StratEx Serves: The EDJA Foundation and Global Citizen Award

In our company-wide Summer Kickoff meeting last month, we were honored to have Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri speak to the StratEx team.

Tabitha is the founder of EDJA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to combat child abuse, sexual assault & domestic violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. EDJA envisions a society where every woman and child is safe and protected from abuse. They are achieving their mission through actions that establish coalitions of advocates for victors and enforce prevention measures providing medical, legal, counseling and outreach services.

We were so deeply moved by Tabitha’s talk. She shared stories from women and girls about the systemic sexual assault and abuse in Uganda that EDJA is working to eliminate. And we were amazed by her own story and drive to stand up and fight for what is right. Through the EDJA foundation, she has become the voice for the voiceless and the strength and support for those who drastically need help.

We’d like to say thank you again to Tabitha for coming and talking to us and more importantly, we want thank her for the all the work she has been doing to raise awareness for EDJA’s mission. Lastly, we are very proud to announce that our employee led charitable committee, StratEx Serves, raised $1,500 in donations for EDJA at the StratEx Summer Kickoff!

While Tabitha was too humble to say this in her talk… she is also being awarded a the Global Citizen Award (this weekend 9/29/18)  – the award recognizes the excellence of individuals in their work to end extreme poverty, as well as $50,000 in funds for the EDJA foundation! Congratulations Tabitha!

To support EDJA go to:

To learn more about Tabitha and her Global Citizen award go to: This Activist Is Ending Patterns of Sexual Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Video from the Global Citizen Awards

Just Released: Our Brand New Recruitment Module

Our brand new Recruitment Module has been recently released. We’ve gathered a ton of great user feedback to improve the module so that you can efficiently recruit prospective employees.

We’ve re-designed our ATS, so that you can provide a great first impression for your applicants, you can add your logo, custom images (if you’d like), and make a landing page that looks something like this:

Recruiting Page


In addition, we’ve improved our User Interface so that you can quickly set up job requisitions and track candidate with an at-a-glance view to instantly to see where they are in the application process.

Here is a peek at a couple of pages in the module – we think you’ll love it!

Position Overview


Candidate Overview


The recruitment module features:

  • Company Setup
  • Recruitment Setup
  • Requisitions
  • Requisition Components
  • Application Templates
  • Survey Templates
  • Interview Templates
  • Description Templates
  • Communication Templates (Offers & Rejections)
  • Recruitment Dashboard
  • Reports
  • Candidate Review
  • Candidate Rating
  • Adding Notes to a Candidate
  • Interviews

Want to learn more about our new Recruitment Module? Request a Demo with one of our Account Executives today.

10 HR Issues That Are Keeping Your Restaurant From Reaching Its Full Potential


Restaurant owners get into the industry because they are passionate about fulfilling their dream of delivering great customer experience with great food. However, many owners are forced to wear several hats just to keep that dream alive. In most cases, their main strengths are put on the back burner while they tackle other items such as accounting, PR/marketing, team management, recruiting or working the floor. HR is also one of those big challenges, causing restaurant owners to deal with problems such as high turnover, wage/tip requirements, and complicated scheduling. Dealing with these problems is overwhelming, frustrating, and puts the business at a much higher risk of failure. With your focus spread so thin, you might not have time to address HR problems the right way. The first step is to figure out which items you need to fix. We’ve outlined the top 10 HR problems that restaurant owners should start to address more strategically.

1. High Turnover

High turnover is the main problem for most restaurants. The industry has one of the highest turnover percentages in comparison to other industries. Based on the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 annual turnover rate for the restaurant industry was 72%, up from a rate of 67% in 2014.

Hiring and retaining talent can be very difficult and complex. Having a skilled restaurant staff that can handle the challenges of delivering a great restaurant experience is essential to keeping your business healthy. Ensure that you devote enough attention to being selective with the candidates that you hire so you can find employees that are a great fit and help you keep your customers happy.

