How Dave & Buster's Inspires Employees in the Millennial Age

We thought you’d like to read this article which features Chris Schricker, Director of Training at Dave & Buster’s, as he discusses 4 keys to developing a company culture that not only results in the retention of happy employees, but a fun experience for both them and their guests.


Photo Courtesy of FSR Magazine.

Expansion should never come at the price of performance.


Case studies for exploring this dilemma come from companies that primarily field hourly workers, the employee demographic that is historically least motivated, most likely to turn over, and comprised of perennially-distracted millennials.


Chris Schricker, director of training at Dave & Buster’s, began his D&B tenure as a server at the first-ever Dave & Buster’s. Twenty-five years later, he’s responsible for implementing training policy at all 110 Dave & Buster’s.


Develop a core philosophy, and live it (i.e., your values shouldn’t be window dressing)


It’s en vogue to have a “corporate vision” plastered across your website, but a philosophy is about more than branding.


Core culture is the root of everything. You have to be deliberate, talk about it, define it-literally write out and have a plan as to how you’re going to keep it up.


You’ve got to start from the beginning with culture. Guests come to escape and have fun and that should go for the employee as well.


In order to gauge their success in conveying culture, training teams push out 90-day exit surveys for employees who leave the company.


Recognize and reward great work (i.e., use the carrot, not the stick)


It’s what the employee does—details—that keep them coming back, and recognizing those positive behaviors, rather than punishing negative ones, is a super positive way to teach and train.


Dave & Buster’s runs frequent competitions on service and sales, and incentives with a “B.R.A.G.” program that awards points which can be redeemed in an extensive prize marketplace.


These programs accelerate pride, make you stand tall when you move one level to the next.


The same principle goes for management. D&B uses automatic leader-boards tethered to its PoS system in order to rank locations across a standard metric performance scorecard.


The ability to track, to stack rank performance, is huge. People want their name at the top, not at bottom. If you do well, and you care about the company, there’s nothing but success.


Dave & Buster’s boasts a 30 percent internal hire rate for management roles.


Communicate—the right way (i.e., not via your desktop)


It’s not just about communication; it’s about the avenues of communication.


“We can’t just communicate to our GMs and assume that everyone below them gets the memo,” Chris said.


This communication chasm has only become more pronounced with the influx of young, technophilic teens and twenty-somethings in the workforce. As the generational disparity between management and the frontline exacerbates, communication becomes a larger and sharper pain point.


Communications is so instantaneous for millennials that email doesn’t work for them—they won’t wait. Mobile is necessary now, and to be able to send out notifications via text and app has been huge.


The Bottom Line: Be Big; Think Big; Act Small


“For our employees, you’re one of a handful. We always ask ourselves: how do we prevent their feeling ostracized?” Chris said.


“How can we be big, act big, but simultaneously maintain this small, intimate mentality with Guests, and crucially, with our employees?”


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