What do residents, families, staff, suppliers say about you? Do they share your vision? Do they boast about the quality of your meals service?
I recently visited a facility with a good reputation, and according to the residents, offered better meals than other aged care facilities in the area. Still, I felt tension and unease when talking with the staff and residents about meal services. Thoughts were carefully weighed up before being shared, opinions were guarded and conflict denied.
In contrast, in another facility the larger than life manager frequents the resident areas daily to banter with residents and staff. Residents and staff undertake projects to reach a collective desired outcome. Residents are valued. Ideas are pooled. Participation is wide spread.
I hear management, fellow staff, suppliers and residents saying that the hospitality staff are slack, insubordinate, lazy, manipulative. I observe staff who love their residents and know their unwritten likes and dislikes. They are often change fatigued with no digital support to remember mountains of continuously changing information. Staff do the best they can with little or no hospitality training.
I hear residents, staff, fellow managers, suppliers and media describing some Care Managers as ogres, harsh, Scrooges focussed on the budget/accreditation/saving their own backside. I observe Care Managers with little expertise in Hospitality, trying to make sense of conflicting stakeholder interests (residents, Board, C Suite, finance, supply, HR, IT, property, PR, families, accreditors, auditors, allied health, suppliers, contractors, peers, unions, social media, etc).
When managers are time poor, under skilled, under pressure, risk averse or financially challenged, I understand why they grab onto a cross-your-fingers solution which sounds plausible with minimal identified risk.
I have seen and heard of many examples introduced to solve one problem, and before they know it, a heap of other problems arise, often at no savings – or even at more expense to the original issue.
There is no point sacking the Chef, when the meal is murdered after leaving the kitchen and before the resident receives their meal. Reactive management sacking staff, changing processes, buying equipment, reducing hours, cutting costs, switching suppliers may be appealing but is not strategic or wise if cost benefit relies on unfounded assumptions or systems which lack integrity.
While tempting to jump headlong into a solution, we encourage clients to produce a stakeholder matrix and map all activities along the meal services value stream from planning to serving. This establishes a solid foundation for proposing, evaluating and implementing solutions which improve quality at optimal cost and gives residents something to crow about.
Before jumping into a solution, contact us to discuss the 14 areas we explore to develop meal service quality outcomes with an Action Plan.