2012 December: Creating a Company Culture

2012 December: Creating a Company CultureEvery business owner wants a company culture in which employees are happy to work hard to foster business growth and profits. But achieving this winning atmosphere can prove elusive.

First and foremost, you must have a well-defined company vision, mission and set of values. What is your company all about? Where is it now? Where is it going? Next, develop a strategic action plan for getting there. When it’s time to execute the plan, your company culture should be evident in every aspect—from your marketing materials to your menu items to your employees. The first two are relatively easy to implement, but the real return comes from your employees.

When your employees buy in to your company culture, they’re motivated to help you increase pizzeria profits. Your employees aren’t simply hired hands; they’re the people who make and deliver your pizzas, who maintain your equipment and restaurant, and who represent your company directly to customers. Thus, it stands to reason that happy employees who believe in your mission have a direct impact on business growth and profitability. Implementing a winning employee company culture is paramount to achieving the highest possible level of success, and you can do so by understanding the following three keys:

1. Reward

Performance-based incentives are some of the best tools for motivating employees to follow company culture. Recognize when employees do something outstanding and then reward them for it. Make sure your other employees know who is being rewarded and why. Reasons to reward your employees include perfect attendance, handling a busy period well, coming up with a great idea, or anything else that aligns with the company culture you’ve implemented.

Often, recognition is reward enough, but add in incentives such as gift cards, concert tickets or a paid day off to make employees feel extra-special. Your employee reward program can also serve as a launch pad for promoting your company culture to customers. You might, for example, place photos of honored employee in your dining area along with an explanation of their reward. Or, when you give out a large reward or team reward, you could submit press releases to local media to highlight employee excellence and showcase your company culture.

2. Involve

Telling your employees about your company culture isn’t enough; you have to involve them in it. Your employees are in the trenches, if you will, and often have great ideas for making your business more efficient and profitable. Invite them to submit suggestions, and reward them for it. You might have a “Great Idea of the Week” board, for example. Make it fun to get involved; your employees will respond.

Ideas with merit should be further developed by those who originate them. Make this work by empowering your employees to investigate whether their proposals will succeed. Be open and honest about your business issues. If you are, your employees will come forward with solutions—so long as their ideas are genuinely considered and they do not have to fear failure. Involve employees with your business this way makes them feel important and highly valued, and they will feel responsible for your company’s success. Such a sense of responsibility is an outstanding motivator.

3. Follow Through

Many companies begin to implement company culture, only to find that time constraints prohibit them from following through. The best intentions then become good ideas never enacted. Involving and rewarding employees is critical to your success, but these strategies can only work when consistently applied. Employees won’t buy in to company culture if they’re continually disappointed by a lack of rewards and involvement. Actions speak louder than words, and as a pizzeria owner or manager you must practice what you preach.

Continually track and measure rewards and involvement levels for each employee. Make sure those who consistently work to grow your business are recognized for their efforts. If an employee’s big idea continues to be profitable long after implementation, take the time to thank them again.

Rather than chastising underperforming employees, take the time to learn what their interests and motivators are. Maybe you haven’t provided the right incentive. It can be a small thing: One of your delivery drivers, for example, might be more interested in coming up with ideas for route efficiency if she were to be rewarded with concert tickets rather than movie tickets. If you know that, you know what button to push.

You want your employees to be excited about coming to work and making your products and services better and more profitable. To do so, you must educate employees about your culture, involve them in fostering business growth, reward them for their efforts with motivational incentives, and consistently measure employee performance in regards to company culture. When your employees buy in, they go all in to help your business achieve growth and profits.

Company culture is one of three topics World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year Shawn Randazzo, of Detroit Style Pizza Co., will be covering at the Pizza Expo in March. He also will present seminars on “Maximizing Delivery Profits” and “Making the Most of Online Orders.”

For more details on International Pizza Expo 2013, visit www.pizzaexpo.com.

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