Wake up and smell the coffee: how Pret A Manger motivates employees

Richard Harpham, Head of Strategy at Pret A Manger & member of the Teaching Leaders Finance Committee writes about how Pret Aa Manger motivates their employees in a Teaching Leaders Quarterly Article.

The retention and development of Pret’s people sits at the very core of every decision that is made. From product innovation to new market expansion, the impact on staff is the only hurdle that will never be compromised. Indeed at the very heart of Pret’s strategy sits the continued maintenance and development of a culture that fosters staff motivation and engagement.

When employees are asked why it is that they enjoy working for Pret, and what it is that keeps them smiling through the 4am starts, the response most frequently heard is that “Pret is a company I want to be a part of, because I believe in and share in its values”. Values are not created overnight, and talking about them is entirely ineffective unless they are truly lived and breathed.

Pret operates an “open door” policy. Nobody has an office, and even the CEO is approachable at all times. All employees, either in the Head Office or in shops, are actively encouraged to have a voice, and once quarterly there are off-site meetings for all Shop Managers and all Head Office staff to put questions or suggestions to the Board. Every Tuesday morning sees the Head Office staff coming together for a “Team Brief”, where the Head of a particular department gives an update on their area, highlights the latest company figures, and talks about anything in “The Pret News” – most likely new shops that have opened or success stories from the week. This breaks down the information hierarchy common in many companies, as all staff have the same understanding of everything that’s going on. Similarly in shops, every morning begins with a team talk at 7am. The General Manager of the shop brings the team together to talk through the plan for the day, and to provide an update on anything going on in the company more widely.

The document finishes with ‘If times get tougher on the High Street, and revenues start to fall, the first thing that companies will need to cut is their bonus pool. Perhaps therefore, the companies best placed to weather the storm will be those that have commanded staff loyalty and passion in rather more effective ways.’

The content of this article is not owned by Engage for Success and it has been extracted from a Teaching Leaders Article.