HQ: Dallas, Texas | Locations: 6 | Employees: 220+
Ryan Russo is the Director of Training and Development at Ascension Coffee in Dallas, Texas– but most importantly, he’s a 1Huddle Master Coach who knows what it means to RAISE Every Worker.
“[1Huddle] gives me the ability to make sure that our training is consistent and that everyone’s getting the same message and the same quality, and having a good time while they’re doing it.“
Ryan worked his way up from the frontline, and he’s seen how bad “check-in the box” training can be. In his role as Director of Training and Development, he knew he needed a tool to deliver engaging, meaningful training that was accessible to everyone. But he also knew, as he explained, that he couldn’t “be in every cafe 14 shifts a week, 365 days a year.”
He found that– and more – in 1Huddle.
1Huddle allows the user, the player, to really have a relationship– a relationship with the brand, a relationship with each other. It builds community through competition and we’re all growing together. To me that’s really powerful.
15 years ago I started as a server. I’ve worked my way all the way up operations, [and now] into corporate. [This is] the most fun I’ve had learning and it’s the most fun I’ve had building learning for others.
Watch Our Interview with Ryan
What follows is a full transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
Ryan Russo: I’m Ryan Russo with Ascension Coffee in Dallas, Texas. I’m the director of training and development, a 1Huddle Master Coach, and I’ve been working with 1Huddle for one year.
So Ascension Coffee is based here in Dallas. We’re in the DFW metroplex. Today we operate six cafes and we’re a specialty coffee company. In our cafes, you’ll find beautiful barista bars, an executive chef designed menu, really friendly people, a beautiful wine list, and some local beers.
What made you go with 1Huddle over LMS?
RR: My time with Ascension was the first time that I was introduced to 1Huddle. And what I love about it, where I think the power is, is that it’s impossible for me to be in every cafe 14 shifts a week, 365 days a year, right?
But what it does is it gives me the ability to make sure that our training is consistent and that everyone’s getting the same message and the same quality. And having a good time while they’re doing it in a way that’s very easy to do.
What is your favorite part of the Huddle, would you say?
RR: I like the competition part of it, quite honestly. That was something I got used to in the Master Coach program, that leaderboard and then chasing trophies. It would absolutely make me insane. I would play and play and play and play and play until I did it. But I learned a lot along the way. So that’s one thing that I really enjoy. And the games are quick.
So you get in, you have a little bit of fun, takes about three minutes, get out, you know. Then come back and do it again later whenever you want.
In your own words, how would you describe 1Huddle?
RR: For me, describing the tool is a way that again, delivers engaging training in a way that is meaningful and accessible to everyone.
The game changing piece, if you will, is that 1Huddle allows the user, the player, to really have a relationship, right? Relationship with the brand, relationship with each other. It builds community through competition and we’re all growing together. To me that’s really powerful. It’s not a check in the box compliance. I did it, I’m done.
It’s ongoing coaching and development. And that is where everybody wins.
What’s something you’ve been hearing from players that maybe surprised you?
RR: I think what I’m most grateful to hear and to see honestly is, you know, participation on all levels of the organization. From our president and CEO that, you know, plays pretty regularly to our managers and even, you know, our servers and our baristas. But the fact that they get in to use the tool and they keep coming back, right?
So I think once you’re able to introduce the platform to players and they understand the value, it’s natural that they want to keep coming back. 1Huddle truly is game changing, and that’s kind of a play on words, but like it is powerful. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years. 15 years ago I started as a server.
I’ve worked my way all the way up operations into corporate and it’s the most fun I’ve had learning and it’s the most fun I’ve had building learning for others. So for me it’s a win the whole way around. And I look forward to it.
We’re grateful to our friend Ryan for making the time to talk to us and, more importantly, for being a coach.
Like he says, no matter, at the end of the day, don’t be afraid. Do the hard shit.
And with that, back to work!
1Huddle is a coaching and development platform that uses quick-burst mobile games to more quickly and effectively educate, elevate, and energize your workforce — from frontline to full-time.
With a mobile-first approach to preparing the modern worker, a mobile library of 3,000+ quick-burst employee skill games, an on-demand game marketplace that covers 16 unique workforce skill areas, and the option for personalized content, 1Huddle is changing the way organizations think about their training – from a one-time boring onboarding experience to a continuous motivational tool.
Key clients include Loews Hotels, Novartis, Madison Square Garden, PIMCO, TAO Group, and the United States Air Force. To learn more about 1Huddle and its platform, please visit 1huddle.co.
Dani Cahn, Communications and Creative Development
"1Huddle is a great tool to drive knowledge retention and make it sticky, make it fun, and also serves as a huge analytics tool for us to understand the quality of the stuff we’re rolling out.”
—James Webb, Global People Development & Engagement
Annual savings per location (312+)
“All of a sudden, people are playing the game multiple times a day to rack up points to get to the top of the leaderboard.”
—Lauren Constable, VP of Operations
Annual savings opening
5 new locations
“This thing is amazing. I’m awestruck with the power of this tool. 1Huddle makes running and operating restaurants fun and greatly increases our employees’ knowledge.”
—Tony Daddabbo, Director of Training
in training time
Annual savings across 60 locations