Employees Need a Jolt? Take a Page from Starbucks
By: Judy McLeish
In 2008, after a decade of phenomenal growth, Starbucks began to struggle as it faced both slowing sales and increased competition. Would Starbucks become a poster child for “a company that grew too much, too fast”? Today, the company is a turnaround success. So how did they do it? The answer = communication.
According to the McLeod Report, one of the keys to engaging employees is to ensure that employees have a clear sense of where the organization is going and how their role fits into its overall success.
In a Financial Times interview with Mr. Schultz titled: “The Return of the Barista-in-Chief” they outline a series of communication tactics that helped breathe life back into the company.
HOW DID HE DO IT?
In January 2008, Schultz acknowledged the company's errors, and his own role in them. We had to sit and admit to ourselves that we had made mistakes. Even though I wasn't the CEO, I was the chairman.
As the leader, I accept full responsibility for and am totally committed to the in-store customer experience, Schultz said. I will be directly engaged in ensuring a superior experience for our customers. Everything that touches the customer will be a priority. Change will not happen overnight. It will evolve over time, but I ensure you a positive change will occur. I, along with our dedicated partners (employees), will strive to exceed the expectations of our customers every day. \
Share the Vision
Mr. Schultz started by articulating a vision of where he thought Starbucks should be heading and started sending out memos to the entire workforce.
Clearly Lay Out the Plan
Mr. Schultz created a series of Transformation Communications outlining the types of changes that were required to turn the company around. The new transformation agenda clearly outlined the three objectives to drive enduring success: to improve the current state of U.S. business; re-ignite the Starbucks experience; and to build for the long-term.
Tell Them What They Can Expect
Over the next several days, you will hear from your manager about the specific role you and your team plays in executing our transformation agenda. We will continue to conduct a thorough and rapid review of every part of our business to ensure we are using our resources as effectively as we can to continually improve the Starbucks Experience.”
Let Employees Know How They Can Help
In closing, let me say that we are truly in this together. Every partner plays a critical role. I am asking that each of us focus on carrying out our responsibilities in the best way possible, and help to create welcoming and distinctive places that are truly a third place for customers and the communities that we serve. But our success is up to you, not only me, but all of you and all of us. We know what we need to do to win and we will do so.
I've always said from day one that we can't exceed the expectations of our customers unless we exceed the expectations of our people. And that's exactly what we're going to start doing. And my promise to you is that we will do all that we can to really create the kind of partner engagement, respect and dignity, and raise the level of insight and ultimately the experience and the commitment that we have to our people. And we will exceed your expectations. Give us some time but you have my promise that it will take place.
Foster Two-Way Communication
During this time, I have heard from so many of you; in fact, I have received more than 2,000 emails. I can feel your passion and commitment to the company, to our customers and to one another. I also thank you for all your ideas and suggestions & keep them coming. No one knows our business and our customers better than you. I have visited with you in many of your stores, as well as stopping by to see what our competitors are doing as well.
Executing our agenda takes each and every one of us. Thank you for your excitement, and your continued focus on helping to build the best Starbucks Experience for our customers and for each other. We know what we need to do to be the best, and we will do it.
Ignite Passion and Enthusiasm
Celebrate our coffee, one another, and the respect we have for our customers