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Poké House: Involving Management in the Talent Attraction process

For this new episode of "In search of Corporate Wellness" we meet Daniela Paderni , Head of People and Matteo Berlin , HR Business Partner Retail, at Pokè House , the very well-known and very Italian pokè chain.


We will talk about how much their business has grown and how the HR Team is activating this change by supporting growth not only in numerical terms (the number of stores in the area continues to increase), but also in terms of values (with reference to people, their growth and development.


A: Pokè House: an indisputable Italian success story! in Italy in 2021 the poker market almost reached 100 million euros in turnover (+14% on 2020) and Pokè House in particular will exceed 40 million euros in turnover this year, becoming a leader in Europe with 65 venues. How do all these sudden changes translate within the environment and the work group?


In Pokè House, Daniela tells us, we start from the assumption that the strength of the company and its growth is given first of all by the people who live there and by the approach to building teams.


Each of them puts passion, effort and commitment into everything they do within the context: from the construction of the premises, to their management, up to how they approach calls or the design of internal processes. This approach creates a strong sense of belonging, attachment and flexibility typical of start-ups and which favors the growth path of living in the company.


Each of the Pokè House employees is as if they were an entrepreneur within the company itself , it is probably also this spirit of strong sense of responsibility that has allowed such strong growth and change in the company, consequently projected onto the team.


A: More specifically, how is the HR Team dealing with this moment?


Obviously the HR team also participated in this change, experiencing first-hand a change in perspective and approach. In fact, Daniela tells us that the HR team present in the Milan head quarter is made up of around 6 people who include Talent Acquisition and Business Partners; the team that dealt with the Training part was integrated into these functions , making training an integral part of the acquisition flow and giving an increasingly stronger message with a view to making HR an increasingly strategic function.


The objective is to increasingly enable HR to become a strategic consultant who will dedicate himself directly to his main client: the employee. For this reason, each HR is assigned to an Area Manager, this means that the HR will have a more global influence on internal needs, managing to anticipate any problems and developing a broader awareness of the reference context.

"Therefore, the stores will have access to not only training but also complexity management, solutions to optimize work and real attention to the experience and well-being of the people who work there."

Matteo shares some numbers with us: in the last 8 months they have interviewed around 190 people per month with a hiring rate of 25%.


So despite the large workflow they managed to maintain high efficiency on the selection of profiles truly in line with the context; with these inflows it was necessary to give a new approach to the acquisition process and for this reason the construction of a more strategic HR role, also at a European level, was fundamental .


A: You referred to a change in approach: from traditional recruiting to talent attraction. Can you tell us more about this?


Matteo tells us that to understand the origins of this change in approach we need to refer to the context in which it was born: a context that recorded great growth during the pandemic, but which is already recording an important reappearance of competitive strength and a change in approach of the person looking for work.

The candidate is no longer running. It is important that we find him and offer him something in line with his expectations. Not just to fill a box and say we did it, but for a real empathetic understanding of the colleague in the Store who may find himself without staff and who would obviously be in difficulty without our work.

The idea, therefore, was to work more from a head hunting perspective than traditional recruiting. Don't passively wait for the application, but actively go and look for the resource we need . Other strategies implemented were, for example, implementing an internal referral, testing various platforms and software to optimize processes and significantly shorten the recruiting process.


Daniela adds another fundamental aspect of the Pokè House approach: always trying to anticipate the critical issues or needs of the employee. In this regard, every 6 months they launch a survey to get more feedback from people and base their subsequent work on the feedback, advice and suggestions received.


The profound meaning of this initiative is the approach aimed at support, rather than control.


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Matteo explains to us that if previously the normality was to present managers with candidates perfectly in line with the position, now with increasingly present competition and a very complex reference context, it becomes increasingly difficult. For this reason it was necessary to change the approach, focusing heavily on training and the involvement of management itself .


Store Managers, in fact, are constantly trained on the principles of Research and Selection , from a more theoretical point of view, and on its functioning, therefore providing support on everything relating to operations and concrete actions. A process that was certainly very demanding, but which did not take long to produce results, especially in terms of Employer Branding, Retention and Engagement.


Matteo tells us that something like this was possible first of all with the establishment of a relationship of trust with the management and, secondly, thanks to the greater attention paid to fit with values and individual responsibility.


A: Pokè House, we read on the company website, "was created to spread a healthy and balanced lifestyle". How is this product philosophy reflected within your company reality?


Daniela tells us that this is one of the most central aspects of Pokè House's identity. Spreading a healthy and balanced lifestyle is their mission and passes from the creation of the product, from the search for quality ingredients, to the organization of logistics: everything is done with a view to freshness and authenticity.


From the product we move directly to the approach with their people: for example, for two years they have been organizing events for all collaborators in which to meet and train on those aspects that concern food well-being, but not only. Organized yoga, fitness and meetings with personal trainers are therefore frequent, to convey a culture based on a healthier lifestyle.


This attention is also found inside the offices where even the snacks made available are chosen with care and in line with the principles of well-being.


A: In your opinion, what does Corporate Wellness mean and what are its essential elements?


According to Matteo there is no unique definition of organizational well-being for each person. Each of us can enjoy the company well for significantly different reasons; as regards their context, at the top of the list is certainly mutual respect and trust in colleagues , fundamental elements for creating a positive, stimulating and cohesive environment.

"esteem allows and facilitates comparison and continuous growth, trust also allows you to gain confidence in achieving objectives. Because you know you have people around you with whom it will be possible to achieve the most challenging results."

Esteem and trust represent key aspects for the creation of a culture based on development and knowledge of the context, rather than control. This is also a fundamental element when it comes to 360° well-being and sustainability in the company.


Daniela adds that the importance of distinguishing the needs of workers in this area means taking into consideration the different needs starting from the employee's personal data.


One beautiful thing about Pokè House, continues Daniela, is seeing how much people grow within their context, hand in hand with the growth of the company : a clear signal of the healthy state in which the company finds itself.



Thank you Daniela and thank you Matteo for the experience and advice you wanted to share with us.


See you soon!




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