This article appeared in Built In.
Leaders at the restaurant software provider know the importance of communication, intentional hiring practices and — of course — having fun.
Building an employee-centric culture is something Restaurant365 takes to heart.
The SaaS cloud-based platform provides centralized solutions for accounting and back-office restaurant operations, and its employees are a key ingredient to its success. As such, collaboration, engagement and connection are essential pieces to R365’s respectful, inclusive and award-winning culture.
The company touts a “secret recipe” of hard work, dedication and an understanding of people as key ingredients, which is omnipresent throughout the organization: Although leaders have a responsibility to the business to understand its customers, financials, products and development, they also have a solid connection to each of their employees.
“R365 takes the business of people to heart. We support the entire person and have curated meaningful programs that meet the needs for our truly incredible people,” SVP of People Jill Burke told Built In. “Employee experience is thoughtfully designed through all touch points of an employee’s journey: enrichment, development, career advancement and benefit programs supporting overall wellness.”
The ‘Secret Sauce’
At R365, each employee’s experience is unique and individualized, and the company’s leaders encourage the team to have fun while crushing goals.
Culture is built with intention with R365. It starts with a well-thought-out hiring plan and a seamless onboarding journey with clear communication, expectations and meaningful initiatives. “We all have a sense of responsibility for recruiting the right person with the right talent for the right role,” Burke explained. “To keep the right talent here, we foster strong employee connections through mentorship, employee programs, opportunities and learnings.”
“We foster strong employee connections through mentorship, employee programs, opportunities and learnings.”
“To build a culture of high performers that are committed and dedicated does not happen by chance … I can see that it starts with a very intentional recruiting and hiring process to bring in people that will not only be able to do the job but contribute to the culture as well,” Ancell said. “Then you have to consistently communicate and reinforce the company values when you are faced with challenges — and also when you are winning together.”
Cultivating Culture in a Remote Environment
According to Eighme, R365’s culture is deliberate — now more than ever since the company is mainly remote.
“A few years ago, the natural employee culture evolved because it was simply a great place to work. More recently, enriching the culture while maintaining its core values has been purposeful,” he said. “Having a variety of unique events, book clubs, community resource groups, wellness and diversity initiatives and community outreach, our culture takes focus, effort and attention.”
Speaking of events, Eighme referenced some occasions that were especially singular. “Our unique events have been, well, unique!” he said. “Dog Nacho Party … need I say more?”
“Our unique events have been, well, unique! Dog Nacho Party … need I say more?”
In addition to events and initiatives, R365 keeps its culture fresh by being flexible and responsive, following what its leaders call GDA — gather, decide, act.
Burke emphasized the importance of GDA and of listening to employees. “When we really listen, sometimes the message isn’t about what’s being said, but what is not being said,” she explained. “Understanding what fuels your employees will help shape and enhance the culture.”
She added, “Open conversations are impactful. Taking the time to really listen, celebrate together and grow from shared experiences are the ingredients that create our secret sauce: employees of R365.”
When describing the company’s team, Burke noted that they are, “Respectful, kind and results driven — just like our executive leadership team, who is open, available, has the pulse of the organization and would jump in to assist with anything.”
A New Era: Overcoming the Challenges
A people-centric culture will always be at the top of R365’s menu, but as the business scales, remaining flexible, balanced, driven and creative will be important.
In order to ensuring employees continue to “Relentlessly Seek Greatness” — a R365 core value — as well as overcome and work through pressures such as a disparate workforce, hiring challenges, managing to tight deadlines and personal life events, a strong culture will be key. The team has faced such challenges already; however, the strength of R365’s culture remains due to the team’s positivity, focus, and drive to help restaurants thrive.
For Eighme, hiring is an especially challenging part of being a manager, as he wants to ensure they find the right fit for R365’s culture. Eighme looks for candidates with the emotional intelligence to connect and empathize with others on a personal level. To discover this, he has found that asking the right questions is vital, so he provides candidates an opportunity to share something about themselves that didn’t come up naturally in their interview.
“This allows for the candidate to share experiences or accolades from their past they find important,” he said. “It’s a great way to lean in on what fuels each candidate.”
Ancell shared her favorite go-to interview question: “‘How do you remain positive and work collaboratively in the face of adversity?’” she posed, noting, “These types of questions help determine if the candidate has that special ingredient we’ve been looking for.”
Beyond hiring and onboarding, R365 retains employees by focusing on their individuality and ensuring the organization supports their career journey. The company invests in professional development and provides learning opportunities inclusive of personal insight.
Ancell explained that she puts “people before the problem” and seeks to understand an employee’s strengths and gifts. “I truly believe I am placed in a position of leadership to drive results and improve the lives of others,” she said. “If an employee has goals outside of your department, helping them to achieve those ambitions will benefit the company and help you gain insight that will elevate your own area.”
“If an employee has goals outside of your department, helping them to achieve those ambitions will benefit the company and help you gain insight that will elevate your own area.”
Both Ancell and Eighme incorporate ice breaker-type questions to kick off meetings and get to know their teams on a deeper level. This insight provides them valuable time to connect with employees through fun, open-ended questions.
Naturally, many of their favorite questions are food related. Some team members will even share recipes, talk about their favorite cooking scenes from animated movies or hype up their side hustle: a goat cheese business.
“Sharing these personal insights makes us feel more connected in our working environment,” Ancell said.
“It’s a small part of our week, but it helps us feel more heard and seen by others in the remote work world,” Eighme said.