KFC’s Recipe for Success

When KFC’s employees called for a voice, the company turned to Yammer to help connect and engage its staff. KFC employed SWOOP to understand what it is that engages teams.

A “People First” culture, based on employee engagement and trust – these are KFC’s key ingredients for success.

KFC Australia (KFC) is committed to being a brand loved by all – by every customer and their 35,000-plus employees, spread across 642 company and franchisee-owned restaurants.

Its customer promise is irresistible taste and a memorable experience.

Internally, KFC’s “people promise” is to be your best self, make a difference and have fun.

KFC prides itself on achieving that brand love from the inside out through building engagement and living its people promise.

KFC’s People Capability Director, Jonathan D’Souza, speaking at Microsoft’s Employee Engagement Summit.

It employs around one in every 700 people in Australia. Most team members start working at KFC at the age of 15 and the average age of team members is 17. In total, one in 45 Australian youths work at KFC.

“You can see it’s an amazing opportunity for us to build that brand love internally first,” KFC’s People Capability Director, Jonathan D’Souza, told Microsoft’s Employee Engagement Summit.

Giving a voice to 35,000 employees

KFC researched what it was people wanted when working at KFC. They wanted a voice and they wanted to feel connected. Regardless if they worked in Darwin, in Australia’s Top End, or the island state of Tasmania, team members wanted to feel part of one KFC family.

KFC restaurants in Australia.

KFC decided to launch Microsoft’s Enterprise Social Network tool Yammer in 2015 to achieve the goal of connecting staff and giving them a voice.

“By using Yammer, it allowed us to not only connect our teams all across Australia but it helped them give us the voice that they wanted,” Mr D’Souza said.

The impact of Yammer has been extraordinary.

ROI from Yammer

From a business outcome, KFC can directly link Yammer campaigns to a 28 per cent increase in safety incident reporting across its 642 restaurants in Australia. Just as importantly, engagement across the business is up 36 per cent and team members are feeling connected, according to SWOOP.

An example of using Yammer at KFC to recognise great work by team members.

Data from SWOOP gives KFC insights into engagement rates, provides real-time data on who is connecting with whom, which teams, departments and restaurants are collaborating, it shows every employee’s online behaviours, identifies influencers and assesses the levels of engagement between executives and frontline staff.

Mr D’Souza says one of the ways KFC uses Yammer every day is for recognition.

“The impact of peer-to-peer recognition in real time is just amazing,” he said.

It’s led from the top, with KFC’s South Pacific Managing Director Nikki Lawson one of the most prolific to recognise and congratulate team members. 

A Yammer post from KFC’s South Pacific Managing Director Nikki Lawson.

Ms Lawson is one of KFC’s top 10 most active users on Yammer, according SWOOP.

Almost as powerful is peer-to-peer recognition.

“You may have a shift supervisor who recognises someone on Yammer and then it becomes viral,” Mr D’Souza said.

Senior leaders use Yammer as way for every team member to have a direct connection with head office.

Authentic leadership

Below is a post from KFC’s “Yammertime” group where Chief People Officer Rob Phipps stayed on Yammer for 90 minutes to give live answers to questions from team members. He even suggested a few questions of his own, such as advice on career pathways and an invitation to ask him personal questions.

“(He) gives the opportunity to our team members to ask in real time, real questions and get authentic responses,” Mr D’Souza said.

KFC leaders are big proponents of fun. They introduced “Friendly Friday”, where team members were given free licence to go out and engage with their customers.

Embracing fun in KFC restaurants on Friendly Friday.

“They dressed as super heroes and, I can tell you, not only did customer satisfaction get up on a Friday but all week round,” Mr D’Souza said.

“It becomes infectious to the rest of the brand.”

Healthy competition between restaurants is another use for Yammer, driving direct business outcomes.

They hold Peak Speed Competitions, measuring the night’s average speeds on drive-through service and the store with the fastest service is declared the winner.

It all leads to a better a customer experience.

Trusting employees

KFC is big on trust. Mr D’Souza recommends showing that trust by putting no limitations on how team members can use Yammer.

In fact, one way they regularly use Yammer internally in restaurants is to post rosters and swap shifts, eliminating messy paper rosters.

Mr D’Souza said KFC has had to remove only 0.03 per cent of all posts on Yammer.

Using analytics to understand behaviours

KFC has partnered with SWOOP to understand the data behind what is engaging teams.

KFC’s SWOOP dashboard showing Active Users and Community Health.

As well as providing real-time data on who is connecting with whom, SWOOP will track sentiment in the network, tell you when people are posting, find the hot topics, show the health of the network, the most engaging posts and give every employee tips on how to improve their online collaboration.

Mr D’Souza said while it was great to have 25,000 team members on Yammer, there was no point having those numbers if team members are not regularly using it.

“The biggest thing we wanted to understand is what is the active engagement rate as opposed to just measuring the number of people that were on there and SWOOP does that for us,” he said.

With the help of data from SWOOP, KFC set the goal this year of 35 per cent active engagement, which has already been well surpassed.

Given the high rate of casual employment and turnover of staff due to the nature of the industry, KFC is thrilled with the result and plans to increase the goal in 2019. 

How are restaurants collaborating?

KFC’s SWOOP dashboard shows Influential People and Cross Team Collaboration.

The next step for KFC is getting area coaches to use their own SWOOP dashboard to better understand how each franchisee is collaborating and which stores are more active on Yammer.

“They may have eight stores in their area, and they may use SWOOP to understand if it is one store that is driving all the engagement in their area, or is it all stores?” Mr D’Souza said.

“How do they get all eight of their stores more actively engaged.”

Mr D’Souza said KFC relies on SWOOP to understand who its active users are.

KFC team members use Yammer to recognise “People First”.

“There are some people who will go on Yammer five times a day and then there will be other people who don’t use it at all. By us understanding who those active users are, we can generally go to them to ignite initiatives, we can go and ask them for feedback. We use them as subject matter experts when we want to roll something out on Yammer,” he said.

Even with active engagement levels at 35 per cent, if the largest franchisee in the country is not using Yammer, it’s hard to get excited. With SWOOP, that situation could be easily addressed.

“SWOOP data gives us that understating so we can start to go to that franchisee and say; ‘Why are you guys not using it? How can we help you?’,” Mr D’Souza said.

A post from KFC’s Wellness campaign.

“We don’t want it to be something that’s forced but sometimes it’s just people don’t have it as a priority. Sometimes it’s just a matter of education. We use SWOOP data on how to better guide us on how we can best use Yammer.”

Dr D’Souza says for KFC, Yammer is all about “engagement, engagement, engagement”, mixed with lots of fun.

To hear more from Mr D’Souza please watch Microsoft’s Employee Engagement Summit.

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