Guest Contributor

Employee Engagement in the Food Industry

By | Elaine Bennett

We can all agree that highly engaged and motivated workers are the driving force behind any successful company. This, however, is nowhere more evident than in the case of the food industry where low effort can be noticed from a mile. A lot of people out there consider online cooking workshops nothing short of an art. There is no way you will be able to keep your company afloat if your customers are feeling that your clients are simply going through the motions.

Fortunately, things really don’t have to go down this road if you put enough effort into rekindling the relationship with your employees and bringing them closer to the values of your brand. Let us take a look at how you can do that in the most efficient and streamlined manner.

Start making changes at the very top

Alexander the Great once famously said that we would much rather face the army of lions led by sheep than an army of sheep led by a lion. Well, he was, for the most part, right, and if you are feeling that your workers are losing their mojo, it might just be that they are working under poor leadership. So, take a look at some of the traits that are making a good business leader and try to emulate them in every possible instance. Once your workers see this fresh energy and initiative coming from you and other senior staff, they will be taken over by the momentum and they will feel motivated to put more effort.

Lose the goals

This may sound like a bit controversial move since effective goal setting is one of the easiest ways to keep the workers motivated and focused on the activities that truly make the difference. But, if you make the entire workload into an endless pursuit of the next milestone, your workers will adopt the factory line mentality and, inevitably, start slacking. So, while you are keeping track of overall progress try simply dropping the goals and let your employees do what they do the best and get some kick out of it in the process. Keep the things that need to be tracked within your office and among senior staff.

Offer various perks and incentives

These were always the simplest ways to keep the employees happy, loyal and engaged. In the current circumstances where the US are experiencing one of the greatest labor shortages in recent history, every perk you offer to your workers is another incentive for them to stick around. As for the tools you can use to meet these goals, you literally have the option to use anything that keeps your workers happy. Gym membership? Sure, throw in a supply of vitamins and supplements for good measure. Meal allowances, free food, online courses, discounts, and coupons? All these options are on the table.

Offer flexible scheduling

Time is the only truly finite resource on the planet Earth. And rest assured, the outbreak of COVID-19 did teach us just how valuable the time spent with our friends and families can truly be. Well, this train has left the station and now there is no turning back. According to a recent survey, about 50% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Z respondents put flexibility at the very top of their priorities when considering employment options. So, there you have an instant way to keep your workers happy and fully engaged. Do your best then to stay out of scheduling and figure things on their own. They will be able to rise to the occasion.

Encourage personal and professional growth

Sure, your business is centered on food. But, cooking can’t be the one and only thing the daily lives of your workers will be based on. If you expose them to that, the craft they find enjoyable will soon turn into a chore. So, try to shake things up a bit by allowing your employees to use work hours and business infrastructure to grow on a personal and professional level. Enroll them in self-improvement courses, encourage the culture of lifelong learning, and put more emphasis on team-building exercises and trips. The greater part the business plays in the life of workers, the more motivated they will be to see it thrive.

Constantly ask for feedback

Last but not least, we would like to remind you that open, transparent, and two-way communication makes the foundation of any successful business relationship. The road to achieving this level of honesty is long and requires a lot of mutual trust. But, you can start paving it by constantly asking the feedback from your employees and acting according to their suggestions. Making your staff a part of the decision-making process and allowing them to express their opinions without fear of being penalized or judged will give them a much greater sense of the ownership of the company and keep them more engaged.

So, there you have it – the top six ways to keep your food business light and breeze and your workers as engaged as they could possibly get. Cooking and the food industry, in general, are the sector where people are allowed to demonstrate an exceeding level of passion and creativity. When they feel inclined to do that and they have the right platform, the magic occurs. You really want this level of engagement under your roof. Roll up your sleeves then and make your company the best employer the workers could wish for.

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