“Making People a Priority” is one of the five strategic priorities for Papa John’s. Having a Papa John's family that reflects and embraces the global nature of our brand is the right way to do business and allows us to better serve all customers.

The best way to understand how we can create a better culture is to reflect on who we are and what improvements we can make. That’s why in July of 2018, the Special Committee of Papa John’s Board of Directors, comprised of all of the independent directors, appointed law firm Akin Gump to oversee an audit of the company’ culture processes, policies and systems and supplier engagement related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Team members participated in interviews as well as the online focus groups, which were led by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), a nonprofit think tank that conducts diversity and inclusion research to capture an honest view of our culture.

As a result of the high level of participation throughout the corporate campus and candid feedback, management has been provided with recommendations, many of which are already well underway. Below are the actions being taken by Papa John’s management in response to the Special Committee’s recommendations: 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Recommendations:

  • DE&I and Leadership: The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) will actively participate in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and DE&I events, as well as champion DE&I across the company and project a clear vision and guidance as to how team members can play a part in achieving a more diverse and inclusive organization. ELT is committed to promoting, hiring and retaining diverse talent. 
  • DE&I Training: Corporate-wide DE&I training is a priority for 2019 and beyond. Our corporate campus completed workshops in January with a 95% participation rate. Above-store leaders are currently participating in workshops and we will make training available in the QCCs and at the restaurant-level, including franchise restaurants, this year.
  • Vendor & Supplier Diversity: We are establishing a vendor supplier diversity policy and will develop metrics to measure our improvements. Leading this effort is Natonya Harbison, who joined the DE&I team last year as a director in charge of supplier diversity.
  • DE&I Metrics: We will develop a way to measure the success of our DE&I efforts and will set both internal and external goals.

Human Resources Recommendations:

  • Chief People Officer: We created the role of Chief People Officer and are pleased that Marvin Boakye joined Papa John’s in January 2019. Marvin brings extensive training, credentials and experience. Marvin, along with his leadership team, will define a vision and strategy for the People Operations department and will use external resources, as needed, in the rollout of new processes and initiatives.
  • Talent Management Processes: The People team has been working on refreshing our talent management processes, with the goal of creating a career management framework for all team members, providing better transparency around career paths and more clarity on promotion opportunities. We will also be improving our performance review process. We will be providing an update on these new processes in the months to come.
  • HR Processes for Employee Concerns: We will provide comprehensive training to personnel who handle employee complaints for uniform processing, documentation and communication with employees about investigation process and outcomes. This will include clear direction on the circumstances that should be investigated and escalation protocols. We will also establish a uniform process regarding communications with team members, clarification of investigation processes and when a complaint requires action or follow up.
  • Manager Training: We will undertake a comprehensive manager training focusing on talent management, organizational DE&I commitment and inclusive team development and leadership.
  • Pay Equity Study: We will examine pay equity and pay practices across gender, race and ethnicity to ensure processes for determining pay are consistent for all team members throughout the organization. The pay equity study will kick off early next year.
  • Obtaining Regular Feedback: We will create methods to obtain feedback from team members to track progress on our HR initiatives, including regular pulse checks, exit interviews and providing awards or recognition for inclusive performance by leaders.
  • Code of Ethics and Personnel Policies: We will review and refresh our policies to make them consistent with best practices, including Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, Workplace Harassment Policy and Conflicts of Interest Policy. We will also develop a plan for how to regularly inform team members of the various avenues for reporting inappropriate conduct, harassment or discrimination. We will ensure that expectations of employee behavior are communicated clearly and consistently to team members, including conduct at company meetings and events.

Other Recommendations:

  • Communication: We will implement more effective ways to provide regular communication to team members regarding the business and financial performance of the company.
  • Retention of Consultant: We will continue to work with CTI to assist with the implementation of these recommendations and to assist with the creation of an action plan.

Great cultures are always evolving. Creating a better culture for our 120,000 corporate and franchise team members will be a journey and we will continue to grow and build it together.