3 Key Aspects of GM Engagement

March 30, 2019 | 1499 Views

3 Key Aspects of GM Engagement

Toni Quist, FMP

Chief People Officer | Perkins & Marie Callender's, LLC

In January, I once again had the opportunity to attend TDn2K’s Global Best Practices Conference. The timing allowed reflection and alignment for our team’s work in 2019. 

When we are lucky enough to attend an event such as this, the team at Perkins & Marie Callender’s does recaps each day of key learnings. This is a practice we mastered more than 20 years ago at CHART. We take time to study the agenda and outline key objectives to take from an event before we arrive and some team members even prepared a template in advance! 

During the conference, I was invited to a breakfast where Gallup provided invaluable insight into their work within our industry, GM Connect. The Gallup research is very insightful in regards to General Manager (GM) engagement, retention, and links to overall top quartile performance for the industry.  

Our team works every day to impact both retention and engagement as we support operators in Driving Profitable Guest Counts and Building a Winning Team. (Two of our five pillars.) Ongoing development, recognition, and the value/ importance of their role were all key findings.  

The statistics are sobering, and the Gallup experts shared that only 27% of GMs in our industry are engaged; compared to 61% in all industries.  

A few of my conference notes highlighted three key aspects of engagement:  

I have a best friend at work. 

Developing meaningful relationships with others at work is key for lasting engagement. Though this Gallup item is controversial, human beings are social animals, and loyalty exists not only for the organization, but to other individuals. To help build healthy relationships at work and strengthen teamwork, you should consider emphasizing ongoing development of subordinates so that the GM does not feel a lack of support or that they are carrying the entire business on their backs; continued emphasis of a culture where Support Team members and supervisors are at the ready to assist as a partner. Our organization continues to expand LMS through DiscoverLink modules, and approaches management development with StrengthFinder.   

I have opportunities for work-life balance. 

It was reported that only 14% of GMs feel their organization is providing opportunities for work-life balance. For GMs, there is a high focus on operations and minimal focus on development. Further, only 23% of GMs feel their coworkers are committed to quality of work, which creates a low level of trust and confidence for the GM. 

I like to think of Work-Life Integration or Harmony as the best approach to long-term engagement. Gallup and TDn2K’s GM Connect measures a vital piece of the overall puzzle – manager engagement. GMs are the key to engagement overall, which is why GM Connect is such a critical measure.  However, the Gallup research also shows that a brand needs to incorporate a holistic People Operating Model that creates: 

  1. A culture focused on service values.
  2. An optimized Service-Profit Chain to gain loyalty and increase share of stomach.
  3. A talent pipeline that finds, attracts, and retains the top industry talent.  

At Perkins & Marie Callender’s, this takes shape in reinforcement of period (4 week) schedules so that our managers can identify important dates/times they need to best integrate work into their lives. The importance of rotation of weekend time off is emphasized! ALL communication supports the fact that we are GOOD PEOPLE doing GOOD WORK.  

I have received recognition in the past seven days. 

That is not a cake, balloon, new car, or a parade celebration, but simply feeling valued. For example, appreciation for handling a difficult situation or on the spot for execution/performance. Making them feel valued as an individual (leader) vs. performance. Simply a “Thank you, Jamie, for going above and beyond with your leadership during the recent bad weather. Few could have juggled to keep all the balls in the air as well as you did!” Versus “Nice job with labor last week.” 

Reflecting on the event, I am even more committed than ever that we can and will continue to break out from the average as an employer. I left the event confident that in the spirit of Learning, Sharing, Growing, and Caring we will increase GM engagement!!

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