I’ve worked as an HR leader/practitioner for many years and, naturally, continue to learn new things every single day. Every day. I’m forever drawing on the wisdom of others whether we’re working together, partnering on a project, or, let’s face it, having a good long chat over coffee, nibbles, or cocktails.
One of my HR heroes is Jamie Griffin who, as these things tend to happen, I first met several years ago via a mutual HR friend and colleague. Jamie was in town and I got invited to tag along to an after-work gathering. While the promise of Happy Hour cocktails and appetizers was tantalizing enough, I also wanted to finally meet this guy I had been hearing about seemingly forever.
So, in the spirit of furthering our #HROS community, allow me to introduce him to you...
Who IS Jamie Griffin?
My interests can be summarized in four words: food, cocktails, travel & photography. My favorite foods are local & authentic. My favorite cocktails are hand-crafted classics. My favorite cities are New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. My favorite photographs are portraits in stunning light.
What‘s your day job? And how did your role at Raising Cane’s evolve over the years?
The snazzy title is Vice President of Business Administration for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers responsible for Total Rewards, Employee Relations, Risk Management, Legal and & Office Services. The reality is that I might be wiping a floor spill during a restaurant visit and facilitating a discussion with senior leaders to set long range strategies in the same day. So, unofficially, my title is Whatever It Takes! I’ve worked for the company for 14 years, my role has evolved and title has changed too many times to count or to track.
You joined Raising Cane’s when there were 9 locations, 300 employees and $25M in Sales. Today there are 275 locations (including globally), 10,000 employees and sales are 250M+. What are some things you did to scale HR functions such as total rewards and employee relations?
We constantly evaluate our systems and processes to assure they will perform ahead of our growth. And, as we fix problems, we try to assure the solution of today does not become the problem of tomorrow. More and more, we strive to simplify complex & high-frequency processes to reduce waste, error and double work. For example, we recently increased the subject-content of our employee handbook while also reducing the word count by about 30%. (editor note: I like that!!!) Sometimes scale requires new tools (like software) and sometimes scale requires more people.
Raising Cane’s is well known for a unique, transparent, and employee-centric culture. How do you do it? What’s the secret (ahem – “signature”) sauce?
Ahem — you know I can’t tell you the secret to the real sauce. Nor can our Crewmembers despite what Reddit says! Unfortunately, the secret sauce to our culture is a lot like the recipe of your grandmother’s best dish; I can get you 90% there, but the last 10% is a mystery even to your grandmother. Our culture starts with our Founder Todd Graves. We’re always genuine and authentic and we show respect, recognition and rewards for our Crewmembers through Cane’s Love, an employee recognition program on steroids. Every people-decision we make from who we hire, how we train them, how we reward them, how we hold them accountable, to how we separate them impacts our culture as it’s perceived by our Crewmembers.
Can you tell us about a time when you got a great idea – (perhaps an a-ha moment) – from a peer, colleague or at an event? What did you do with it? Where did it lead you?
Mark Twain had it right when he said: “There is no such thing as a new idea.” I’m always observing ideas I see in the market place and adapting them to fit the problems my team and I are working to solve based on where our business is at that moment. I’ve been obsessed with doing away with Performance Reviews ever since Adobe took the lead on eliminating the most-hated Human Resources practices in the history of the universe (can someone do a survey to prove me right here, please?). Despite my obsession, we still have performance reviews. We just disentangled review ratings from some employee-levels pay increases and simplified forms for everyone as much as possible.
Who, or that, inspires you to do great HR?
I’m going to take the liberty of being cliché here and say that my biggest inspiration is and always will be our Crewmembers, past and present. Our current Crewmembers deserve the absolute best we can offer in every interaction we have with them.; If we're not creating an experience for them, I cannot see how they can ever create an experience for our Customers. We have to go way beyond just keeping a good employee file and move into creating raving fans for Raising Cane’s in our own Crew. For our past Crewmembers, I look at it very much as I look at a university degree - I always want working for Raising Cane’s to say something exceptionally positive to other employers and for its equity to always be increasing as we grow and expand.
Thanks to Jamie for sharing his story with the #HROS community – and kudos to Raising Cane's for recently celebrating 20 years.
image: Creative Commons