Jeannine Loy, director of talent development at BJ’s Restaurants, took the podium Monday at the 18th Annual HR Technology Conference and Exposition® to tell her story of the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based restaurant chain’s mission to maintain a culture of promoting from within, no matter what.
Paired with Kirsten Helvey, senior vice president of client success at Cornerstone OnDemand, it was a story of retooling and rebooting several years ago — with Cornerstone’s help, of course — to ensure such a commitment to internal promotions could support and sustain a trajectory of growth that’s gone from a small one-room pizzeria in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1978 to 159 restaurants across the United States today.
“I’m really proud we’ve been able to promote this culture,” Loy told listeners at the session, titled Driving Talent Retention With Succession and Internal Mobility at BJ’s Restaurants. “We even call our corporate office the ‘Restaurant Career Center.’ We take team members’ individual success and growth very seriously.
“We want everyone to learn and improve and develop who they want to be, and how they want to get there, for their careers, not just for BJ’s,” she said. “A lot of people at BJ’s in management and senior management started as hourly workers. This is the story we’re especially proud of.”
The problem was, several years ago, the company was still handling the tracking of employees very manually, with Excel spreadsheets, for the most part. Managers couldn’t get real-time access to data on their employees fast enough to make the decisions they had to make to send worthy candidates up the ladder and “back-fill” the old positions, Loy said.
Now, using Cornerstone’s learning, connecting, performance and succession systems, the company has enabled managers — and managers’ managers — to see, in real time, who should be next in line; how much each and every team member has completed in necessary compliance, and learning and development work; what their career preferences are; who’s a low performer with high potential; and who’s a flight risk.
“We have talent visibility at each level for every position now,” Loy said. “You have no idea how much this has boosted our engagement numbers as well. People now know their successes are visible to top leadership. That is huge.”
And instead of being behind the eight-ball, she added, “we already have people in mind for succession and for back-filling those positions left vacant into Q3 and Q4 of next year.”Twitter It!