A school foodservice director trains a staff member in the kitchen.

Keep your valuable team intact

Training and development lasts for the entire employee lifecycle.

Whether you lead a K-12 kitchen or campus dining program, finding food and nutrition services workers is hard. So is keeping them. Effective training and development can create a happier and stronger team.

With a labor shortage still bearing down on the foodservice industry, there’s a new buzzword in town: upskilling. 

It speaks to growing your valuable employees by showing the opportunities and challenging them to achieve more. Upskilling reduces costly turnover, service gaps and staff shortages in your dining operation.

The value of training and development

The first step to retaining workers is through training and development. It’s an ongoing process, lasting for the entire employee life cycle.

Why does it matter? Studies have shown that 64% of workers leave citing a lack of growth opportunities. A Work Institute report cites this as the No. 1 reason for quitting 11 years in a row.

Here are three steps to creating training and development programs:

1. Personalize a plan for each employee
This is non-negotiable! No two employees are alike, so training and development must be individualized.

  • Talk to team members about their interests and goals.
  • Match each person's interests to available roles or skill gaps in your organization.
  • Identify interest in succession planning for leadership roles.
  • Have them own the plan and its progress.
  • Revisit the plan and check progress regularly.

2. Create clear job descriptions
Again, every job has its own responsibilities, so spell out how every role functions in your organization.

  • Clearly state competencies, responsibilities and qualifications.
  • Use this as a starting point to communicate expectations.
  • Enable employees to see what skills they need or steps to take for growth.

3. Offer defined training
Establish a way to achieve the competencies stated in job descriptions.

  • Use education partners and associations for training resources.  
  • Train managers to prioritize staff development.
  • Budget for the cost of training:
  • Find grants and administrative funding  
  • Allocate time during the work day for learning activities