“People decisions are the most important decisions we make.” -Dee Ann Turner
Dee Ann Turner is now the Vice President, Enterprise Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A, but before that, she was Vice President, Corporate Talent for 16 years as part of her 30+ year career at the what Nation’s Restaurant News called “the hottest big chain in the country.”
And the proof of putting people first shows – over the past five years, sales have increased nearly 73%. At this point, Chick-fil-A may have surpassed Dunkin Donuts as the 7th largest restaurant chain in the country. All this despite their stores being closed every Sunday.
I remember my first time at a Chick-fil-A, thanking them for my order and hearing, “It’s my pleasure.”
I was a bit in disbelief and couldn’t help but wonder if it was just a product of great employee training and at the same time, it didn’t matter! Great customer service is one of the last remaining ways a company can set itself apart today. The experience of ordering fast food and not feeling like a burden to the employees makes me come back for the chicken every time.
The Book on Making People Decisions
Dee Ann Turner also wrote a book by the same title, It’s My Pleasure, in case you want to benefit from the wealth of wisdom that is the foundation of Chick-fil-A’s culture. As the former VP of Corporate Talent, she focused on how to hire and develop people who would continue to uphold Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy’s core values of Excellence, Integrity, Generosity, and Loyalty.
After all, it’s not enough to hire someone and train them to say, “It’s my pleasure.” That’s too easy to see through. They need to be given the environment and leadership to be able to say it and mean it.
“We are not in the chicken business, we are in the people business” – Truett Cathy
Six Must-Do’s of Selecting Talent
Here are Dee Ann Turner’s six must-do steps when selecting corporate talent:
- Carefully craft the profile of the role you wish to fill
- More than just putting together a job description with desired skills and experience, think about what skills the person in that role needs to be successful now and in the future. Look at the bigger picture of how this person will fit into your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Source candidates from different networks and sources
- Avoid using a single recruiter or network to find candidates. Create a diverse candidate pool to make every hire a chance to introduce fresh energy and ideas that could stimulate team performance.
- Use behavioral-based interviewing questions
- When interviewing, don’t ask, “What would you do if…” questions. To get a better idea of candidate performance, ask questions about how candidates managed situations in the past.
- Thoroughly check references
- Don’t just verify employment. Interview references to ask for specific behavioral examples of characteristics you want to see in your candidate. Get the fullest picture you can of the candidate’s past performance, while also checking that they have the same level of integrity required.
- Encourage the candidate to think carefully before joining the team
- Chick-fil-A doesn’t go as far as Amazon and Zappos by paying new employees to quit but in a culture where loyalty and commitment are key, but they do try to talk employees out of joining the team. The idea is that it is better to know that someone is a bad fit now than later – when both parties have already made a significant investment in each other.
- Commit to success
- Once a new employee has been accepted, Chick-fil-A engages the value of loyalty, committing to do whatever is necessary to grow and maximize that employee’s strengths so that they can succeed.
You may not use these specific steps, but notice how many of them reinforce and perpetuate the core values of Chick-fil-A’s company culture. How does your hiring process reflect your company’s values?
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