On Tuesday, February 7th 2012, representatives from Chik-fil-A came to an AIMS meeting for the first time ever. Rebecca Sills and Lisa Hardigree ran the presentation. While we lined up for our chicken fingers and fruit, they played some fun videos of people singing about their love for Chik-fil-A.
They started the presentation by introducing us to four of their core values: Generosity, Loyalty, Integrity, and Excellence. To them, generosity is present in their corporate purpose, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” They not only value stewardship, but also are generous with their communities and their employees. Annually, they donate 10% of their gross profits to charities. They are generous to their employees by providing them with great benefits like free lunch, insurance, and reduced cost child care. Next, they discussed loyalty. They have an impressive 97% retention rate on their staff, which shows the loyalty the employees have to the company. Chik-fil-A demonstrates loyalty back to their employees through their commitment to ongoing professional development and tuition reimbursement program. They also express loyalty to the strong beliefs that they were founded on by staying closed on Sundays. The third value they talked about was integrity. They hire people based on what they call the 3 C’s: Character, Competence, and Chemistry. They believe that it is important to employ people who are truth tellers, who follow through, and who demonstrate commitment. The last value that they discussed with us was Excellence. Rebecca and Lisa made a great point when they said that they believe there is a difference between excellence and success. To measure success, one measures their performance against the performance of others. To measure excellence, however, one measures their performance against their own potential. Chik-fil-A strives to not only outperform their competition, but also reach their own potential. This year they reached over $4 billion in sales, a definite indication that they are reaching for excellence. They even have an innovation department whose sole job is to come up with ideas to make things better.
After finishing up with their values, the representatives showed us a “Day in the Life” video. The video really helped to show us what it is like to be a Chik-fil-A employee. It let us see their beautiful campus, complete with a fitness center and running trails. It showed an employee taking her children to an on-site daycare center and eating a lunch in the cafeteria- free to all employees. The video also showed Chik-fil-A’s emphasis on people and relationships.
The next part of the presentation was what everyone wants to hear about-internships and jobs. First, Lisa discussed in detail their impressive internship program. She talked about how 38 interns get real world experience by working on real projects that are important to the company. The interns attend 10-12 “Lunch and Learn” functions where they eat lunch with company executives and talk with them. They have status meetings, reviews, strength assessments, and exit interviews. We also got to hear from our fellow student Melissa Nesman as she discussed how much she enjoyed her internship with the company this past summer. After that, Rebecca told us about being a full time employee at Chik-fil-A. New employees begin with a 6 month long ‘boot camp’, a training program where they learn more about the technical aspects of the company that they will work with. Then they are placed in their starting positions. From there, IT employees move up and go on one of two tracks, a ‘Business Analyst’ track or an ‘Application Developer’ track. The representatives emphasized that Chik-fil-A is not a title driven company, but the longer employees are with the company, the more responsibility they receive.
The presentation wrapped up with an informative question and answer session, where Rebecca and Lisa let us know even more about the company. It was an interesting and enlightening presentation, and many students are now eager to travel to Atlanta to work for Chik-fil-A.