How to link employees’ personal goals to those of your organization – Colin Browne

In the quest for greater transparency, the challenge is knowing just how much information to share. When it comes to employee career paths, the answer may well be everything …

Fast food chain Chipotle has taken a lot of flak lately for some nasty outbreaks of E.coli raising questions about the sourcing of its organic food. It’s not the first restaurant chain to undergo such an ordeal, and probably won’t be the last, but whether it will ride out the challenges to its reputation is open to the jury to decide.

Personally, I hope it does, for no other reason than the lengths it has taken to be transparent, consistent and intelligent in its employee hiring process. For that, Chipotle is a wonderful example for others to follow, and you need go no further than the company’s career site to see how serious it is about it all.

It offers a simple explanation, in bullet points and vivid colour, of the career ladder for Chipotle employees from entry level to store manager, including benefits and salary. If you want to know where you can get to at Chipotle, it will take you ten seconds to figure it all out.

A big reason is that Chipotle has a stated preference for filling supervisory and management positions from within and therefore wants employees to know from the outset that by being on the team, they are the preferred candidates for those positions.

As a result, they are encouraged to pay attention and learn their supervisors’ roles and other aspects of managing both the store and members of the team.

The company makes an effort to embed that positioning even before employees get the welcome on board hand shake. When a candidate is invited to come in and interview, they are told to read the website first and are then asked about what they read and what they learned from it.

Fast food organisations are often derided for their low-pay, low-benefit, low-opportunity McJobs, a term popularised by author Douglas Coupland in his 1991 book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. One thing Chipotle deserves credit for is trying to change that.

The question for you is this: how transparent is your organisation when it comes to career paths for your employees? Do they know where they can go? Do they know how to get there?

One of the most important keys to employee engagement is that of linking personal aspirations to those that can be offered by your organisation. It makes good sense to be transparent about that …

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