Jamie Oliver's recipe for a great team - 23 Oct 2015

The recent Glasgow Welcomes Champions event offered the opportunity for 40 delegates to find out a few of the secret ingredients that go into Jamie Oliver’s Recipe for Developing and Motivating the Team.

The presentation was led by Ed Dugdill, the General Manager of Jamie’s Italian Glasgow, and Melanie Swan, Operations Manager for Jamie’s Italian.

Both Ed and Mel were praised by delegates for their “huge enthusiasm”, “freshness” and “energy”.

At the heart of the Jamie “recipe” for staff is the acronym FAMILY. This stands for:

Family – the aim is for staff to feel part of “Jamie’s family” and the “Jamie culture”.

“The happy family concept might seem glib,” said Ed, “but it does happen when a team of people work well together and support each other, much like you would in your own family.

“Jamie likes to think of all of his staff being part of his wider family and looking to each other for support and advice. We are all encouraged to speak to each other a lot, across departments and different establishments.

“Jamie also pops into talk to us and is often in touch. He even has the mobile numbers of general managers in each restaurant, which he uses for a personal catch-up. That can be scary but it’s also enlightened, I think, because it helps you to stay in touch with the boss; the head of the family.”

Ambassador – Staff need to know the aims, sentiments and values of Jamie himself.

“Embracing these ideals and knowing what Jamie would want in his restaurants, kitchens and ingredients, etc, enables staff to act as ambassadors for the business,” said Ed.

Make it happen – this is about “doing things brilliantly for Jamie”. When staff are recruited they are judged more on their passion and enthusiasm, rather than experience and expertise.

Mel said: “We want people who can bring passion to the business and can remain enthusiastic about their work and what Jamie’s is all about.

“The training for the job can come from us. The Jamie Group offers a structured development for staff and our learning and development team work closely with employees so we have well qualified people.

“But you can’t easily train people to be passionate and enthusiastic. That’s why we look for this at interview stage.”

Integrity – Jamie believes in sustainability, great products and good training, as well as honesty. These values should be part of the every day working life of staff and also believed in by staff.

Learning – A large part of the Jamie family culture is to be continually learning so that staff do not lose enthusiasm or stagnate in one role. This comes from the very beginning with an induction process that includes a welcoming – and motivational – video presented by Jamie himself.

There are compulsory learning sessions, covering topics such as people management and food safety. “These are the things that need to be done correctly, so staff have to learn about these,” says Mel.

There are also many in-house training programmes that staff can sign up for and more recently a new programme of NVQs, as well as CMI modules in Management & Leadership Development and Training.

Staff, whatever their level, are also encouraged to take up opportunities for new learning and development experiences. These cover a wide range of ideas, including experimental learning.

If staff are keen to learn about other areas of the business they can ask for coaching or lessons.

Ed said: “I recently attended a sports psychology course on ‘how to pace yourself’. This might not seem immediately relevant to my work in a restaurant but I learned a great deal about my energy levels and how to create the right pace in a business.”

Other opportunities include visits to food producers, markets, food foraging trips, sabbaticals, cultural days and international learning trips.

Another aspect of the learning process is the daily pre-shift meeting attended by all staff at 11.30am. Ed said: “It’s a time to learn from each other on a daily basis and to find out what has worked and what hasn’t. It can be a fun time but it also has a serious message.”

You – There are many different examples of how “you” counts as part of the Jamie family.

Mel says: “The individual, or ‘you’, is developed as part of the Jamie philosophy. When you join the group it’s about developing you to be the best you can in the Jamie family.”

Reward and recognition also play an important role in developing “you”. Ed said: “We have an ambassador of the month award and chef Olympics, for example.”

Many thanks to Jamie’s team for giving us an insight into the Jamie culture of team motivation. Keep an eye on the Glasgow Welcomes website for the next Champions event which is taking place on January 28, 2016.

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