THE MOTHER OF ALL TRAINERS – BUILDING LEARNING PATHWAYS AND LONG-TERM CAREERS
With around 12,000 staff in her remit (many of them young crew) as the Head of Learning and Training for Craveable Brands (Oporto’s holding company), Melissa Anderson certainly has her work cut out for her.
CRAVEABLE BRANDS HEAD OF LEARNING AND TRAINING – MELISSA ANDERSON
The former high school teacher and mother of two has found her niche implementing valuable skills programs for employees and paving the way for Craveable’s most valuable and valued assets – its young people.
“I enjoyed teaching”, she nervously laughs. “I now however find working with young people incredibly rewarding. It’s really satisfying knowing that I’m making a difference to their career progression and the company at the same time.”
One of Mel’s key projects was the development and implementation of the new Learning Pathways, aka the “Training Refresh Project”. Currently available across all three of Craveable’s brands (Oporto, Red Rooster and Chicken Treat). Mel has drawn upon her vast experience in senior training roles with companies such as Gloria Jean’s Coffees and Coca Cola Amatil to establish an entirely new training and development platform for the company.
“At its core the Training Refresh Project is about ‘learning and development’, rather than ‘training’,” explains Melissa. “It’s a conscious move away from the antiquated ‘do as you’re told and it doesn’t matter why’ method of education towards an engaging, inspirational, comprehensive learning program that develops and unleashes potential, not just within the restaurants, but also where the employee’s broader life skills are concerned.”
‘Where are you growing?’
Mel is a passionate advocate for empowering people to be successful in life. She believes that her ability to see the bigger picture has been an invaluable skill in a fast-paced market. “To move forward in any business, you really need to keep your eye on the company’s whole vision. Additionally, an ability to be able to work with change and embrace that is also important.”
“Our tagline at Craveable is ‘where are you growing?’ Put it this way… You could start your career in restaurant as a dishwasher, but eventually end up transitioning to management and even CEO level. We want our young people to know that working for a Craveable brand doesn’t have to just be a temporary job – it can actually be the start of a satisfying and successful career. And even if it is just short-term, we still want to give our young people valuable skills in things like organisation and people management which they can then take elsewhere.”
AGILE – PASSIONATE – LOYAL
Melissa says it’s vital for franchisees when managing young staff to be clear in their expectations and involve them in the journey of the business. It seems that working with young folk is a delicate artform that needs its own approach.
“Owners need to be aware that they have to set boundaries when it comes to managing young staff. However, they also need to give respect in order to earn respect. We really believe that if we grow with our employees our company will also grow and go on to achieve even greater things. We are in the people business – it’s that simple!”
“Nowadays young generations want to know why they do what they do, and why they need to do something one way and not another way. That dictatorship in business you saw maybe 20 years ago won’t be tolerated these days – people will walk. Young people need to really understand and engage with what they’re doing to connect with the brand and need to be involved in a wider level where possible.”
When she’s not paving the way for the Cravers of the future…
Mel can be found on her property reaping the rewards of a well looked after veggie garden and trying to keep her goats and dog out of it!