DALLAS With indicators pointing toward stagnant growth in the restaurant industry for the next few years, attendees at the annual People Report Best Practices Conference exchanged ideas not only about how to improve recruitment and retention but also about how to polish corporate cultures.
The 14th annual conference, which took place in Dallas this week, was titled “Mixing Money and Meaning,” and focused on what changes the industry should undertake to best compete for workers.
Joni Thomas Doolin, founder and chief executive of People Report, in her presentation on “Capitalism 2.0 and the New Workplace,” suggested restaurant companies look to trend-setting competitors in the retail industry, such as Best Buy and NetFlix.
At electronic retailer Best Buy, Doolin said, “Any employee in the company can put an idea out to management and if it bubbles up to the top, they fund it.” Best Buy also has a flexible Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), with has led to positive results.
“Engagement goes up. Retention goes up. Results go up. Productivity goes up,” she said.
At movie-rental company NetFlix Inc., Doolin cited the human resources practices of Patty McCord, the chief talent officer there since 1998.
“Her mantra is: ‘Smart people. Hard problems,” Doolin said. “She has examined every single process, every single policy, every single practice, and thrown out a whole lot of them. They have no vacation policy. If people need vacation, they take vacation.”
NetFlix has exhibited the success of a company that looks at more than pay compensation, Doolin said.
“They pay them as much money as they can pay to get them at market rate,” she said. “They have no bonuses. They have no stock options. If they want stock, they can trade salary for it and buy it at discount … Their culture screams: autonomy, mastery, relatedness and, yet, purpose.”
Each year, People Report celebrates companies that have done especially well in human resources-focused endeavors. The company noted that the winners also tend to perform better on a financial basis, as well.
“We know that our Best Practices winners have better results in retention. We know they have better diversity. We know that they are strategically involved in their communities. We know they are doing all that stuff,” Doolin said. “We looked at all of our award winners this year and on average they outperformed their segments by 5 percent in comp sales.”
Those People Report winners included:
• Heart of the Workplace (for philanthropy): Hard Rock Café
• Catalyst Award: Cheesecake Factory
• Best practices award, guick-service segment: White Castle
• Best practices award, fast-casual/family dining: Eat’n Park Restaurants
• Best practices award, casual dining: Famous Dave’s
• Best practices award, fine dining/high volume: BJ’s Restaurant.
This year’s conference was chaired by Tom Davin, chief executive of Panda Express, and Linda Brandt, chief people officer of Panda Express.