• I was fortunate a couple of weeks ago to be able to listen to a leadership seminar presented by Patrick Lencioni, the author of “The Ideal Team Player.”  This book is by far my favorite book of 2017.  It was amazing to hear him take a deep dive into team member engagement.  I will try to share his thoughts and try to unpack his thesis in our quick-serve setting.  One reason I think that this book hits home is that it mirrors a statement that Phil Keiser of Culver’s would always say; “Hire, Train & Retain.”  These are the exact three phases that Lencioni talks about in his book.
  • During this seminar, Lencioni broke down team member engagement and retention into a three-phase approach.  Phase one is that the team member needs to feel known.  Phase two is that the team member needs to know that their job matters.  Phase three is that the team member must be able to measure their own success.  He reminds us that there is a vast difference in having a good job versus a fulfilling job and that people get burned out when we do not have all three phases in action.
  • Being Known.  People want to feel that they belong and that they are part of something larger than themselves.  One person that embodies this is Craig Culver.  Whenever Craig goes into a restaurant he personally greats every team member and makes them feel part of the brand.  What do you do in your daily routine to know your team members better?  One thing we try to do is to take a picture of all new hires and post it on our internal Google site so all of the managers can talk to a new worker by name the first time they see them in the building.  What an easy way to set the culture of being known right from day one.  The best managers and leaders are the ones that know what is going on in the lives of their team.  They take the time to ask questions, listen and then ask follow up questions to let the other person know that they are indeed listening.  If you can ask a team member about their child or parent it goes a long way to show that you care about them on a personal level.  Come up with a semi-personal question to ask every team member once a week.
  • Their Job Matters.  In some jobs it is easy to feel that your job matters.  It is up to us in the restaurant industry to paint the picture to all of our team members why every job matters.  People visit a restaurant for many reasons, some are having a great day, some are having a bad day and some just want to escape their responsibilities for a few minutes.  Whatever the reason our primary goal and purpose is to make sure that the people leave happier than when they arrived.  Food can have a healing effect on people.  It is our responsibility to never undervalue our role in someone’s happiness for the day.  Sometimes it is those guests that seem like they are in the worst mood that I try to go out of my way to make smile.  The easiest way to help others feel happy is to smile yourself.  Be nice!  If you care about others and if you like to make others happy the service industry is for you.  Remember that both attitudes and smiles are contagious.
  • Define Success.  Our team needs to be able to know if they are doing a good job or not.  If they have no way of knowing they will lose interest and become less engaged.  One of the best ways to define is success is if there is a way that the team member can know and self assess at the end of every shift.  Does each position understand what success looks like?  Can each person say if they won their shift?  Can we help each person see how important each of their positions are to our overall organization?  Help give people a goal for the shift and ask them to self assess themselves at the end of their shift.  How did you do today?  Let them give you the answer.  If you don’t agree, ask them how they could do even better on their next shift and maybe give them one suggestion if they do not have any ideas.  If you see something happening during the shift, try to provide one coaching technique and then as the shift goes along praise the method if you see it in action.
  • Following these three above principles on a daily basis will lead to better team member engagement and an improved company culture.  Ask yourself which one of the three you need to focus on first in your organization and start to implement the process every day.

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