Thursday, March 07, 2013
Here is an example of employee relations done at its best. Starbucks spends $35 million to infuse its front-line workforce with a proper understanding and feeling for the brand and coffee. In a huge conference center filled with exhibits on every step of coffee production, Starbucks produces a "Leadership Lab" for 9,600 store managers. Plenty of companies have annual sales conferences to charge up the troops, but the Starbucks experience is education and motivation with no expense spared. The company understands that customers can buy a cup of coffee anywhere, so the experience of purchasing coffee at Starbucks has to be differentiated. That can only done through motivated store managers who guard the brand and reproduce the Starbucks mission day after day in the stores. The front line is the company. Hence, the all-out effort. It would be interesting if more companies did this -- e.g., chain-store retailers of clothing and other goods.