321: Your team won’t care about you until you care about them with Carrie Luxem



In this episode, we discuss the importance of human resources, the core of HR being genuinely caring, why there isn’t a problem with finding good people but instead it is a problem with good people finding good employment, going beyond transactional relationships to transformative relationships, and living a life that is true and transparent.

As a human resource professional with more than 15 years’ experience, Carrie has dedicated her entire career to helping restaurant owners and operators navigate the complexities of HR policy. For more than a decade, Carrie served as the Director of Human Resources for Potbelly Sandwich Works where she was a key player in the ten-year expansion of Potbelly, which included growing the chain from three restaurants in one market to more than 200 restaurants in ten markets. With her success at Potbelly Sandwich Works, she founded Restaurant HR Group in 2010.


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Manage things. Lead people.”


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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Care deeply for all aspects of the restaurant.
    • Breaking down complex systems and making them easy to understand.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Saying yes too often and overcommitting.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • Always be honest. Be honest when it is fun, to be honest. Be honest when it is tough, to be honest.
  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Really get to know your potential employer. Have a real, genuine conversation with the person that shows them you’re interested in them.
    • Be honest with your expectations from the beginning.
    • Finding out who they are as a person is just as important as finding out what their experience.
  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Carrie struggles with getting restaurant owners to understand why they need to create reason and virtues that attrack future employees.
    • We often hear restaurant’s owners say, “There are no good people on there.” The truth is there are tons of good people out there, you’re just not giving good people enough reason to work for you.
    • Focus on finding your essence and communicating it to others who share the same values.
  6. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    1. Rework
    2. Together is better: A little Book on Inspiration
    3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  7. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    • Harri– provides the most comprehensive suite of tools to help companies attract, discover and connect with the best talent for their needs
    • Stratex-The #1 HRIS Solution for Restaurants, Hospitality, and Retail. For businesses with lean resources and multiple locations, StratEx is a HRIS and dedicated HR support team to help manage and automate HR from applicant tracking, scheduling, timekeeping, payroll, benefits,
      labor law compliance, and HR tasks.
  1. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

    • Always be true and authentic to yourself.
  2. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

    • Q: What are the day-to-day things an owner/operator can do to create a better experience for its employees?
    • A: Take time to do the little things that show your people you care. Call them and see how they are, write hand written letters, just care about them, take an interest in their ideas.

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Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Carrie Luxem for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!