Creating great culture creates a great product
A strong culture is the foundation to any successful business and will naturally drive your profits in a positive direction, says Scott Bush.
By Scott Bush.
I was told once by someone that we are programmed to expect things to change with the passing of one year and the start of another. This programming occurs during school years when we move up to the next class and start anew; new teachers, new subjects, maybe new class mates. This learned practise is carried with us as we begin our working lives. We brace ourselves for it, and hopefully embrace it.
So with 2015 upon us it is the perfect time to look at our business and understand what we are doing well and what we can improve on and where necessary makes changes. Some of the things we can change may require a long term focus, but a quick win for both your business and your staff is to focus on culture. A strong culture is the foundation to any successful business and will naturally drive your profits in a positive direction.
A strong culture is something I push within Domino’s, both at a head office level and in our stores. I encourage our managers to adopt a culture focused management style as the by-product of a good culture is a better product and service.
In order to have culture work in your business you need to understand personally what makes your company so special. Without having a clear understanding yourself you cannot ingrain this into your team. If you love your brand, your staff will too.
Build a culture that you can maintain – and continue to build on – this isn’t a quick fix while you move on to the next thing; it is a continuous area of focus. Some key points that I encourage my management team to work on are:
Encourage teamwork: Having staff that work as a team ensures efficiencies across all aspects of your business. The staff will naturally keep an eye out for each other and ensure the opportunities for failure are minimised. A natural camaraderie will also be formed which will lift spirits and make your workplace inviting for existing staff and new staff. At Domino’s we cross train our staff so that everyone can pitch in where necessary and work as a team when things get busy, the knowledge that there is someone else who can (and will) help greatly lifts spirits.
Share information: Let your team know your goals and make them their goals. If everyone is on board and working towards the common end point then you reduce the risk of someone going off in the wrong direction. With the teamwork already instilled they will all be wililng go above and beyond their job description to meet the company goals. We have regular meetings to share our results and set targets of what we want to achieve in the next period. We all agree on the goals and aims, ensuring we are all on the same page and the staff own them.
Make time to have fun: Yes you have hired the staff to work but who says you can’t make time to play? Share with the team any wins you achieve or goals you meet and make time to celebrate and reward them. A happy team will rub off on your product and service and the customers will notice. A smile is contagious. We encourage sports teams within our stores, we even have inter-store competitions; we have pizza making races and set other fun activities that lighten the mood during quiet times in the store.
Be flexible and understanding: While you want to ensure your staff are reliable and trustworthy it is also a give-and-take relationship. Be flexible to the needs of your staff. If your staff know they can ask for time off when something pops up they will feel more appreciated and have higher morale. Flexibility breeds loyalty amongst your staff, they will not take your flexibility for granted as they do not want to lose the trust. At Domino’s we make sure we have our rosters set well in advance to ensure the staff can make changes as they need to, we are also very aware of study needs and family needs and make changes to roster accordingly.
Listen to your team: Make your staff know that you value their opinion. They work in the business just as you do and may have some great ideas that will help your business, product or service. A little idea could make a big difference and everyone likes to be listened to – and know they have been heard. They may just have the next big thing. At Domino’s we like to have ideas from our staff and many of our products come from our staff, like our current Infused Lava Cakes. Great ideas can be born out of the knowledge that they will be listened to.
Truly engaged employees don’t just leave the job when they clock off, they are willing to put the extra effort in and go the extra mile for you and the company as they feel valued and want to be there and be part of the success. They will also talk about the company to their friends, so not only do you reduce turnover you increase your talent pool for future hires.
Make sure your staff want to be there. Customers will know and the product and service will reflect it.
Scott Bush is the New Zealand General Manager of Domino’s Pizza.
February 2, 2015