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How to Make Your Employees Happier Than Ever This Year

Toppers Pizza found that a thriving business and satisfied team members go hand in hand.

By Nick Powills1851 Franchise Publisher
SPONSORED 8:08AM 01/12/17

Minimum wage is on the rise and businesses are sitting in limbo as they wait to hear whether or not new overtime rules will be implemented. While all this red tape is causing a certain level of concern, if not just sheer frustration, within the restaurant industry, it’s important to remember that at the core of these regulations is employee happiness.

But what does it mean for employees to be happy? And how does it benefit business overall? A happy employee is someone who feels good about the work they’re doing, and who is earning a wage that allows them to afford the life they want. In turn, when employees are happy, businesses thrive as a result of genuine customer service, solid work ethic and a sense of pride.

Toppers Pizza* has always largely focused on the well-being of their Team Members. In fact, they consider the term “employee” as a bad word. For them, it’s all about encouraging a community-driven atmosphere with real opportunities for advancement and a set of core values that everyone can be inspired by.

“Two of our five core values here at Toppers are ‘Having Fun’ and “Give Customers What They Want,’” says Robin Gittrich, the human resources manager for Toppers. “We consider our Team Members customers, so we’re always trying to find new ways to keep them happy. It’s important that they feel connected and are happy about working at Toppers, which transfers to great customer service and is essential to the growth of our business.”

For Gittrich, one of her main focuses has been maintaining the company culture at the Toppers corporate location in Whitewater, Wisconsin, while also ensuring the framework trickles down throughout the franchise locations across the country. All of this starts with partnering with the right franchisees, who have to be the perfect cultural fit. Once the franchisees are in place, Toppers ensures that they have the necessary tools to create their own Toppers-minded culture at their locations, whether that’s via opportunities for promotions or rewards to recognize Team Members.

“Here at the corporate office, I can make sure each one of our franchisees feel connected, but each store in itself has its own culture, too,” says Gittrich. “We give them the tools and suggestions, but there are a lot of variables amongst the stores. One consistency we’ve found among almost all the Toppers locations is friendship amongst the Team Members. They become a very tight knit group.”

Perhaps most importantly, Toppers recognizes that employee happiness isn’t just about making friends, but largely about giving those who work for them the opportunity to move forward within the business. Giving employees something to work towards, ensuring they know that hard work is rewarded with more than just a pat on the back, has shown to produce consistently dedicated Team Members who succeed alongside the business.

“We very much promote a culture where people can feel like there is some sort of path for them,” says Gittrich. “Team Members can see their positions as a career path, not just a dead end job. And we try to find out what their dreams are. If we give them something that will help them connect with their dreams, that will improve their happiness and keep them retained longer, which is a win for everyone.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.