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Blog : Talking Talent


Talking Talent

This month we find out from Becky Rose, Head of Academy for Asian inspired healthy food chain Itsu, what a 'high performance culture' means to the business, and how customer-centricity plays a significant role...


1. What does a ‘high performance culture’ mean to you, and Itsu?

It’s about having a long term vision, setting stretching targets, being clear about ‘what great looks like’ and, most importantly, offering the development, the ‘how to’ and the support along the way that will enable your people to achieve. Regular reviews and courageous conversations along the way is equally as important; it keeps everyone on track and offers continuous development. This is crucial to us as a fast moving and growing business.

We run quarterly ‘Pride’ surveys to monitor our culture on top of an annual in-depth People survey that gets under the skin of this culture – is it working? Are we happy? We ask the good, the bad and the ugly and this helps us evaluate and make decisions from an HR and a business perspective.


2. Setting expectations is crucial for a successful high performing culture – how do you do this from day one within Itsu? And then reinforce?

Alongside the business KPIs and personal objectives, we also set behavioural expectations; our Itsu Qualities or IQs. This is so that there’s not just clarity around the ‘what’ we do but also how we do it. We use our IQs even before day one as it’s part of our interviewing process and on our Discovery Days. These are our on job evaluations, each team member has a say in whether an applicant matches those behavioural expectations.  Throughout everyone’s journey at Itsu our IQs are touched on and used as a measurement tool at every point; even all of our team at Parker Street [Head Office] have IQ reviews every quarter. Irrespective of what role you hold, those expectations are the same. This makes for consistency and reinforces our culture.


3. Customer-centricity also plays a significant role – what advice would you offer to those trying to achieve it?

It’s about having respect at the heart of your business. Our Exec team listens to and respects the feedback from our customers which influences their actions. Our Parker Street departments understand and respect customer needs so we can deliver the best products, design the perfect surroundings and invest in the latest technology to make it easy to visit us. Our Managers create the right environment for our teams to read our customers and interpret the service they want from us.  


4. Can you train high-performance? What’s your take?

I wouldn’t say that you can train high performance but you can unlock it; intrinsic motivation can be nurtured through coaching, feedback and support, but not trained. We genuinely believe that everyone can be the best that they want to be; it’s our responsibility to find out what everyone’s version of ‘best’ is and do our best to support them in achieving it.


5. Employees must be informed; continually reminded of why their work is meaningful. With almost 60 shops and 750 employees; how do you keep in touch with everyone?

We have several ways of talking to our employees. Once a quarter we hold a big get together called ‘Quarter Brief’ for all of our General Managers and Parker Street Team Members. We give department updates, celebrate achievement and recognise effort. We also use it as a way to have Managers’ input on hot topics – for example opinions on new products before they hit the shops and what courses they want to see being offered from the Academy. In between this, each area has monthly Management Meetings, we send out weekly Newsletters. The shops also have daily team briefs, which follow a set structure of Kitchen, Shop and People to make sure that a well-rounded message is delivered every day.

Ready to get in touch?