It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Inservice

In her May article, “That’s Infotainment,” consultant JoAnne Robinett, MSA, SNS, includes multitudinous examples of directors who choose to add pizzazz to their back-to-school planning and zing to their yearly inservice. But what about jingling and mingling? That’s what Judy Estrada does for her staff once per year during the inservice described here, in her words. 

“During our mid-year holiday managers’ meeting, our department supervisory staff does something similar to the inservices led by Terri Whitacre, SNS, mentioned in the “That’s Infotainment” article. We have a repertoire of over a dozen Christmas holiday songs that a few of our supervisors have re-written with new lyrics ("Silver Spoons" written to the tune of "Silver Bells;" "Deck the Kitchen" written to the tune of "Deck the Halls;" "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Lunch Time" written to the tune of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas;" "Kitchen Wonderland" to the tune of "Winter Wonderland;" etc.).

We write a new song every year and supervisors sing the new song to the group, with the managers joining in afterward to sing a few of the older songs that were written in previous years. We have group photos with Santa every year; one year we had an "ugly sweater contest” with creative, kitchen-themed, homemade "ugly" sweaters; and everyone always wears their favorite holiday hats and headgear to the meeting.

As part of our start-up meeting, we also recognize our "Shining Star" award recipients every year. These are our department's mission/core value management staff awards, of which we have five. Recipients are nominated by peer management staff and supervisors; administration and supervisors vote on the winners.

Last year, it was called the "Jedi Star Recognition" part of our start-up meeting program and the award recipients walked up the aisle under a lightsaber arch to receive their awards.

The previous year, we had an Academy Award-themed meeting, and the recognition part of the meeting was called the "Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars!". Each of the awardees (all managers dressed in their "finest" that year) walked the red carpet and got to kneel beside their "Walk of Fame Star" on the ground to have their photo taken by the "paparazzi".

Every year during this recognition part of the program, we read a series of nice comments written on the nomination forms by the awardee's peers and supervisors. Each awardee gets a gift card (donated by vendors) and a Shining Star wall plaque (created by our district print shop) to hang in their kitchen office. It’s a great, fun way to recognize kitchen management staff.”

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