Hi, there!

We're happy to hear from you. And we want to make sure you get what you need.

Looking for a demo of our well-being services? You're in the right place! Please fill out the form.

Looking to talk to someone about WebMD ONE because you're already a client or participant? Great! But this isn't the form for you. Please reach out to your WebMD Health Services representative.

The HR Scoop

The Career Lifeline: The Internal Development Pipeline

Season 5
November 10, 2022
24:35
Transcript

Andrea Herron
Have you ever wondered how a company is able to offer unlimited time off or be a pet friendly office? Curious how HR leaders manage the well being of remote or essential workforces? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Hi, I’m Andrea heron, head of people for WebMD health services. And I’d like to welcome you to the HR scoop. On this podcast, I talk with other HR leaders to explore the world of unique employee benefits, and about the challenges of managing unique workforces, because well being isn’t a one size fits all approach.

Welcome back to another inspiring episode of the HR scoop. I’m so pleased to be joined by Cheryl Kish, Chief People Officer of HOA brands. And we talk about all their incredible internal career advancement programs, from modernizing learning programs to empowering employees to be their authentic selves. Don’t miss these takeaways for improving your own talent retention efforts. Today, we have Cheryl Kish, who is the Chief People Officer at HOA brands, which is Hooters if you’re not familiar. So welcome, Cheryl.

Cheryl Kish
Thank you for having me.

Andrea Herron

Yeah, really excited to talk. So I know that you’ve been affiliated with the Hooters brand for almost 35 years, which is incredible tenure and something I’m sure we all strive to see and have. So could you give us maybe a brief overview of your journey from wearing the orange shorts to Chief People Officer and maybe what you’re currently focused on are passionate about?

Cheryl Kish
Yeah, absolutely Andrea. And so I was going to school to college actually thought I would be here, or journalism major and a journalist, the next Barbara Walters that, you know, was working my way through is through college and in the restaurant industry. And fast forward, I ended up with the Hooters organization after actually being a manager with another brand. And was really excited, didn’t know anything about the brand. I was only a couple open started in orange shorts, went back into management. I was an operations manager and training General Manager and eventually promoted to corporate, really in love with learning and development. And so I started up that organization for Hooters. And that ended up studying and getting my PHR and ended up being the first female vice president for the brand in the 90s is the Vice President of Human Resources, training and development.

Fast forward a little bit more, and I in 2002 until 2019, I did take a hiatus I started my own consulting firm, which was focused on leadership development and organizational development, but stayed very close to the brand. I partnered with the brand in many ways with our franchisees and corporate as a consultant, and then rejoined in 2019. And then recently took on the role as Chief People Officer.

Andrea Herron
Wow, that’s an incredible story.

Cheryl Kish
It’s a long story is a long journey. Yeah.

Andrea Herron
Well, I mean, speaking of journalism, I think we’ve come a little full circle, because you were recently highlighted in HR exec magazine about the career development program that you have developed there. So I’m, you know, would just love to hear for anyone who hasn’t read that feature, and kind of what’s the overview of the program and why you wanted to launch it once you came back?

Cheryl Kish 03:35
Yeah, so we call this program career journey. And I have to give a shout out to my fabulous team, my senior director of learning and development and culture, Cole, Plummer really has taken a lead role in this along with others. And we wanted to make sure that we were focused on the learner of today that we had opportunity for everyone in the organization, regardless of where they were starting in the organization, to have career pathing opportunities, all the way to the highest level in operations. And then on over to the corporate office. We have a very successful history of developing folks. Our CEO, started as a dishwasher when he was actually interning in college. And that was, you know, he has been with the brand ever since our our Senior Vice President of Operations started in the heart of the house, as we call the kitchen.

Now, our COO. Started as a new manager and training and then of course myself. So we wanted to make sure though, that we were focused on the learn today that we digitized everything and made it very appealing to the demographic of today and that everybody had equal opportunity, if they wanted to, to go on this journey and to, to continue as far as they possibly could go, we would support that. So happy to talk in more detail about it. But that’s really sort of the high level. We want to get into, you know, the different modalities and how we offer that happy to talk about it. Yeah, I

Andrea Herron
mean, that is kind of what we all think we want to do. It’s amazing that you actually made it happen, because it makes all the sense, right? I mean, the way we used to do training, the way we used to deliver really pretty rigid career paths is just out the window. And I feel like is a totally different environment. And I love hearing those entry level to C suite journeys is so incredible. So could you provide some detail on maybe what a sample path might look like, from hourly hospitality employee to corporate? Like, is it a set roadmap with goals? Or is it more flexible discovery type, you know, as you’ve worked through how to roll this out?

