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Making the case for market-specific induction programs

Do you have a market-specific induction programme or onboarding process? Pizza Express has – and it has earned them some impressive results.

When the company first set its scope on opening a franchise in Asia, it made a concerted effort to fully train staff nine weeks in advance. Not only did this mean the staff were ready from the get-go and were well versed in the company’s ethos, but they were also equipped with specialised training for working in local markets. Human Resources Online recently spoke to Robert Stubbing, general manager of Pizza Express in Singapore, to find out more about the power of market-specific induction programmes.

The originally UK-based pizzeria opened its first restaurant in Asia in July 2016. With 39 new staff to prepare, the company began the herculean task of training them in everything from company values, branding, local markets and even the secret of how they make their signature dough.

This investment in staff before they have even worked an hour for the company is admirable, but for Stubbing, people are at the heart of any business and they are ultimately what makes it a success. He notes that by creating an environment wherein staff were nurtured, encouraged to progress and helped to grow, they were happier, more productive and more loyal. This commitment to improvement has a large hand in why the company continues to persevere at a time where the service industry is in decline.

When it came to opening a site in Singapore, Stubbing commented that they wanted to “welcome new team members [so that they] would consciously feel like they were joining a family; and an institution that they would want to protect, be part of now and in the future.” This philosophy has scientific backing, too, with one study reporting that 75% of employees who were satisfied with their organisation’s onboarding were more likely to be loyal to their employer.

However, knowing that opening a restaurant in a new country would expose them to a range of new issues, they decided to create a market-specific employee induction programme. While the programme was based on the usual training given to staff, they tailored it to be specific to the Singapore staff and included every member of the team, from management, head chefs and line cooks to servers, and full-time and part-time employees.

The programme began by introducing the brand, its history and mission statement to the new team members. By welcoming the new staff warmly and having passionate members of staff familiarise themselves with the brand, Pizza Express was able to start creating an army of brand ambassadors. After the introduction, members of staff were then split up depending on role to receive more training. Chefs from the UK and UAE branches were flown in to show new members of staff the exact requirements, skills and hallmarks that are needed to make one of their signature pizzas.

The article explains that: “This measure not only allows the brand to translate the necessary skills, competencies and knowledge to the new team in Singapore, but it also supported the idea of the new team understanding and being exposed to the PizzaExpress DNA.”

Since opening its doors, PizzaExpress Singapore has enjoyed an 84% staff retention rate, so they must be doing something right.

Do you employ this type of market-specific on-boarding programme in your company? If so, what results have you seen?

And remember, if you’re looking for top talent to join your work family, Gradlink can help. Register for free today and start receiving CVs from UK-educated international graduates.


By David Gee Published: April 27, 2017


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