Crafting a healthy work culture in 2024: 7 expert tips from hospitality leaders

Creating a workplace culture that allows people to thrive, is essential for a successful and harmonious kitchen environment.

Our chefs and industry experts share advice and strategies to respect diversity and motivate your team, ensuring everyone feels valued and supported. Strong leadership is the foundation for a happy and fair kitchen. Read on to learn how you can help your team to be productive and thrive. These insights from our FairKitchen ambassadors will help you kick off the new year on a positive note.

A strong leader is the foundation of a successful team

A leader is not just a chef. They become brothers, sisters, mental support and mentors. Support your team and make them feel protected. Assign roles and tasks based on skills and interests, not experience. This keeps people motivated and engaged. When the pressure is on, focus on the reason you entered this profession and your passion for it. Success hinges on the strength and unity of the team.

Elissa Aboutasse
Head Chef, Tahini

Small habits build a healthier environment

You can make your working environment healthier with small changes.
Speak to your manager about what makes you anxious about your daily work routine. Choose a colleague to be a wellbeing partner to share your struggles and motivate each other. Plan work efficiently. Focus on the present and what you can control. 

Sherif Afifi
Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions

Lead with openness and respect

Build a supportive environment for your entire staff, to inspire teamwork and to encourage the next generation to lead with kindness, patience and respect. Make sure your team knows they are humans first and employees second. Care about each other as people. Sometimes there is friction at work, don't shy away from difficult conversations and conflicts. Lean in and invest the time to resolve and improve. 

Naama Tamir
Co-owner, Lighthouse BK

Stand up for yourself

If someone treats you in a way that affects your mental health, have the courage to speak up. Explain respectfully that even though they might not intend their words to be negative, they are harming you. Just like we have training and awareness around food safety, we need programmes so people can learn how to work positively and constructively with others. 

Mariyam Shaazy
Demi chef de partie, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives

Watch the recording of A FAIR CHAT with Chef Mariyam Shaazy and Chef Joanne Limoanco, for more inspiration about empowering women in the foodservice industry.

Build a culture of fairness

We need to be respectful of each other and treat each other equally. The kitchen is an intense environment. We can support each other by exchanging knowledge and techniques. The day-to-day pressure can be minimised when we work as a team. Align the goals at the start of each shift, so everyone can work individually. We need to create opportunities for growth, valuing team members and motivating them. Offer study incentives, integration with other teams and courses.

Isabela Rodrigues
Chef Chains Indiretas, Unilever Food Solutions Brazil

Diversity creates a better working environment

A fair kitchen promotes tolerance. Make the effort to learn about the cultures of the people you work with. Protect diversity and inclusion by having a strict anti-discrimination policy, which all employees know about. Train staff members about their rights and responsibilities. Nurture respect through courtesy. When everyone understands the value of a healthy working environment, they will feel a part of something great.

Zana Alvarado
Chair, SA Chefs Association Women In Culinary

Respect and appreciate each other

Working as a chef can be challenging, so we have to prioritise mental health and safety. There are different types of people on diverse teams, so we need to build a culture of respect for each other. Teamwork and collaboration are essential. Always be a good example and empower the people who work with you. Appreciate them by giving rewards, increases and compliments.

Gungun Chandra
Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions Indonesia

Changing the culture in a workplace takes time. Managers need to lead by example and provide their teams with the training and support required for an inclusive and fair kitchen. It involves effort and dedication from everyone.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to increase your knowledge and set yourself up for success. Our free leadership training will equip you with the information and tools you need to build a fair kitchen. Sign up today and set your team and yourself up for success!

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