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Podcast: Kettle Cuisine & the Recipe for Employee Engagement

Kettle Cuisine 1 Kettle Cuisine 2Kettle Cuisine was founded in the Boston area in 1986 and have their headquarters in Lynn, Massachusetts.  They make small batch, all natural soups from scratch for restaurants, food service operations and grocery retailers nationwide.  They employ about 275 employees, many of whom are immigrants to the United States.  I was introduced to their Sr. VP of Innovation and Process, Nick Murphy, at a local food pantry where Kettle had donated soup for the guests, in keeping with their mission of helping to address food insufficiency in the local community.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting their headquarters in Lynn, and meeting with Nick and his colleagues, Director of HR Ann Hargraves and HR Manager Julie Roix (pictured left to right in the photo above).  Kettle has prospered for 30 years by focusing on their culture and their employees. In the photo here that illustrates their value of "Honor each other" you see rows of wooden spoons on the wall.  Each one represents an employee, and is decorated by that employee.  A small, but personal touch to drive home the value of every team member.

They have a great story that powerfully illustrates the benefit of investing in your employees in order to build a great business.  I recorded our conversation, and you can listen in on the podcast link below to hear their story directly from them.  We discussed the following topics, among others:

  1. Kettle Cuisine founder Jerry Schafir placed a significant emphasis on culture from the start.  How are the values he established still going strong today?
  2. Ann Hargraves speaks about investing in the whole person in order to engage and retain your employees.
  3. Most of their employees are immigrants to the United States. Learn about the various programs Kettle has put in place to help them thrive at work (and outside of work and beyond Kettle).
  4. Although many of their jobs are entry level and hard, they have a number of employees who've been with Kettle for 15+ years. What is it about Kettle that encourages this kind of retention?
  5. What challenges are they facing as the business expands - and what are they doing to address these challenges?

Please click on the player below to hear our conversation.

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