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Festival Foods

A Positive Annual Review


I joined forces with our Store Directors at each Festival location and just finished conducting annual reviews for all of our Grocery and Frozen/Dairy Department Managers. I know what you are probably thinking… yuck! That doesn’t surprise me. The perception by many people in the working world is that “review time” is the time that your boss gets to unload a bunch of negative thoughts about your performance. I can totally understand that perception as I have been on the receiving end of that type of review with a previous employer I worked for.

When I started with Festival in 2003 it became quite clear that Festival had a different idea about how reviews should be handled. One of our Five Values is “Associate Development.” We define Associate Development as having passion for and a strong commitment to developing our associates both personally and professionally. With that in mind I thought I’d share what we actually cover in our annual reviews. The following is a list of 6 characteristics that we review and discuss in an open forum.

Guest Minded

We talk about customer engagement, greeting, scheduling accuracy, listening to associate needs in servicing our guests, and whether or not we take the time to critique our team.

Product Minded

We ask ourselves if we are executing our merchandising standards, product knowledge, categories, value, sales floor conditions, and discuss our opportunities for being in stock and date checking.

Associate Minded

We spend a great deal of time discussing this as we feel it’s important to the overall success of our team. We are a company built on Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership is defined as meeting the legitimate needs of others. We focus on building relationships and not just stocking groceries. We feel that if we take care of the needs of our associates that they will in turn give impeccable customer service. Being a leader at Festival is a huge responsibility. It entails being a good communicator, having the ability to energize others, having good listening skills, and at the same, time holding our team accountable.

Detail Minded

This is largely about executing and being efficient.

Stable Minded

This is where reliability, punctuality, and consistency jump out.

Open Minded

We discuss if we feel the manager is goal oriented, willing to initiate change, willing to try new ideas, and if they have the ability to accept constructive criticism.

We believe that there should be no surprises during an annual review. We pride ourselves on good feedback and not procrastinating when it comes to the tough conversation. We use our review as a time to celebrate past experiences and identify gaps that we want to improve on in the upcoming year… no surprises! Our team is green and growing and while we don’t have it all figured out yet, we will continue to improve and improve. We have a responsibility to the people we work alongside and to the guests we serve to make Festival more than just a grocery store. So if you are a person with high energy, a passion for excellence, a willingness to serve others, and enjoy a fast paced- environment where no one day is like the other, you should consider a career in the grocery industry. It is more than just ketchup and mustard.

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