I believe an entrepreneur does a lot of behind the scenes work to manage the morale of the team by taking care and being available to them. On my recent visit to Vancouver, I had the opportunity to meet Dairy Queen Franchisee Owner – Maneesh Nanda. Excited to share some highly simple yet profound tips coming straight from him!
How many years have you been in this space?
This is my 10th year in the fast-food industry.
What is the one thing you love most about what you do?
Opportunity to leave positive impact on people’s lives and create leaders who might follow the same path of being a positive influence in another person’s life and career
What has been your biggest challenge so far? Share how you overcame the same.
One of my key staff person suffered through cancer. She was diagnosed with brain and breast cancer. I did not know how to handle the situation, what to say or do but continued to be of support in anyway by just being there, being available. It took four years for them to overcome the personal challenge but once that was done, she focused on staying with us and rising to be the best manager we’ve ever had. This was a challenge for both of us on a personal and professional front. After going through that it feels like anything can be managed.
HR culture across organizations is different – based on scale and ownership – what are your thoughts on the same?
HR practices can be different but successful culture across organizations should be similar in terms of creating a win-win environment of happiness. Successful and positive culture across any industry or trade should be similar as we are all dealing with people. Staff aspirations and corporate objectives are similar across the board.
Can you recall a time when things went downhill in your organization and how you pulled through it? If yes, elaborate and some key strategies you used.
At one of our locations, our manager did not make her bonus twice in 12 months while other managers performed very well. Rather than changing the manager, we chose to work on the manager and support her by providing direct access to upper level management and working with her to implement a new strategy and change the store culture. Summary: goal was to maintain the current management structure and work with manager and supervisors to educate them on new strategy of retraining and cross trainin older staff, allocating more training time for new hires, define roles for new staff, implementing strict hourly check on completed tasks, new dedicated leader for customer service and staff training. The plan was to grow through the challenge and we did it!
Do you believe the employees and those associated with your organization deserve to be appreciated for their roles and what value they bring to the table?
Yes, in our view the true keeper of our investment is our staff. We cannot be present at all locations all the time. Everyone associated with our organization is appreciated in a team environment and individually.
If yes, what are the current options you are engaging in to express appreciation and why?
- Family day celebration – We have regular staff dinners at each location and we also have annual Christmas dinner for each location with their families. Wherever possible we have joint dinners between stores for staff and management to connect socially and share best practices.
- Birthday and anniversary wishes – mostly through location specific chat boards along with a birthday cake. In addition to birthdays, any other major milestone in staff’s life is also recognized.
- Festival gifting – We have secret Santa events during Christmas season. This allows staff to understand the coworker as they need to bring a small gift for them based on their personality.
- Surprise bonus/incentive – project-based – to recognize team contribution. We regularly take unique treat items for staff at different locations.
- Travel/shopping vouchers – based on store performance we hand out shopping gift cards to all our staff.
A voucher or a customized gift? What do you prefer to give or receive? And why?
We prefer to provide gift cards to staff to the nearest and largest shopping mall. It gives them an opportunity to choose where they would like to spend their reward money.
What is your memory of the best gift you’ve received to date and why?
Customized portrait from an artist.
Can you recall a moment when you / your team member were able to diffuse a tense situation at work? Elaborate.
We had a situation where a random person walked in demanding money from my staff with a weapon. The manager stayed calm and stayed at the till and kept talking to the person and explaining she cannot open the till without a transaction. However the person was aggressive and tried to push the manger for couple of minutes before giving up as other customers walked in. This is not a recommended strategy but the manager said she felt as someone was in her house trying to steal from her. She displayed poise, loyalty and commitment to the store.
Few tips you would like to share with our readers – to bring in more joy at the workplace.
- Always say hello to each staff personally and ask them how their family is doing. Remember their kids’ names and ask about them.
- Hire based on personality. Realize potential early and if you are wrong and change the person quickly.
- Provide clear opportunity for growth without staff having to ask.
- Lead by example, know your business well.
The one person you look up to in life and why
I don’t have any specific person in mind but I look for business leaders who are honest, polite and willing to share knowledge. I do the best I can on my level and respect everyone for what they bring to the table.
If even one of the above questions lit a bulb in your mind share it in the comments below and keep the torch of inspiration glowing! You can also follow Maneesh Nanda on Linkedin – click here
Chief Editor @ HWP
This Post Has One Comment
Thats a lovely post Leena. Nice knowing the perspective of Maneesh Nanda.
Struck a chord with me on two aspects.
The point regarding hiring “If wrong, change the person quickly” is an absolute must for me, cause a wrong hire can bring the morale of a carefully built team.
Secondly, “Provide clear opportunity for growth without staff having to ask” is something I always strive for and it has helped me sustain my business for the past 4 years.
Great job Leena.