I recently had to the opportunity to visit with Marie Davis, Manager, National Recruitment Programs and Partnerships at Chipotle Mexican Grill to learn about how they approach upskilling and the role it plays in helping them in their recruitment efforts.
Before we get straight to your upskilling strategies, I know Chipotle has been very supportive of the 100,000 Opportunities program also run here at the Aspen Institute, so why don’t you tell us about your overall hiring strategies. Who is it that Chipotle hires for your entry level positions?
At Chipotle, we are fortunate to have many crew positions available throughout the country since we are opening new restaurants every other day. Quite frankly, we are always looking for great people to join our team and grow with Chipotle. Our strategies for finding and hiring great people are quite simple: we look for people who possess the 13 personality characteristics that will lead to their success and growth in the restaurants. We believe that these characteristics are the most important factor in providing an exceptional guest experience while also making delicious food. We also do not require prior experience to get hired at Chipotle. If a candidate has the 13 characteristics, we will train them to become future leaders on our team.
What more can you tell us about your “employee development journals” you mentioned that help employees track success and develop plans for growth?
At Chipotle, it is very important that we create an environment where crew members feel welcome and part of the team. In fact, from day one, every crew member receives a Development Journal with messages from the team showing their support and commitment in setting the new hire up for success. This journal is a terrific tool and resource as it allows the crew member as well as the managers track the progress of his or her training and development as they begin to learn different stations within the restaurant. The journal allows for the trainer, manager and new crew members to track the new hire’s progress and ensure he or she is on the right track to grow within Chipotle.
So once you have entry level workers on the job, how do you go about equipping them for a promotion?
Actually, Chipotle managers begin discussing promotions and career growth opportunities during the interview and hiring process. Every crew member has the opportunity to get promoted. In fact 90% of our managers were once crew members. Some ways Chipotle equips crew members for promotions include: extensive online training courses for every position; employee development journals to track success and develop plans for growth; and scheduled one-on-one meetings with the manager. There are many other resources provided to the crew members; however, the bottom line is that in order for managers to grow within the company, they need to train their replacement. Crew development is a critical component of manager performance reviews and evaluations. Our career path as well as benefits and compensation are listed in detail on our website www.careers.chipotle.com for all applicants to review prior to even applying to Chipotle.
Do you provide your employees with any transferable skills that will help them even if they leave Chipotle for another job?
The primary responsibilities of a Chipotle employee are to provide an exceptional guest experience while preparing and serving delicious food. In order to do this, our employees develop skills such as verbal communication, guest relations, organization and time management. Our on-the-job training, both front and back of the house, will provide our employees with general accounting, cash handling, marketing, food inventory and kitchen management skills that can be used throughout their career. Furthermore, through a partnership with Guild Education, these on-the-job skills, along with our training programs, has resulted in transferable college credits at select universities. These skills, along with our financial assistance programs and tuition reimbursement benefits are all valuable resources that will be so important in the personal and professional development of our employees throughout their career.
One of the things Chipotle does that I really like, is you make your career path very visible and easy to understand on your website. What impact does it have on your recruitment/retention/promotion practices?
Our website highlights not only our career path and benefits, but also our people. These three areas provide a great overview as to why Chipotle is such a great place to work. Our videos capture the true characteristics of both our people as well as our work in the restaurants. They provide real-life stories and examples of our employees and their road to success. Through videos and testimonials and real-life examples, we are also able to break the perception of fast food positions as an entry level job versus a career. Our recruiting team and managers promote our career path, benefits and long-term opportunities to not only gain a crew member, but to hire a future leader. We continuously promote growth from within to stand out from other fast food restaurants.
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