Improved Employee Engagement
Surveys & Insights
Pizza Pizza Limited is a franchised Canadian pizza restaurant chain with its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 1967, it now boasts over 750 restaurants and has more than 1,600 employees across Canada.
Over the last 50 years, Pizza Pizza has become a trusted brand and leader in the food service industry through a focus on quality ingredients, customer service, continuous innovation and community involvement.
In 2017, Pizza Pizza’s newly appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) highlighted the importance of activating the employee voice and together with the Vice President of HR championed the idea of collecting employee feedback. Growing and changing business operations provided the catalyst for Pizza Pizza to gather sentiment.
Corporate employees were asked how they were feeling about their employer, how to improve the company moving forward and their thoughts on new c-suite leadership.
“Our mentality at that time was ‘Just do your work’. We didn’t realize we needed to change things to move forward. Once we brought in the new COO, that’s when things really started to move.” – Therese Sousa, HR Manager
Pizza Pizza had never before collected sentiment or distributed an employee survey. So, when they began to consider one, they wanted to make sure it was done right. They were looking to collect a baseline engagement measurement and to hear suggestions from their employees on how to improve the organization. But where to start?
“We wanted to figure out what our employees were thinking of Pizza Pizza, our leadership team and to see what they were hoping the company would do moving forward. HR has individual conversations with people but we needed a better picture of what employees were expecting from us.” – Therese Sousa
They required a modern approach to listening. Something flexible and robust that would deliver quick feedback and accurate reporting. A tool that was backed by the kind of expertise and support needed to guide the creation of a strategy aligned to their unique use case—and based on best practice principles.
Pizza Pizza sought a survey solution that ticked several boxes.
- Established a baseline from which to track progress by
- Collecting employee sentiment about the organization and what people want going forward
- Gathering sentiment in regard to the leadership team
- Increasing awareness on the importance of improving the employee experience
- Offering the ability to add custom questions to the survey
- Provided superior reporting and action planning by
- Generating reliable, accurate, easily-accessible results in real-time
- Delivering superior slice-and-dice reporting capabilities (i.e. department, tenure)
- Accurately tracking and reporting employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) in simple to understand terms
- Including post-survey action plan recommendations alongside a results presentation
- Protected confidentiality and anonymity by
- Acquiring a solution with third-party oversight—effectively guaranteeing confidentiality in order to instill a sense of trust in the platform and give employees the confidence to answer questions authentically
- Bolstering trust throughout the workforce to ensure maximum participation
- Included expert-level support and advisory to ensure
- A scientifically-validated employee engagement structure would stand the test of time
- Training, support and guidance would continue for additional survey initiatives
- Survey communication needs would be supported by templates (i.e., pre-survey communication, follow up reminder notices)
Survey communication needs would be supported by templates (i.e., pre-survey communication, follow up reminder notices)
WorkTango’s online material ticked all the boxes and an invitation was extended to deliver a presentation to the HR team, COO and senior leadership.
“We were really impressed with the quality WorkTango was offering us. Right from the very beginning they seemed on top of it. They knew what they were talking about, were pleasant people and offered coaching sessions. It was really the professionalism that made us move forward. We felt very comfortable with them then and still do today.” – Therese Sousa
Having never conducted an employee voice initiative, the development of Pizza Pizza’s engagement survey started from scratch. Step one was getting their HRIS data into the WorkTango platform.
“I don’t recall the set-up taking that long at all. We had it up and running in a month. And there wasn’t a lot of work to be done on our end.” – Therese Sousa
Following initial set-up, Pizza Pizza leaned on WorkTango’s expertise to design a survey that combined their specific questions with scientifically validated employee engagement questions drawn from WorkTango’s extensive library of survey items.
Using templates and timeline guidance from WorkTango, pre-survey communication was issued with an emphasis on the confidentiality of all responses. Secondary messaging communicated an overview of the survey tool, what employees could expect, and what the company was aiming to achieve.
“We made it quite clear from the beginning that the survey was being handled by WorkTango and that we didn’t have access to who was filling out what questions. Our biggest challenge with the survey was tackling trust issues and getting our employees to believe we truly wouldn’t know who was saying what.” – Therese Sousa
Post-survey, WorkTango provided training to Pizza Pizza’s senior leadership. Participants were shown where to view overall results from the reporting dashboard, and how to slice and dice reports to find pertinent information. Additionally, WorkTango delivered presentations to Pizza Pizza’s HR team to highlight key insights, learnings and action plans resulting from the survey.
WorkTango provided the foundation for Pizza Pizza’s entire employee listening program by offering a turnkey solution that was customizable, easy to use, and met all of their survey requirements.
With an established baseline in hand and a brand-new employee engagement program in the works, thanks to initial survey feedback, this was still early days in Pizza Pizza’s employee engagement journey. Collecting insights from corporate employees was the first step to bigger and better strides.
The results of the restaurant chain’s first-ever engagement survey brought corporate employee concerns to light. Not unexpectedly common themes zeroed in on health benefits, trust issues, pay rates, and hesitations about senior leadership. Using these results as a guiding beacon, actions were implemented to instill positive organizational change.
“We’re doing more events as an organization now. The employees are being listened to and when something is said, everyone is aware of it. Trust has been built and internal communication has definitely gone up.” – Therese Sousa
Since that initial survey in 2018 Pizza Pizza’s communication score has jumped from a baseline of 61% to 77% two short years later, showing clear signs that internal communication has indeed improved.
