Leadership

Cheesecake Factory’s CEO: To have happier employees, do these 3 things

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Bethany Mollenkof | Getty Images

Cheesecake Factory's irresistible bread basket isn't the only thing contributing to its popularity.

Now approaching its fortieth year of business, David Overton, the eatery's chief executive, tells company review site Glassdoor his main ingredient for success: keeping employees happy.

And it seems to be working. In fact, Overton made his 2017 debut on Glassdoor's Highest Rated CEO list thanks to his employees giving him a 93 percent approval rating for his leadership. The list was based on over two million company reviews submitted by anonymous employees on Glassdoor.

Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.
Getty Images
Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.

Here are three ways he keeps his staff happy and engaged:

Treat your employees like family

Overton explains that fostering employee trust and engagement is crucial. Those who help him lead the company are tasked with having a caring attitude towards their employees.

"Treat them like you would treat yourself, always respectful and understanding that you're a family," he tells Glassdoor.

This belief runs through Cheesecake Factory's history. The restaurant dates back to 1940 when Overton's mother, Evelyn, opened a small cake shop in Detroit, Michigan. In 1978, Overton helped his parents open the first official Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills.

He proudly notes that the restaurant had "a line in front of our door before we even opened."

Hire people that share the same values

Hiring employees that share the same values has helped the company achieve cultural harmony and alignment.

"We have tried to hire quality people, caring people, passionate people throughout the years," says Overton. "I think that really brings out the best in everyone."

Camaraderie and teamwork also play a large part in keeping employees satisfied at work.

The company routinely measures the staff's engagement and is "always looking for how to do more for the staff" and how to thank them.

Set your employees up for success

Overton believes that training and staff recognition are key. With over 250 menu items, new hires must go through an in-depth training program that his human resources team continuously revamps.

Cheesecake Factory also has a recognition program called "Wow Stories." With this initiative, tales of customer service are circulated company-wide so that the entire company can benefit from those lessons.

"This business was built on the step method where you just take a step forward," Overton tells Glassdoor. "The whole thing was do the best you can every day, taking care of people and continuing to move forward."

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