Mon, 26 December 2016
Dee Ann Turner is the Vice President of Enterprise Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A. She was previously the Vice President of Corporate Talent at Chick-fil-A for 16 years. She is the author of a book called, It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and A Compelling Culture. Chick-fil-A is a fast-food restaurant based out of Atlanta with over 2,000 locations all over the U.S. They have 100,000 team members including 1,600 in their corporate offices.
Corporate culture is one of the most important aspects of an organization and it is a major topic of discussion nowadays. One company that is getting corporate culture right is Chick-fil-A. The original founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, believed that Chick-fil-A was “not in the chicken business, but in the people business” and the way he developed and lead the company was a true testament to that belief. Cathey advised Turner to remember that, “people decisions are the most important decisions we can make”.
Chick-fil-A has steadily increased in sales every year and their retention rates are phenomenal, which is rare for the fast food industry. They have franchisees from ages 19 to 80 with very diverse backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. They state that their purpose is, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Chick-fil-A has a very unique corporate culture and it really focuses on building up and investing in their employees. They truly are a company whose focus is on people, both the employees and the customers.
Turner explains that Chick-fil-A incorporates one thing as an umbrella over everything that they do and that is the idea that they care about people personally. “Employees and guests are not just a name, they are a story and people know their story”. She says that Chick-fil-A employees celebrate milestones in each other’s lives. They throw baby showers and wedding showers, they attend their kids’ sporting events, they listen to each other and give advice. They understand that “to be innovative, you have to be diverse” and one of their core beliefs is that you should treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect.
Leaders in the company are trained in and encouraged to use the Serve Model. Each letter in the word serve stands for a value. S is for see and shape the future because leaders should have vision and they should be able to articulate that vision to others. E is for engage and develop others. R is for reinvent continuously and the ability to be willing to change things up. V stands for valuing results as well as relationships and the last E is to embody the values of the company which include generosity, loyalty and excellence. Chick-fil-A believes that the higher up you are in the company, the more responsibility you have to embody the serve model. The focus is putting others before yourself.
Chick-fil-A also has some very unique perks for their employees. Their headquarters have outdoor workspaces with full wifi, they have a cafe with free lunches, the company offers great health care and they allow employees to use condos owned by management for vacations. They also have an annual conference and one year they rented out the largest cruise ship in the world for it.
Corporate culture is vitally important for successful organizations. It shapes who you are as a company, it helps you attract and retain great talent and it helps you focus on where you need to go in the future. Chick-fil-A is a great example of how putting people first can go a long way in creating an amazing corporate culture.
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(Music by Ronald Jenkees)