2. Onboarding

The quality of your onboarding process is key to ensuring your employees are happy and empowered to do their job. Good onboarding also significantly reduces costs as employees are trained correctly, which minimizes mistakes that can drain finances. Get your staff up and running smoothly and efficiently. Invest the time to develop standards in your onboarding process so that your new hires get up to speed accurately and are pointed in the right direction. An electronic onboarding system can help you stay consistent and eliminate the need for tedious paperwork.

3. Training

You can acquire the best talent, but without the proper training, your employees can’t do their job properly to reach their full potential. There are many ways to improve your training programs, however, it takes time. Once hired, your staff needs to be prepared immediately to deal with bad or good customer situations. To make an immediate impact, focus on the “low hanging fruit” to ensure your training program at least meets the minimum standards and tools. Focus on tools such as employee handbooks, training manuals, process checklist, user guides, and mentorship programs that can help improve job performance.

4. Poor Performance

Performance management needs to be a consistent process that includes ongoing conversations about an employee’s performance and a formal review at specific time in the year. When you manage performance in a way that is fair and clear, you’ll avoid issues later on if an employee fails to meet the standard that has been agreed on. Taking the correct steps to address poor performance in writing will also be beneficial when you decide to terminate someone. This is very important because the documentation protects you in the event that an employee wants to challenge their dismissal with a wrongful termination suit.

5. Benefits Offerings

Restaurant owners are much less likely than other business owners to offer benefits to employees. However, in this super competitive industry, when you offer a strong benefits package, you can attract and retain the top talent, managers, staff, and chefs. While benefits such as healthcare and 401k plans need an upfront cost, this kind of investment can have a very high impact on your employee loyalty and retention.

6. Workplace Harassment

As you know, a big part of being a business owner is to provide a safe working environment for all employees. This means that you’d address any harassment complaints in a thorough and consistent manner. Workplace harassment, especially sexual harassment, is a big issue in the restaurant industry and you need to take the proper measures to protect your business and most importantly, your employees.

7. Risk Management and Safety

There’s no doubt that restaurants need to be more prepared than most businesses when it comes to safety issues that can potentially harm their staff and customers. From kitchen injuries such as burns and cuts to sanitation issues, food-borne illnesses from the mismanagement of food, slips, and falls, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Risk management and safety programs are key to preventing workplace mishaps and illnesses which will reduce costs and protect everyone in the workplace, including your customers.

8. Complex Payroll and Reporting

Because restaurant workers can be paid several forms of wages that can vary with different tax and overtime requirements, payroll can be very time consuming. Factoring taxes for all the appropriate government agencies can also be complex, especially for restaurant groups that have locations in multiple states. For instance, missing a quarterly tax submission or a required report specific to a city, county or state could end up being a very costly mistake.

9. I-9 Compliance

The restaurant industry is susceptible to I-9 audits because of the high-percentage of immigrant workers and the high-turnover. There are so many opportunities to make a mistake between incorrect forms, errors on documentation, not completing them in the correct timeframe, submitting forms in Spanish, or discarding documentation records too soon. It’s crucial to maintain accurate documentation in conjunction with taking the appropriate steps to ensure you are not stuck paying large fines and penalties.

10. Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance

The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) is a complex law that sets the policies for wages and hours worked which most US employers need to comply to. Many restaurants have a difficult time keeping track of compliance and are especially at risk of violating FLSA because of the long hours and lower wages for restaurant workers. Compliance mistakes can make you liable for taxes, penalties, back wages, and legal fees.

StratEx Named Crain’s Top 25 Best Places to Work 2017

unnamed-3We are so honored to be in Crain’s Top 25 Best Places to Work in 2017!

Since 2008, Crain’s has singled out the 10 best companies to work for in the Chicago area. For 2017, Crain’s sifted through 15,000-plus employee surveys that detailed everything from compensation to benefits to company culture.

According to Crain’s, the annual “Best Places to Work” aims to identify local Chicago companies “that do the very best by their employees.” This year, the list was expanded to include 25 winning companies, as opposed to 10 winners in past years. Crain’s held an awards ceremony breakfast this morning where the 50 finalist companies were narrowed down to the final winners.

“Company culture is at the heart of everything we do,” said Adam Ochstein, StratEx Founder, and CEO. “I’m proud to be part of a company that doesn’t just say they value employees, they actually do.”

