I had an opportunity to hear Andy Lorenzen, the Director of Talent Strategy and Systems for Chick-fil-A, speak at the SHRM-Atlanta meeting this week. There was a lot of information in his very interesting presentation, but one thing stood out to me and this is what I feel the lesson in retention is from this chicken restaurant.
Lorenzen said that Chick-fil-A makes sure they maintain strong people practices. They realize there has to be a balance between results and relationships. Lorenzen said they have realized that everyone has a bias toward either results or relationships. They teach people to understand their biases, because without this understanding a leader cannot build the correct team around them.
Apparently what they do works. Chick-fil-A is debt free and has $4.1 billion in sales. Pretty good considering the average age of their 71,000 employees is 19 years. The retention lesson? The average tenure in this fast food business for hourly employees is 2 years. Sixty-five percent of their franchise owners were former employees who returned to be a part of the business. That is pretty good retention.
It has been my pleasure.