Our job is connecting companies. That’s particularly hard across restaurant chains, where the challenges are big and the returns huge. Consider the ingredients:
Head office staff. Working hard on brand, promotions and expansion, but not as connected to the restaurants as they would like.
Restaurant managers. Working on their own, trying to keep up with the changes and ideas coming from head office, while dealing with high employee turnover and demanding customers.
Employees. Showing up, but for the most part not investing a lot in their company and its culture, particularly those that are casual, part-time employees.
You create value when you connect, motivate and engage these three groups. A lot of value.
Step 1: Create a vibrant workplace community. A social intranet. If it is well launched, and is easy to use, people will come. Add content that is fresh and interactive and they will keep coming. Jostle has large restaurant chain customers with engagement levels over 80%. That’s amazing given how highly dispersed these employees are across isolated, and in many cases (disen-)franchised, restaurant locations.
As employees begin participating in a dynamic online community, these 8 things happen, all of which impact operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and innovation:
1. Peers start helping each other.
Most notably, previously isolated restaurant managers start to share ideas and observations. So do specialized restaurant team members. Soon problem solving and innovation is happening in diverse areas like music selection, wine matching, scheduling practices, recruitment methods, etc.
2.Feedback arrives from the field.
The true impact of menu changes is quickly understood. Ways to deal with a troublesome new ingredient get shared. Grass root ideas surface and get implemented.
3. Employee onboarding accelerates.
Training materials and videos are easier to access. More importantly, new employees can quickly understand the workplace as a community, seeing the collective commitment to its values and goals.
4. Ongoing learning happens.
Formal training becomes easier to consume and new peer-peer learning opportunities arise. Best practices are reinforced and spread as people see examples everywhere.
5. Coordination gets easier.
Logistics between head offices and restaurants become much easier to communicate. Promotions and menu changes don’t fall victim to confusing reply-all email chains. Plans can now be easily updated and clarified on the fly.
6. Staff engage.
Employees and restaurants feel better recognized. Individuals feel part of a community. Retention soars.
7. Values are shared.
As you begin sharing workplace stories, and recognizing the contributions of individuals and locations in real time, your values shine through and become believable.
8. Employees live your brand.
Engaged, caring employees bring brands to life. A vibrant workplace community, where accomplishments are celebrated makes this happen.
I’ll expand on these in future posts. But if you would like to learn more about what Jostle customers Houlihan’s and Harris + Hoole have accomplished click here to get a free copy of the substantive Temkin Group Insight Report on Social Employee Engagement.