By Eva-Marie Fox, CFSP Vice President of Marketing T&S Brass Travelers Rest, S.C.Take, for example, water. Seventy years ago, almost no one was talking about water shortages or conservation. Today, that valuable resource can be expensive or just hard to get depending on an operation's location. As a result, we've adapted, striving to optimize resources through products that are relevant to our customers' needs — whether that means conservation or energy savings or safety. Like so many other challenges in the foodservice industry, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Changing Needs

This focus on staying relevant remains inextricably tied to an organization's employees, whose creativity and inventiveness fuel innovation and who play a critical role in a business' well-being. As we've adapted to the changes in water use in the foodservice industry, we have also adapted to the changing needs of our workforce.

The younger generation coming into business today wants to feel valued. They want to be part of the conversation and to be influencers. They want a healthy team environment, an opportunity to be given a problem and run with a solution, and an opportunity to express themselves. They want to know the solutions they offer contribute to the company and mean something.

It's all valuable, but it's a different mindset than previous generations. It's not so much "here's your job." It's much more of a partnership between company and employee, with a focus on how to help each person learn and grow.

Invite Everyone to the Table

All employees must feel they have a place at the table. Every company will approach this in their own way. For us, it's important to show we value and respect diverse opinions. I have always found when you include everyone and keep generating ideas and moving forward, you have a workforce that does well together and helps support the continued success of their company.

For companies throughout the foodservice community, including ours, continuing to focus on adapting and developing relationships will remain critical in developing new, innovative solutions.

There's a lot of potential change out there: We all need to jump in and take care of things. Nothing good comes from standing still.