A Hidden Gem for Managers of Hourly Paid Employees!

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Gabriel Stulman – A Winning Recipe

This TED Talk really is a hidden gem that everyone in the service and retail industries should take note of. Gabriel Stulman talks about the importance of employees in organisations and how he puts a massive emphasis on people within his company.

If you have a spare 18 minutes this is a must watch, if not don’t worry we have detailed all his ideas below in 3 key points that will make you completely rethink how you motivate your hourly paid employees.


70% of American employees are disengaged at work

To put this into context disengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion a year.

When it comes to a restaurant if a cook is disengaged while at work it means burnt or undercooked food. If a waiter/waitress is disengaged it means slow or sloppy service. This means customers will not return to your establishment or worse, give you a bad review.

This is one of the main reasons why 9/10 restaurants fail in the very first year of business. The solution? Get your employees more engaged, even if it means sacrificing efficiency.

But, how do you add value to this low margin, high-pressure workplace when raising salaries and extra vacation time aren’t options? It is a lot simpler than you think, Gabriel Stulman outlines 3 simple processes that can be implemented to fix employee engagement.


1. Celebrate the individual

When it comes to hourly paid employees they are normally asked to “check their passions at the door in exchange for the businesses passions.”

Instead, why not take an interest into your employees. Find out their passions as seen how you can make them align with the company’s.

*For example, if employees are studying management, marketing or HR degrees why not try and give them the option of working in these departments once a month for work experience. If another employee’s passion is photography, ask them to take some fresh shots of your company for your website or marketing materials.

By simply showing interest in employees they will take passion, excitement and pride of their everyday job. Employees will be left feeling personally invested and appreciated when it comes to your company.


2. Hiring Policies

Gabriel talks about the importance of internal promotion when filling levels closer to the top and hire externally for entry level positions. All managers will have started at the bottom at some point, by implementing an internal promotion your company will be extremely attractive to entry level employees.

This creates a wealth of knowledge amongst employees who are being promoted and also employees who are being trained. This reduces the costs and time involved in training new members of staff.

Stulman states that these internal promotion stories should be amplified. This shows new employees that your company is a place that encourages internal career growth.


3. Collaboration

This is a lot more than just working as a team, it is collaborating together to improve the company as a whole. This means including employees in decision making processes no matter how small they seem.

*For example, Stulman talked about the process he has for creating new cocktail menus for his restaurants. He could get one barman to create these cocktail lists for all his restaurants which would save time and money, but, this doesn’t involve collaboration or encourage employee engagement. 

Instead, he implements a system that takes 3 times as long and is much harder to manage. Why? Employee engagement! A few times a year Stulman he has a cocktail hack workshop that involves all his bar staff from different locations. They create cocktails and vote for which ones feature on their menu.

This helps employees increase personal involvement, improve standards of quality and you can put the spotlight on your employees for their efforts.


You Must Invest In Your Brand

In the hospitality and retail sectors, it is hard to get your employees motivated and engaged with your business. One thing you must remember though is that in these industries your people are your brand, invest in your brand.

Have the legacy of your restaurant be the success of your people!

Thomas Keller – Chef, Restaurateur, and Writer.


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