Consider the disadvantages of not prioritizing Professional Standards in child nutrition past –  being chewed out by the next in line, or being exposed by disclosed administrative review summations at the end of your audits.

Although no fiscal action is associated with noncompliance, state agencies are required to provide the necessary support to ensure that goals are being met. This is passed down to district directors, and then managers, and they in turn continue to pass it along to the staff that run the essential day-to-day operations.

This hierarchy is essential. The dissemination of accountability, motivation and enthusiasm to meet goals along with the tools to do so must be in continuous motion from one director, manager, or staff member, to the next.

So if you find your program or employees are falling behind, or you yourself are falling behind consistently, your program may not face financial sanctions – but your personal pocketbook might if you aren’t meeting the requirements of your career.

Make employees feel a part of the team and empower them in their own career through smart planning guidelines like the ones below. If you follow nothing else on this series, follow these points, or at least make sure someone above you does!

Directors and Managers must:

  • Plan training well in advance.
  • Offer as many choices as possible.
  • Target training to the needs of their program based on feedback at all levels.
  • Post the training calendar and descriptions.
  • Provide reminder notices to those who signed up for training.
  • Have a solid tracking system to make audits easy during administrative reviews.

The ultimate purpose of USDA establishing professional standards training  is to ensure the quality of school meals, reduce errors, and enhance program integrity, so don’t lose sight of that!

Creating a Team Environment

Getting everyone on board with your goals and meeting them is all a matter of tracking in an interactive way. Having an organized way to track training is only the first step to making this process more self-manageable for staff.

Getting everyone involved takes only a few interactive steps that can be easy to delegate if you don’t find the time to execute them all yourself.

Your individual cafeterias can create boards within the back offices so that staff have constant access to records about their training.

Prepare ahead of time by creating a calendar of all the semester’s or year’s professional training you will be offering. Your inability to prepare as a leader will lead to the ability of your staff to succeed and take accountability for themselves.

Gauge your staff to find out which training topics within their relevant roles will interest them most to learn about.

Foster a community atmosphere if you have a big staff and section off groups of those who have similar requirements to compete with others.

This is going to lessen the amount of time you have to spend tracking every hour and micromanaging which employees are planning to go to which training.

Remember that even if they earn additional hours of training than is necessary, these hours can roll over to either cover the previous or upcoming year.

Let your staff feel your investment in their professional development as genuine. Communicate through this that your goal is not simply to meet basic requirements.

Instead, it’s to foster a program that is successful, and individuals with the knowledge, ability, and opportunity to move up within it.

Preserving the enthusiasm and willingness of all the professionals in your organization may not always be possible, but showing them you care about the quality of the time they spend with you may aid in that.

Additional Free Resources:

Team Work– Check out this free Professional Standards tracking software created by PrimeroEdge.

Professional Standards Webbie– Sign up to learn more about Professional Standards.

Professional Standards eBook– Learn how to manage and track for success.

Professional Standards Blog Series– Dive in deeper to learn even more about Professional Standards.