As the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc., Brent oversees the Cathy family office, financial services, supply chain, and enterprise viability. However, Brent admits his most important role is to make sure culture stays relevant and that he develops leadership. He spends 70% of his time focused on organizational health and ensuring it transcends down throughout the finance function and supply chain. Brent constantly thinks about how Chick-fil-A can create a great work environment and he believes it starts with the day an employee walks in the door.
ON FINDING THE RIGHT TALENT
Chick-fil-A recruits many students right out of college; therefore, they’ve had to make their organization appealing to what the current generation desires from a career standpoint. Chick-fil-A recently made numerous changes to attract new team members, first and foremost, by updating their workplace. The organization was originally not a fan of the open workplace but wanted to appeal to the up and coming generation. They learned employees tend to hide in offices; in turn, stifling collaboration and communication. Chick-fil-A offers a behind the scenes tour to demonstrate their massive shift in space. Click here to schedule a tour.
Chick-fil-A minimizes turnover by approaching it on the front end. They focus on CHARACTER, CHEMISTRY, AND COMPETENCY “THE THREE CS”. After a skills test, candidates are often interviewed at lower levels to see how they interact from a chemistry standpoint. Once hired, Chick-fil-A wants each employee to excel in their role first and foremost, then expand into other functions. They are intentional about activities the employee takes on and assign a mentor for their first year of employment.
ON DEVELOPMENT & CAREER PATHING
Former CFO, Buck McCabe, exposed Brent to the technical and strategy side of the business. Brent did time in tax, corporate reporting, restaurant reporting and spent time in the family office developing the Cathy estate plan. Brent reveals Chick-fil-A uses Coca Cola’s concept of “Three Deep” – develop three people from a director level and up that could take your place should something happen. “You never know what tomorrow holds, and from an organizational health perspective, it can be very disruptive to the business to not have a succession plan in place”. Chick-fil-A is highly focused on succession planning and intentional about career pathing.
ON BRENT’S FAVORITE MENU ITEM
The Original Chicken Sandwich with Chick-fil-A Sauce.