Cheryl Kish
Sure. So hourly, to operations, leadership, there are some set learnings and learning activities that the way word to participate in. But then there’s also this asynchronous sort of flexible opportunity for them as they continue on their path. And so you’ve got some traditional in there. So let’s say it’s Hooters girl. And then next step might be she’s a trainer. And then the next step is hourly manager or assistant manager. But if she’s able to demonstrate the skills and the behaviors needed, you can jump over that as well. So it’s, it’s very, very individualized, we’re very focused on especially as one gets into the salary management operations, leaders positions, focused on individual development plans, we have talent reviews, and so folks are very much free to focus on where they need to focus versus saying, Okay, first, you’re going to do this, and then you’re going to do this, and then you’re going to do that. So that is something new in the last couple of years that we’ve just transitioned to.

And then it’s a corporate roles, and a lot of our corporate roles end up coming over from operations. So for example, on my side at the business and learning and development, 75% of my team came in from operations 75% of our marketing team is from operations with all but two of them being female. So we’ve got about 66% of our leaders overall have come up through the hourly ranks. And then we’ve got, I’d say, 40 to 45%, of all of our leaders are female, which for our industry is no, we’re really proud of that.

Andrea Herron
Yeah, that is amazing. And, again, really shows that you are doing something right, because I think internal advancement and letting people learn and grow and try a different, even completely different career path. Like you’re saying, marketing is not something we necessarily think of as, oh, I’m going to start way over here and just naturally work into, I think that is so smart, if you want to keep your people and really have employee loyalty and tenure, and build that culture. So for our audience members who might want to improve their organization’s internal career advancement program, do you have any kind of fundamental considerations that they should definitely be thinking about?

Cheryl Kish
We will for sure be thinking about the learner of today and how the learner of today wants to learn and how they want this development delivered. So you know, we’re looking at all different things, podcasts, for example, as a part of learning. Of course, there’s virtual and of course, there’s traditional, but the asynchronous approach is very appealing. Today, digital, digital, digital, I think, is something to consider. Having those individual development plans, I think are foundational, especially as you start getting into supervisory and beyond roles. It’s not one size fits all. So making sure that competencies are identified and that there’s developmental programs and support for all those different competencies and then having something in place where, you know, everybody has an individual IEP plan that is theirs and customized for their development. Those are some of the foundational I think it’s really important to consider. Those

Andrea Herron
are critical to making it successful. And I think another thing that is equally as fundamental that never gets mentioned, but absolute has to be prioritized is the time it takes for people to go to the trainings or to spend that time learning and developing their competencies. Because it’s like most of us want them to have them. But work is busy and deadlines are due. And we d prioritize all of those growth opportunities for what’s hot in the moment, which in the long term is a real detriment to the employee, because they feel like they can’t ever get ahead because every fire drill that comes in, is setting them back. Is that a common pitfall you’ve seen? Or have you seen any other kind of obstacles that people should make sure to avoid?

Cheryl Kish
Well, definitely, that’s a common pitfall, right? We’re all busy. We all have our day jobs, we’re all trying to prioritize and to ensure that we’re pushing our business slower that we’re thinking future stay, we’re dealing with, you know, all of the, I guess, sort of unknowns that are out there, especially today. And so a lot of times development and individual development can get pushed to the backburner. I do think that we have no choice. That’s my personal belief. But to make it a priority. I’m sure you see all the research, this is what you do, right? While money is important. What we’re learning more and more and more is, how can I be myself and an organization? And how can I reach my fullest potential within that organization. And we’re not going to keep our top talent if we don’t make this a priority. So that’s first and foremost.

And I would just say another pitfall to avoid I’ve seen this in the past. And so we’re very focused on on the opposite. When developing and designing programs and learning, create commitment and buy in on the front end, for the for the end user. So in our case, operations is our client operations is or is our customer. So we everything we do we create steering committees. And so up front, we are in identifying what the definition of success is, what behaviors look like, what how will we know that somebody’s successful, once they’ve completed the training, and all that comes from operations.

