It's time to admit this: Reality TV has been good for employee engagement.
Sure, the still-exploding genre has given us abominable material like the Kardashians' lives and watching humans eat bugs.
But also through programs such as CBS's Undercover Boss, reality TV has shone a light on and for companies that are doing a great job of employee engagement -- and some that need to do better.
The latest example will show this evening when Undercover Boss goes beneath the surface at Cinnabon Inc. with its young CEO, Kat Cole. "I was incredibly proud of our brand and developed an even deeper understanding and appreciation" for Cinnabon's employees, Cole told Nation's Restaurant News.
Meantime, a newer entrant in the reality-TV derby, Be the Boss, is taking the notion of employee engagement to a new level on the A&E Network by allowing two participants to compete for what turns out to be a chance to own a franchise of his or her own.
Auntie Anne's is participating in the show, offering up two of its lower-level employees to face off for what they think is a corporate promotion. But instead, the winner becomes a franchise partner with the company. Thus the show helps the brand appeal not only to consumers but also to the franchise community -- and its own employees.
"Its's kind of like a win-win," Andre Neyrey, CEO of Manhattan Restaurant Consultants, told QSR Magazine. "The brand's going to do well, they're going to look better to their customer base, and they're also going to build some employee loyalty."