Alongside monthly employee events such as barbecues and virtual social celebrations, Pizza Pizza has introduced more frequent recognition via monthly town hall business updates; time is dedicated to acknowledging individual contributions and calling attention to personal birthdays and work anniversaries. This positive change, among others, is reflected in their recognition and reward score also increasing from a 49% favorable response rate in 2018 to 70% in 2021.
Additionally, in response to concerns highlighted in the initial survey, head office took action to re-evaluate employee compensation and made increases to be more competitive in the market. Future plans are to implement a structured pay scale where yearly raises are transparent and the path to career advancement is clear for all employees.
As a result of activating and listening to the voice of their people, a holistic approach to improving Pizza Pizza’s employee experience has been achieved, and considerable positive gains have been realized across all fronts.
EMPLOYLEE NET PROMOTER SCORE (eNPS)
The eNPS is a consistent measure to accurately track how employees feel about their organization. Pizza Pizza’s results are on a steady climb. At the outset of its employee surveying, he pizza company’s eNPS was a low -32 , rose to -16 in 2020 and made noticeable gains in 2021, reaching +14.
A total increase of 46 points is quite substantial and a direct reflection of the positive internal work that has been done to improve the (work) lives, engagement and satisfaction of employees at Pizza Pizza.
Pizza Pizza has seen significant change at the executive leadership level since partnering with WorkTango in 2018. Hence, an important data point they’ve been tracking is employee sentiment toward senior leadership.
Initially, sentiment was collected to reflect employee’s feelings toward the newly appointed COO. But in 2020 with the retirement of a few c-suite executives, Pizza Pizza promoted a new vanguard of leaders from within. As long-standing executives retired, “tried and true” ways of thinking began to shift and more resources began channeling employee voice initiatives in large part because of increased executive buy-in.
That same buy-in stepped up an appreciation for survey feedback as a way to pinpoint opportunities for leadership growth, and drove a big push on leadership training at all levels of the organization. The impact is reflected in Pizza Pizza’s leadership score moving from 64% of employees responding favorably to leadership in 2018, to 71% in 2020, and then jumping to 85% in 2021.
HEALTH BENEFIT SURVEY
Following their first employee engagement survey, a theme surfaced with regard to the health benefits offered at Pizza Pizza. Employees weren’t completely satisfied with their coverage. To learn more, Pizza Pizza deployed a custom-tailored “health benefits” survey
Survey results indicated that employees wanted more budget allocated to health benefits (such as physiotherapy). RRSP contributions, pension plans and flex dollars were also flagged. The voice of employees was heard loud and clear. In response Pizza Pizza:
- Introduced a flex benefits program in 2019 where employees can use their flex dollars for any health benefit they wish.
- Continued to build on the program and increased funding allocation in the ensuing years.
- Gave employees the option to carry over any unused health benefit amounts to the following year—providing further flexibility around their healthcare needs.
- Additionally, Pizza Pizza increased the base benefit offering at the sole cost of the organization and is looking at extending health benefits to previously ineligible franchise employees.
RETURN TO WORK SURVEY
Pizza Pizza deployed a return-to-work survey to find out how comfortable corporate employees were about returning to the office and what their preferred schedule would be.
Results showed the majority of employees were very comfortable working from home and wanted flexible work arrangements. Initially, Pizza Pizza thought the ideal schedule would be two days working from home and three in the office. But what the survey found was a preference to work three or four days from home and to only come in once per week – with some not wanting to return at all.
To the Canadian company’s surprise many of its employees did not feel safe commuting to work via public transit (one of the primary ways their people traveled to and from the office). Furthermore, employee’s wanted clarity on how office health and safety protocols would be managed.
“We thought we had it all figured out, and then we did the survey and it was like ‘woah ok, we have to pull back’. So, we made the adjustments and now we’re at three to four days working from home and one in the office… We became very flexible with their schedules.” – Therese Sousa
Under WorkTango’s guidance Pizza Pizza now actively listens to their employees. In doing so the company has created a flexible and safe work environment that meets the needs of a hybrid workforce.
From an organization that had nothing in place to putting employee engagement at the forefront of HR, Pizza Pizza’s story is a compelling one that should serve as a guide for those hesitant to take their first steps or uncertain of where to start.
The ability to collect feedback, track the sentiment of employees, slice-and-dice data, and quickly act on that feedback—combined with the customization that comes with the WorkTango platform—gave Pizza Pizza everything they needed from an employee engagement vendor, and more.
Looking ahead, Pizza Pizza has plans to significantly ramp up its employee voice initiatives to encompass a diversity, equity, and inclusion survey and eventually a leadership survey. They’ve established a D&I council that will own the initiative–comprised of members of their marketing, sales, real estate, and IT departments.
What initially began as an engagement survey has slowly risen into targeted surveys which progressively cover more of the employee lifecycle. As Pizza Pizza continues to grow its employee voice initiatives, the restaurant chain’s comprehensive employee voice strategy is proving to be a recipe for success, with delicious results.
“It’s been an amazing experience. WorkTango is there for me all the time, no matter what question I have or what needs to be done. I have no complaints whatsoever.”
Communication score increased
Recognition and reward score increased
Average eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) increased by
Leadership score increased by
Established and expanded employee voice initiatives to encompass more of the employee lifecycle