Mary Brown’s journey with Kudos began just over a year ago, and has been a very positive experience. Implementing Kudos was viewed by their board as a significant investment with clear ROI measured in terms of greater staff retention, in a better company culture, and a happier workforce.
Mary Brown’s are a growing chain of Quick Service Restaurants, offering chicken and taters for almost 50 years. Of their 140+ locations, 95% are franchised and they have opened more than 20 stores per year in the last 3 years. They have won the prestigious Canadian Franchise Award six years in a row. With this success comes a workforce of more than 2,000 – and rising.
Their tasty products consist primarily of locally sourced chicken and potatoes. Mary Brown’s say their chicken and potatoes are “made fresh from scratch” every day in every store.
Preparing such a home-style product was a laborious task. In regional meetings, their VP of Operations, Scott McCarthy heard his team of managers raise the serious problem of staff retention. Staff were walking across the street to work in other known brand franchises for a small wage increase. To counter this, the managers said they needed to increase staff wages, which meant an increase in customer prices.
Scott researched the issue, which suggested they needed to build “one Mary Brown’s” i.e. to create a positive culture of recognition, self-worth and sharing. He also wanted a means of recognising and rewarding every associate for their good work. These steps would address staff retention and create a company-wide culture of recognition, the chief driver of employee engagement. However, he needed the right tool.
Scott googled ‘workplace happiness’ and discovered Kudos. It seemed to address Mary Brown’s needs, so he set up a trial across a few stores. He customised Kudos to focus on giving and receiving recognition. In time, further functionality was offered: the first level enabled managers to give recognition. The next enabled associates to give peer-to-peer recognition. Points were then linked to rewards, which took the form of retail cards and a pre-paid credit card.
One feature everyone liked was ‘K+’ – the ‘like’ button. It allowed everyone on one side of Canada to ‘like’ the recognition given to an associate on the other side of Canada, including VP’s, Directors and even the CEO. This recognition could be seen on the Kudos home page feed. It had a positive impact on the associate and was a key element which sold Kudos to the Franchise Advisory Board. They now had the means to build great company culture.
When implementing Kudos, it was important to ‘take out the fear’. Initially, this took the form of weekly training webinars among managers. Run by Kudos staff, they allowed Kudos successes, improvements and questions to be raised over the weeks. They removed the fear and encouraged deeper digging into Kudos functionality. The webinars were a key element which supported local management buy-in.
In turn, local managers/franchisees helped their staff to use Kudos. Associates who were not able to have their phone to hand during their shift but were able to engage on Kudos at break times, lunchtimes and after work. Of particular use was the Kudos app, which runs on iOS and Android devices. Those without smartphones, if they did not already have email set up, were encouraged to get an email address to use as a channel to receive Kudos from managers or associates, and to give Kudos. This approach supported a successful roll out.
Mary Brown’s implemented Kudos at the beginning of 2016. Survey results viewed it as a very positive initiative, reflecting a clear Return on Investment (ROI). For example:
Kudos has helped Mary Brown’s to become a more engaged and respectful organisation, built on three pillars, which shine through to its customers:
Interview conducted by Dr. Paul Gadie, Gift Innovations
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