What makes the world’s No.1 Pizzeria chain stay ahead of the game, when it comes to hiring, training, mentoring and retaining the best talent within the company?
Through a candid conversation with Robert Stubbing, General Manager, PizzaExpress Singapore we at HR in Asia explore insights on the secret ingredients to success of the pizza brand vis-a-vis the competition – which begins with setting expectations right from the team at onset and delivering memories to guests with service standards par excellence. Read on…
Training is a very big part of the PizzaExpress experience. Before our official opening in Singapore, we sent our staff to Dubai for four week training program. After which, we also had trainers on-hand locally to get the team up and running, when the restaurant opened.
Some of the skills are quite niche for the restaurant, for example, our Pizziaolos have to undergo a 12-week long training, which includes learning how to flare the dough correctly in order for it to be served. Additionally, learning the understanding of how to manage the dough and how it behaves – this is at the core of their roles, since our dough is the most important ingredient we have.
There’s a very big shortage of service and kitchen staff available for hire, and the laws on hiring foreign talent also makes it more challenging to find the right people.
We continually train our staff in order to help them grow with the brand and concentrate on having development paths for all the teams to be able to follow, from Trainee to their first roles, to wherever they wish to progress in the company. We believe passionately in the advantages of internal promotions, and thus allowing our team to fulfil their potential.
We know that our team members bring a lot of skill, expertise, passion and commitment to the company, and we are committed to allowing that to flourish.
We train our staff from the beginning in order for to get them up to speed on PizzaExpress’ standard of service, but to also give them the best start they can get. We continually offer them training in order to grow with the company as well.
We also believe in rewarding great work, which is where our Golden Ticket initiative comes in. Employees are awarded Golden Tickets by the management when they are spotted going above and beyond their job, or if they are simply delivering excellence. They can then exchange them for vouchers.
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It would be to allow the employees to have a say in the training that they want to receive and allow them to grow with the company in areas they are passionate about.
Candidates complete an application stage prior to a face-to-face interview. Employees also complete a 3-month probation period.
Candidates are selected on the basis of their commitment, and understanding of, and creating enjoyable experiences through services and products. Also, we look for those that work as a team, have independent thinking, drive to resolve situations and focus on delivering high standards.
We want the people we hire to really feel like they’re part of the family, and fitting in with the team is a very big part of that. We all work towards the same goals and for the same reasons, so we want everything to really come together. When the people are passionate about what they’re doing, it reflects on the level of service they offer to all our PizzaExpress customers.
Once a new hire is signed off to start, they attend a Welcome Induction on their first day. This introduces them to the company, our heritage, and our mission.
Following their Welcome, they will receive a restaurant tour, settling them into their surroundings and introducing them to the team they are part of. We then use a buddy system for them to start their on-job training.
It’s possible that it will happen in some aspects, but at the end of the day there are some elements that can only be done by people, especially when it comes to service and adding that personal touch to it. It is our team that makes the difference in the experience that our customers receive. Each team member creates the perfect pizza and delivers it in a way that creates a memorable moment for our guests. No robot can do that.
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