When people hear the word “intern”, the phrase “I’d like a coffee, with cream and 2 sugars” is usually what comes to mind.
However, when I was brought on to work for Tasty Catering as the copywriting intern for nuphorIQ (one of Tasty’s sister companies), I knew that this would be an a-typical, 9-5 summer job – that expectation became all the more clear after I had the opportunity to sit in on Tasty Catering’s “Good to Great” meeting.
The “Good to Great” committee is comprised of representatives from each team at Tasty Catering (sales, operations, culinary, ect.). At these monthly meetings the committee discusses strategic and tactical issues in each department. This specific meeting was a discussion on the results of the Gallup 12 Questions survey that had been sent out company-wide.
Back it up:
Research by Gallup shows that engaged employees are more productive workers. If you know Tom Walter (CEO of Tasty Catering) at all, you know that he believes in “entangled” employees rather than engaged ones. Entangled employees use discretionary thinking away from work and during the execution of their responsibilities. This “entanglement with discretionary thinking” leads to a high performing organization.
The Gallup 12 Questions are based on more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research that involved over 17 million employees (Gallup). Through this research and the consideration Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Gallup has identified 12 core elements (the Q12) that link to the success of a business.
These 12 questions emerged as those that best predict employee and work-group performance:
- Do I understand what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
- At work do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the last seven days have I received recognition or praise for doing well at work?
- Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the culture of my company make me feel my job is important?
- Are my co-workers committed to quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work or someone that I am close to?
- In the last six months has someone talked to me about my progress?
- In the last year have I had the opportunities at work to learn and grow?
I was expecting just another meeting, discussing profit and ways to improve work culture. Instead, what I witnessed was a team of individual leaders sitting around the same table, genuinely working to make Tasty Catering a better company.
Upon start, each leader took turns reading off Tasty Catering’s core values. At Tasty, their core values hang from a sign in every room throughout the building and warehouse.
“We do this before every meeting to ensure that these values are engraved in our minds before we even begin discussing business”, Tom explained to me.
During the meeting, when any negative or problematic comment from the G12 was read aloud by a team leader, names were not used. There were no negative or patronizing comments. There was only sincere care for a common well-being of the company.
Some departments had lower scores than others and needed advice on how to increase that number. Every person at that table had something constructive and helpful to say, in that respect. This wasn’t a room full of C-level executives either, but rather an array of employees from different education levels, races and ages.
What really contributed to the success of this meeting wasn’t anything that happened in the two hours spent around a conference table, but in the follow-up that has occurred and the actions that have been put into effect after seeing the results of the Gallup 12 Questions. Every leader took the advice given by his or her colleagues, implemented plans of attack in effort to address problem areas and have all reported back to Tom with results.
Working at Tasty for two months and experiencing the culture, even from something as rudimentary as this meeting, has made me realize why this company wins local, regional and national awards for both product and culture.
As a whole, Tasty Catering scored a 93% in the Gallup 12 survey, which puts them with some of the top companies in the country. Nevertheless, there is no sense of complacency from any person at this company. Scoring a 93% is fine, but it’s not a 95%, or 100%. This is the mentality that truly separates a “good” company from a “great” one.
To hone in on the attitude every single employee here exemplifies, I will use a quote that came up during the “Good to Great” meeting in response to question #8 on the survey: “The culture makes me feel important, not the nature of my job”.
That being said, the ONE time I was asked to fetch a cup of coffee was after Tom Walter had taken at least 15 minutes out of his schedule to discuss the possibility of me helping him write this blog.
Post written by: Eileen Matthews, coywriter at nuphorIQ