And then of course, we have our subject matter experts and learning and design that are there then to create programs, so we’re not selling it, it’s there’s already that commitment in that buy in because of the steering committee process. So for example, career journey, we had a whole group of operators cross section through the organization, and then some others, of course, at corporate. So while it takes time to do that, on the front end, the payout is phenomenal. On the back end, there’s no selling, right?

Andrea Herron
I love that. Because, again, it takes time, you have to do the commitment of really thinking it through, like what is the end result that we want, and then back all the way into it. And I love the idea of including those doing the work. So those subject matter experts, sometimes I found, especially in smaller HR departments, where you have a generalist or someone handling a lot of different areas that it’s really hard to find that time that creative time to really think through competencies, how does that show up? And how would we measure it, like with goal setting, you have to know what you’re looking for to know if you’re going to be successful.

And so that’s a great, great tip, if you are going to try to implement anything really inside of an organization that certainly individual career paths, or even just a filling are up leveling people who like to stay in their own job. That’s another interesting thing I don’t hear a lot about. So we’re always saying the next job, the next job, the next job, which course you do want to grow and develop people into, but you can also grow people who want to stay in their current job because they love what they do.

Cheryl Kish
Yeah, so the whole, ensuring, you know, we’re very positive psychology strengths based here. Ensuring that people are playing to their strengths. Of course, you’ve got to identify upfront and help people, you know, become self aware and what that is. And, yeah, we’re all going to do things throughout the day or throughout our jobs, that maybe we’re not playing to our strengths. But that’s, you know, really focusing on energy. And where our energy is going is so important as well. And if we, you know, if people can play to their strengths, in their roles, they’re going to be happier, even if there is not a promotion right around the corner, right. Also, you know, ensuring that there’s cross functional team opportunities so that I’m not feeling stuck, or one is not feeling stuck in their current role, and they’re able to see what’s happening in other areas of the organization. That’s really important as well.

Andrea Herron
Oh, excellent points. Also, in your article, you mentioned an interesting term, employee empowerment. I mean, we’ve all heard that phrase, but I would like to know, how do you define that term? And what role does it play when you think of the larger spectrum of the corporate culture there?

Cheryl Kish
Yeah, so for us, it really aligns with inclusion, right and one ceiling, like they can bring their whole self to work, and being empowered to bring their whole self to work. Now, let’s use the Hooters girl, for example, right? Yes, there is uniformity. There’s a uniform that she wears. But outside of that, it’s who she is, and how she’s bringing her personality, her uniqueness to work each and every day. So our bar empowerment, or acronym for Hooters girls is I am a Hooters girl. But then she fills in what that means for her. I am strong, I am courageous, I am a teacher, I am a student, you know, and that might change each day, but it’s really allowing the employee or we use the term team member to own and step into who they are in being free to bring that to work.

The other piece of that and how it fits into our culture. Andrea is this initiative that we’ve been focused on for the past year, I am a Hooters girl, or I am a Hooters girl alumni, and shining a light on the powerful women that have really contributed to our successful history of the brand through her story. And we’ve known this for almost 40 years. But it’s truly an untold story. So it’s really, again, shining a spotlight on the people who has made us successful for 40 years and giving credit and honoring her story. Now we do do the same with our harder House team members, we call them i stories. So yeah, that’s what empowerment means to us. It’s it’s choice. It’s personal. It’s it’s stepping into oneself.

Last thing I’ll say about that is we strongly believe that while working for Hooters, one should be better having done so. So and that. One is honing their skills. And we’re helping them do that for life beyond Hooters. Now, they may stay and grow in the organization. Or they may move on, that’s their choice, but but that they are all the better for having worked for us. So I hope that answers your question. But that’s what empowerment means to us.

Andrea Herron
It does and how inspiring you know, if every company could take that approach, that we’re going to treat people, the best we can we’re going to make their experience the best it can be help them develop their skills and as a person grow. And then maybe they say maybe they go, but that’s for the betterment of all people, all companies, all industries, that would be so powerful. And so I hope we can all kind of take a moment, think about how you might incorporate that into your employee, group, your culture, I mean, even the story sharing. I mean, we as humans thrive on stories, you know, for all time. So you can also highlight individual employee stories at a town hall, highlight who has gone from entry level up through management or on a totally different career path. You know, if you have weekly meetings or shout outs, you know, just telling stories is always going to be very powerful and a great tool for your internal culture, as well as you know, retention and external, you know, profits and productivity.

