For every caterer, team communication and engagement is vital. If it’s done well, it fosters a culture of inclusivity, respect and trust within the business – and this has a lasting impact on retention, recruitment, succession planning, sustainability and growth.
The Importance of Communication
At bartlett mitchell, team communication has been a priority and focus for us this past year. Getting the groundswell of engagement is how we looked at communication within our business, driving engagement from the team members upwards, not driving from the top down. Our team members rate communication and engagement just as highly as they rate our rewards and benefits.
The Way we Communicate
The way we communicate has changed over the years, and with a new generation of employees who use smartphones as their primary way to talk to others – junior or senior, we needed to stay involved with their conversations and meet them on a platform that was both comfortable and accessible for them. With Yapster, our internal team communication (GDPR compliant) app which we launched almost a year ago, we knew we were moving in the right direction. Today, we celebrate the enormous growth in our team communication which has helped us to retain our valued #BMFamily members, attract new talent, satisfy client needs and promote innovation in the business.
With Yapster, we wanted everyone to know that their opinions were welcome so that they felt valued – something we have been recognized for in our latest Best Company’s results. The messaging has always been to have fun, ask questions, and engage with those who are keen to try new initiatives and ideas.
Here are some of the highlights we can look back on this past year and be proud of:
- We have identified a number of foodie heroes, barista champions and management leaders within our business through Yapster. For the first time, everyone can see their valuable contributions, tips, ideas – and all of this is shared publiclly within the business. For example, a Kitchen Porter was posting his vegan dishes every Sunday morning, this showed us he was a passionate foodie and as a result, he is on our chef training programme and a new career path.
- It’s reconnected people – a few team members have found colleagues that they once worked with but never knew they worked in the same company.
- Team members are earning extra money as job vacancies are now posted in the newsfeed – be it extra shifts in the #OvertimeGroup or full-time positions posted in the main newsfeed.
- We have significantly increased the payments we make to team members through our ‘pear up’ scheme. This is a referral scheme where we encourage team members to introduce friends to #BMFamily who are looking for employment opportunities.
- Chefs have been inspired by ideas posted and have gone on to create new dishes which we now use in the business. Chefs have particularly shined in showing what they are achieving – and are also making a name for themselves.
- Equipment and marketing ideas have started conversations, created sharing and instigated new looks.
- After posting health and wellness campaigns on Yapster (Veg Pledge, Pedometers for 10,000 steps and so on) we’ve seen the campaigns go viral, with team members influencing each other through their posts to take the challenge and get fit and healthy.
- We’ve been able to identify training needs through this communication platform.
- Training has taken the form of assimilated training as opposed to the more traditional hard line training approach. This has proved exceptionally popular with younger team members who favour video and visual content over text book / classroom style training.
Our team members truly feel part of a team or family – this app has connected us all and allowed us to communicate freely, unilaterally and without fear. Wendy Bartlett, Executive Chairman and founder, at bartlett mitchell, said: “For us, it’s really important to continually invest in groundbreaking technology to maintain our ability to keep a close relationship with all of our team members in a safe and secure way and, as we continue to grow, we need to ensure that we are making the most of technology to help us do this. Getting team communication right means we’re investing in our future, retaining our team members and attracting new talent.”