Panera Bread

Empowering a new level of associate engagement


The company’s focus on associate engagement, as well as looming minimum wage legislation, compelled Panera to seek a better understanding of what a high performer profile looked like and to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the current associate experience.

Working with the CX Workout team revealed insights into the associate experience that were tremendously valuable and significantly improved our people strategies.

Chuck Chapman, EVP Panera Bread


  • Field Visits: Over a series of five-day visits, a small team of consultants spent time at top performing bakery cafés to observe and interview high performers.
  • Practices Validation: Based on the attributes and behaviors observed, and using data from our own best practices database, we developed a survey instrument to field to a larger population of Managers and Associates.
  • Statistical Analysis: From the resulting data, the team identified three specific segments of high performers and developed a detailed assessment of the peaks and valleys in the Associate Experience.


Panera leveraged these insights to fund several “quick win” projects and also to inform their people plan for the following year.

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