Cheryl Kish
Absolutely, if humanizes right, it humanizes your team members. It’s more about who they are than what they do. That’s what’s really, really important.

Andrea Herron
Absolutely. So, one, one more question. I’m just curious just to pick up this a little bit more. The intangible benefits of soft skills come up pretty often on our show. So are there certain soft skills, helping Employees advanced through this career development program are areas of focus that have been really important from not just the technical, but I don’t even like the term soft skills, because I think they’re absolutely critical, but the, quote soft skills.

Cheryl Kish
Sure, of course, well, sound Association and communications. So, throughout the organization, one of the first things we focus on is effective communication, and in particular, how to create commitment and buy in. So we have a communication model that will teach throughout the organization, where you’re focusing on, you know, being really, really curious in your communication, asking open ended questions, listening with empathy, really helping individuals understand the why behind something, and then gaining commitment and alignment to what, you know, an individual’s going to do or behaviorally or who leave or any of that. So that’s foundational for us, as I’m sure it is for many, right. Also this concept of accountability versus responsibility. That is key when you’re looking to drive for results.

We’re operations based, right? We want to get to those business results, and how do you drive to those through taking personal and joint accountability, right for yourself, but also with another individual or with your team. So we focus on that, certainly, as one starts to grow in their career change management, agility, shepherding people to change, meaningful alignment, I do want to share that we focus the foundation of our leadership programs in neuroscience. So I’ve been affiliated with and had been doing work with neuroscientists and subject matter experts in neuroscience. And we focused on the neuroscience of leadership. So that starts with knowing thyself, understanding what’s going on in the brain. We can we make it it’s not to clinical right? But really understanding first, how, as human beings, why as human beings, we show up the way that we do, and then how is leaders? Then do we? You know, our emotional intelligence and all of that, and how do we engage with others, so all of our programs, and even when we were designing career journey, we brought my dear coach and mentor in cell Dixon, who’s a neuroscience expert to help us on the design side with that.

Andrea Herron
It’s such a valid point, because I feel like the more you move up in any management role, or certainly into leadership, you start to realize how much is psychology and neuroscience and spoiler alert self work, because if you handle yourself and your own emotions and know how to process and be present, you will not be as effective of a leader. So I love that you kind of incorporating that right from the start.

So speaking of kind of humanizing, and you know, being a real person, the final question I love to ask every guest at the end of the show is to share something with us that most people may not know about you.

Cheryl Kish
Wow. Well, I think I already gave it away earlier, I was gonna save it till the end. But I really did from fifth grade on, I just knew that I was going to be a journalist, and that I was going to be in the news and on the news and all that great stuff. And, you know, and then had no idea where my journey was going to take me. So having worked while I was going to school, I’ve ended up now taking a totally different career path. So many may not know that I really, really did miss gives away my age did want to be the next Barbara Walters. But my advice is just say, Yes, we might think something’s you know, we’re destined for one thing, and then something even more beautiful unfolds. So yep, that’s me.

Andrea Herron
That’s great. And you know, I think you took the scenic route, but I think you made it. I mean, that’s you got articles, I think, yeah, you did it. Good job.

Cheryl Kish
Well, thank you so much. It’s been such a pleasure and a joy to talk with you.

Andrea Herron
Yeah, it’s been great having you. I think our audience will be able to take several tidbits away. So let’s all just make some notes and try to really take something away that we can do to improve our employee experience and journey and development. And if you can’t think of that, just start with yourself. All right, we’ll see y’all next time. Thanks. Thank you for listening to the HR scoop. Podcast please take a moment to rate and subscribe on Spotify Apple Google or directly at WebMD health services.com/podcasts

The HR Scoop

Humanizing Well-Being, Part #2

Season 2
July 22, 2021
19:37
Play
The HR Scoop

Humanizing Well-Being, Part 1

Season 2
July 14, 2021
16:43
Play

Never Miss a Podcast

Don't Miss Out

Join the 20,000 blog subscribers who receive timely insights on the well-being industry.

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By using the WebMD Health Services site, you accept our use of cookies.