Two of the most significant issues facing businesses today are RETAINING good employees who are so difficult to find and MAXIMIZING the productivity and efficiency of those same employees. Ample research has been done pointing to the most significant culprit behind these issues – POOR COMMUNICATION! According to Big Picture Learning – “A 2014 survey by About.com found that the top three reasons for leaving an organization were communication related: a lack of direction from management, overall poor communication, and poorly communication constant change.” Furthermore, they concluded that: “People look for new opportunities elsewhere when they are not engaged with the vision and the mission of their current employer.”
Sometimes the fault lies with a lack of desire to communicate, oftentimes the problem is the incorrect use of communication, but the majority of time the challenge is that leadership has no idea how to effectively communicate a message in a succinct, timely manner.
We live in a world where numerous communication tools are available and where an overload of ineffective communication abounds, confuses, and even irritates those on the receiving end. Newsletters, bulletin boards, payroll stuffers, email blasts (the average person receives nearly 120 emails every day), and tweets and texts seem to attack our senses with reckless abandon. How are employees going to decipher what is important, what needs immediate attention, and what is simply useless fodder that has little relevance to the work in front of them? Additionally, where is the opportunity for those same employees to engage in the conversation, offer their own input, and see the results of their involvement?
There are many clues to more effective communication that include making your message clear and concise, creating a vehicle for feedback from employees and demonstrating that you actually pay attention to that feedback, and being more strategic so that communication overload is kept to a minimum. But, the most effective way to improve this connection with employees is to communicate through storytelling. When communication is interesting and fun, then it’s relevance is more likely to be realized.
I recently spoke with Charles Carroll – one of America’s more successful chefs and business leaders, about an initiative that he has been engaged with for the past few years. Carroll is the Executive Chef of the River Oaks Country Club in Houston – one of the most prestigious, and busiest, clubs in the country. His accomplishments in the culinary arts are far too broad to review here, but this new project takes his many talents far beyond the kitchen. As he stated in our interview: “This system that we have been developing is a game changer!” Chef Carroll is now engaged in a project that is applicable to any business, of nearly any size. This chef has taken on the challenge of communication and may just have found the answer that business leadership has been looking for.
These are the highlights of our interview:
- So with everything that is on your plate as Executive Chef of one of the busiest clubs in America, author, public speaker, and ambassador for initiatives within the American Culinary Federation and the World Chefs Association – why did you take on the monumental task of developing a Podcast?
“After writing my third book The Recipe – a story of loss, love, and the ingredients of success, my book partner John David Mann recommended that we connect as a guest on a total of 60 podcasts to promote the book. I was willing to do whatever it took, so we did. After the fifth or sixth interview I was thinking – this is pretty cool I think I want to develop my own. Two months later – The Recipe Podcast, Celebrity Secrets – was born.”
- What are your goals with this medium of communication?
“Well, it started as a hobby, but soon gained a lot of attention. We did four on location shows to include two ACF Conventions and the World Chefs Congress in Malaysia. After that we started to attract sponsors as it became more serious. We now have a very cool studio that has allowed us to stream the shows on YouTube.”
- Who do you see as your audience?
“We have two different shows: The Recipe Celebrity Secrets, and The Recipe Unplugged which is more on the comedy side with guest comedians. So we capture many chefs and people in the hospitality field as well as individuals who just want to kick back and laugh.”
- How will you measure success?
“We can monitor how many listeners we have so we work hard with promotions to keep the audience numbers high. It is important that our sponsors are happy. Also, with all of the interesting chefs that we have as guests, we are able to expose them to sponsor products – many of our guest chefs have, as a result of the show, hired or contracted with our sponsors. It’s a win, win.”
- It is my understanding that you are going to use this model to create a communication tool for businesses of all types as they seek new ways of interacting with their employees. How will you translate a culinary business model to fit in other types of environments?
“YES! We are so excited to have started a service called: My Company Radio. I was involved in consulting for a company that has 4,000 employees in 14 states. They asked me how they could communicate and educate them on a weekly basis. That was what started the wheels turning. So, we developed a system where we take messaging from top level leadership and surround it with motivation, inspiration, education, employee recognition, and turn the message into an entertaining show sent to their entire team. Now, the weekly message, full of pertinent information, is entertaining as well as informative. Employees can’t wait to hear the next show.”
- What is your vision with regard to this?
“We currently have several clients including private clubs, an oil company, and distribution vendors. We are also engaged in conversations with hospitals, police and fire departments, resorts and large hotels. The beauty of the system is that there are only two qualifications: 1) You need to have at least 50-employees, 2) you genuinely care about your people. That’s It!”
“Let’s face it, when there is a challenge or mistake in our business, the vast majority of time the source comes down to a breakdown in communication. Now, we are making communication fun, attractive, convenient, and easily accessed through your smart phone.”
- It has been said that the most common complaint by employees in any business is a lack of, or lack of accurate communication between leadership and employee. Is it your goal to present a way to fix this?
“Absolutely, Our system is so easy to use and downloads on any smart phone. We have some of the most sought-after experts contributing to the shows with topics pertaining to motivation, inspiration, celebrity fitness, Fortune 500 consultation, meditation, and Human Resource Management. Also, another feature we are excited about is allowing employees to have direct communication back to top leadership through the show. Now, front-line employees have a safe environment and conduit direct to the decision makers.”
- Put on your future glasses and talk about what this business model might look like in five years considering all of the lightening fast changes in technology.
“To be honest, I think this system is a game changer! The days of employee newsletters that nobody reads, email blasts that never get opened, or teleconferencing that only a few can take part in are over. This system allows employees to listen on their time, while at the gym, driving to work, grocery shopping, or boarding a plane. Most of all – with our company inspirational presenters, we consider the show a gift of enrichment. I believe this model can become a standard of communication for any company, no matter how technology allows it to evolve in the future.”
At a time when so many companies struggle with finding, motivating, and retaining employees – it only makes sense to invest in the appropriate tools that will connect staff members with management and leadership in a way that is honest, timely, and effective. It may just be that Chef Carroll has found the answer.
To connect with Chef Carroll and his portfolio of contemporary communication tools – use the following links:
MY COMPANY RADIO
THE RECIPE PODCAST, CELEBRITY SECRETS
and THE RECIPE, UNPLUGGED
PLAN BETTER – TRAIN HARDER
Harvest America Ventures, LLC
Restaurant and Culinary School Consulting
www.harvestamericacues.com – BLOG