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Employee Engagement on Wheels

Nov 11, 2014

Written by: Tim Houlihan
(View Author Bio)

Learn what food trucks and employee engagement initiatives have in common.

Employee Engagement on Wheels 

Stand to the right. Decide on your order before you get to the window – then open wide. The current trend for truckside dining is continuing to grow and the National Food Truck Association estimates that restaurants-on-wheels generate $1 billion of sales annually in the U.S. What’s interesting to note is that only part – and probably not the largest part – of this phenomenon is about food. The rest of the buzz centers on the highly personal experience of the individual diners. 

Standing in line for lunch at our favorite food truck location, we got to thinking about how similar this experience was to a well-designed employee engagement strategy (and yes, that is the kind of thing we thought about in the food truck line, because we’d already decided on the pork belly taco with the cilantro-lime reduction, so we had some extra time). Here’s what we mused before we got ready to chow down: 

It’s all about social:

Many food truck owners say they couldn’t do what they do, or sell as much food as they do, without a heavy reliance on social media. Twitter and Facebook are the chief connection points between one mobile food unit and its legion of uber-urban hipsters who follow its location the way rabid sports fans follow the play-by-play. The lesson for your engagement program: if you aren’t out in front with social media allowing your managers and employees to follow, recognize and reinforce each other in ways they prefer, then you might be giving your engagement program a hard-to-overcome flat tire. 

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Tim Houlihan at BI WORLDWIDE

Tim Houlihan

Vice President
Reward Systems Group

For more than 25 years, Tim Houlihan has indulged his curiosities of human behavior in the workplace. He passionately pursues answers to questions such as “Why do some people work harder than others?” and “Why do some people set and achieve goals?” and acknowledges that behavioral economics holds excellent explanations for some of these mysteries. As the Vice President of Reward Systems at BIW, Tim is responsible for leading the development of innovative reward systems. He partners with academic colleagues from leading universities around the world and he is actively engaged with leaders in Fortune 1000 companies to develop solutions for the human side of business problems.