Convenors and P&C’s not getting a long seems to be quite a problem in some schools. Much of this comes back to a lack of communication, a lack of information and training.
So what can we do about it?
- Develop a Canteen/tuckshop policy manual or operating guidelines to operate the Canteen effectively and efficiently.
- To enable all staff to work quickly, efficiently and safely, Canteen staff require clear direction in the way P&C wants the Canteen to operate including a designated line manager/supervisor and induction and ongoing training for both paid and unpaid staff.
- The P&C should take steps to develop a business plan for the Canteen. The plan should include, as a minimum; a marketing plan, gross and net profit expectations and pricing policy.
- Communication system-To enable information flow to be accurate and adhered to a communication system is required. To avoid potential confusion and to give clear and concise instructions to Canteen staff a formal process is required. One option I know that seems to work very well is a memo system where staff then sign they have read and understood P&C directions. Print two copies for staff to sign. One copy stays in the Canteen, one copy goes to executive. Email me if you would like a pro forma. Ensure all memos are signed off on. Update your policy as required.
- I rarely see communication books work well. They often end up nasty. A formal process keeps every one professional.
- Consider intranet/internet access for the Canteen if you don’t have it.
- Complaints /grievances-Employees and unpaid staff must have the right to voice complaints and grievances. Have a formalised complaint and grievances process as a part of your policy.
- Annual performance reviews-When asked. 98% of Canteen staff report they have not had performance reviews. The purpose of performance reviews is to increase communication, establish clear expectations, reinforce good performance, improve unsatisfactory performance, and foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. It is advisable that Performance reviews for all Canteen staff are done once per year
- Timing- Don’t try to communicate with canteen staff at 10 am on a Friday morning. It is just too hectic. The memo system helps with timing as you can come back to it later when you are not busy.
- If you don’t like someone then do what everyone else does in the real world. Push your personal feelings aside and deal with people with courtesy in a friendly manner. We don’t have to like each other. We do have to work together.
- Be aware of what everyones role is and stick to it
If they say something that you don't like, back off and respond in a neutral way. Feeding into them only makes it worse. This is easier said than done but practice in front of a mirror responding to their remarks.
- If you have to write a nasty email then go ahead and write it. Just don’t hit send. Hit delete. If you have to reply and are angry, write the email and then walk away from it for 24 hours, come back and re read it and soften it up, take the anger out then hit send.
- Avoid feeding into others negative talking about the person.
- You get back what you give out. Be nice regardless of what others are doing. Show respect to others even if they do not extend the same courtesy to you. Don't allow negative attitudes or rude demands to upset you. If you want pleasant co-worker relationships, then you will need to realise that people behave a certain way for their own reasons and there is nothing you can do about it. Be the better person by returning negative behaviour with polite, respectful responses.
- Don’t gossip, don’t allow gossip. Stamp it out whenever you can