Founded 2003, StratEx has always strived to be a place where employees are truly cared for and supported in all aspects of life. In the past year, StratEx has further cemented its commitment to being an outstanding workplace by starting an employee-run philanthropy committee, StratEx Serves, which coordinates and identifies volunteer/charity opportunities for all employees. We’ve also developed an employee-run culture club, which meets regularly to brainstorm ways to improve the company’s culture and also initiate company-wide activities throughout the year. Additionally, company culture and hiring for culture fit has been top of mind as we grow and hire more employees. (Check out StratEx Careers)

crains-picsPictured: Adam, Alyssa, and Gretchen awaiting the results at the Crain’s Awards Ceremony on April 6, 2017.

jesse-gretchen-crains-awardPictured: Jesse Sherwood and Gretchen Van Vlymen with the award.

crains-photo-instagramPictured: StratEx team members after the awards ceremony. Back Row: Alex, Gretchen Front Row: Tony, Alyssa, Aeryn, Krystal, Jesse



See the Full List Here: 2017 Crain’s 25 Best Places To Work In Chicago

Positioned for Growth with New Investment from Halyard Capital

StratEx is growing! We are excited to announce an investment from Halyard Capital. A big part of this investment is allocated for expansion capital and will help StratEx get into a position for fast growth in 2017.

Jonathan Barnes, Partner of Halyard Capital, commented, “This investment is reflective of Halyard’s continued focus on opportunities in the HCM space. In StratEx, we found a business with a proprietary platform that provides a broad suite of SaaS-based applications that help automate and streamline the HCM workflow in a regulatory-compliant fashion. The company is quickly gaining market share and we hope to accelerate its growth with additional investment in products, capabilities, and people.”

StratEx CEO, Adam Ochstein, is thrilled to take our growth to the next level. “We’re going to aggressively grow,” Ochstein said. “We have about a dozen sales reps. I want to grow the sales team, development team and service team. We’ve found the perfect partner to do just that.”

By the numbers, StratEx has doubled its staff in the past year to about 90, and with this investment, we’re doubling our office space and expecting our employee headcount to be above 150 employees by the end of 2017.

Read More about this announcement on Crain’s: crains-logo-for-swp-website
HR Software Firm Gets Private Equity Infusion

StratEx: National “Best and Brightest” 2015

StratEx Awarded National 2015
“Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®”

National Association for Business Resources Recognizes Human Resources Software Firm with National Best and Brightest® Award

NationalBBlogowin15_RGBChicago, IL, December 14, 2015 – StratEx, a Chicago-based provider of human resources software and service, has been honored as one of the “National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®” by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR).

Earlier this year, StratEx was recognized by NABR as one of the “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in Chicago.”

“It was an honor to be recognized as a best place to work in the Chicago market, and now to be awarded nationally is a great accomplishment,” said Adam Ochstein, Founder and CEO of StratEx. “When I founded StratEx, I wanted to create a place people wanted to be a part of, and this award is a testament to achieving that.”

With over 20 years of experience conducting Best and Brightest Company competitions, the National Association for Business Resources (NABR) have identified numerous best Human Resource practices and provided benchmarking for companies that continue to be leaders in employment standards.

“We understand the importance that software plays in enhancing the lives of our customers,” said Sami Abualsamid, President of StratEx. “Our team embodies the right cultural attributes that helps set us apart.”

The 2015 winning companies were assessed by an independent research firm, which reviewed a number of key measures relative to other nationally recognized winners. They include Compensation, Benefits and Employee Solutions; Employee Enrichment, Engagement and Retention; Employee Education and Development; Recruitment, Selection and Orientation; Employee Achievement and Recognition; Communication and Shared Vision; Diversity and Inclusion; Work-Life Balance; Community Initiatives; Strategic Company Performance and the Best of the Best Small Business.

“Nationally recognized award recipients keep innovative human resource initiatives at the forefront of their company culture and make it a priority to consider their workforce as an essential aspect in their company success,” said Jennifer Kluge, NABR president. “Our Association is proud to recognize and honor these winning companies for this impressive achievement.”