving them the ability – and the budget – to solve problems themselves.
Presentations given at our annual culinary conference are so jam-packed with information that it isn’t possible to record all of them in blog-sized chunks. So, we invite you to watch a video of this entire presentation about creating a sustainable work environment, including the Q&A session.
Also watch for information about Roots 2018, which will be here before you know it! We’re looking forward to welcoming previous attendees back, and to seeing new faces and hearing new ideas, and we’re already deep into planning Roots 2018.