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Starbucks shows the softer side of recruiting

In a crazy world where companies seem to lack simple pleasantries when recruiting,
companies like Starbucks are setting themselves apart when it comes to hiring. This article
from the NY Times details some of their recruiting practices and all I have to say is wow.
Check this out...

So the company has devised all sorts of ways to add personal touches to the way it hires.
Whenever possible, job interviews include coffee-tasting sessions, in which Starbucks
veterans discuss the virtues of various blends with applicants. A "candidate bill of rights"
emphasizes that recruiters use phone calls and handwritten notes over form response
letters, sets goals for how quickly applicants should hear back and encourages recruiters
to send out Starbucks gift cards in nominal amounts as goodwill gestures, whether or not
an applicant gets a job offer.

"Our aim is to treat our candidates as well as we treat our customers, to do something
memorable for them," Mr. Warner said. "You can't treat people shabbily, especially in a
world where there are far more open jobs than there is available talent to fill them. We
strive to put the humanity back into the recruiting experience."
4. Teamwork

Teamwork can not only construct a small social structure in organization for employees to
socialize, but also composite of various kind of members who equip with different
background of skill and knowledge on account of the mission. Each member plays an
important role in the teamwork; therefore everyone in that team can meet their need for
getting acquainted with different colleagues and learn new skill from each other. Hoegl &
Gemuenden (2001) observed that the definition of teamwork is a social system including
more than three people in an organization or context. These members identity others as
one member of the team and they have the same goal. Robbins (2001) stated that the
factors influencing teamwork are relation of leadership, roles, principles, status, size,
composition and the power of agglomerate.

4.1 The strategies to keep well relationship

Starbucks establishes a well-developed system to keep good relationship between

mangers and employees. At first, the leaders of a retail shops use the same title “partner”
as a basic level worker to narrow the gap of bureaucracy. Furthermore, they co-work in the
first line to eliminate the distance between different statuses. Secondly, the numbers of
employees are usually from three to six. Such a small size of a retail shop makes staffs
acquaint with each other easily and deeply. In the co-working period, this helps a team to
match different personalities and majors quickly to achieve well performance. Next, the
suggestions and complaints provided by employees are treated of equal importance. In the
same way, they have a right to participate in the process of revising company policies as
well as a manager. In that case, each staff thinks that they also play an important role in
company operating, and they can join to work out a direction of Starbucks. These give
employees not only a respect, but a sense of participation.

Hoegl, M & Gemuenden, H G (2001) Teamwork Quality and the Success ofinnovative Projects: A
Theoretical Concept and Empirical Evidence Organization science, Vol 12, No. 4, pp 435-449
Human Resources Management at Starbucks

Starbucks realized early on that motivated and committed human resources were the key
to the success of a retail business. Therefore the company took great care in selecting the
right kind of people and made an effort to retain them. Consequently, the company's
human resource policies reflected its commitment to its employees.

Starbucks relied on its baristas and other frontline staff to a great extent in creating the
'Starbucks Experience' which differentiated it from competitors. Therefore the company
paid considerable attention to the kind of people it recruited. Starbucks' recruitment motto
was "To have the right people hiring the right people."

Starbucks hired people for qualities like adaptability, dependability and the ability to work
in a team. The company often stated the qualities that it looked for in employees upfront in
its job postings, which allowed prospective employees to self-select themselves to a
certain extent.

Having selected the right kind of people, Starbucks invested in training them in the skills
they would require to perform their jobs efficiently. Starbucks was one of the few retail
companies to invest considerably in employee training and provide comprehensive training
to all classes of employees, including part-timers...

The Human Resources' Challenge

Analysts said that Starbucks biggest challenge in the early 2000s would be to ensure that
the company's image as a positive employer survived its rapid expansion program, and to
find the right kind of people in the right numbers to support these expansion plans.
Considering the rate at which the company was expanding, analysts wondered whether
Starbucks would be able to retain its spirit even when it doubled or tripled its size. By the
early 2000s, the company began to show signs that its generous policies and high human
resource costs were reflecting on its financial strength.

Although the company did not reveal the amount it spent on employees, it said that it spent
more on them than it did on advertising, which stood at $68.3 million in fiscal 2004.

That the company was finding its human resource costs burdensome was reflected in the
fact that it effected an increase of 11 cents on its beverage prices in mid-2004. Analysts
wondered whether the company's cost problems could be met by a price increase, as
customers already paid a premium for Starbucks beverages. On the other hand, it would
not be easy for the company to cut down on benefits, as it could result in a major morale
problem within the company...
Schultz’s Strategy to Make Starbucks a Great Place to Work

Howard Schultz strongly believed that Starbucks’ success was heavily dependent on customers
having a very positive experience in its stores. This meant having store employees who were
knowledgeable about the company’s products, who paid attention to detail, who eagerly
communicated the company’s passion for coffee, and who had the skills and personality to deliver
consistently pleasing customer service. Many of the baristas were in their 20s and worked part-time,
going to college or pursuing other career activities on the side. The challenge to Starbucks, in
Schultz’s view, was how to attract, motivate, and reward store employees in a manner that would
make Starbucks a company that people would want to work for and that would result in higher
levels of performance. Moreover, Schultz wanted to cement the trust that had been building
between management and the company’s workforce.

Starbucks was able to attract motivated people with above-average skills and good work habits not
only because of its fringe benefit program but also because of its pay scale. Store employees were
paid $6 to $8 per hour, well above the minimum wage.

Starbucks believed that its efforts to make the company an attractive, caring place to work were
responsible for its relatively low turnover rates. Whereas most national retailers and fast-food chains
had turnover rates for store employees ranging from 150 to 400 percent a year, the turnover rates
for Starbucks’ baristas ran about 65 percent. Starbucks’ turnover for store managers was about 25
percent compared to about 50 percent for other chain retailers. There was evidence that Schultz’s
approaches, values, and principles were affecting company performance in the intended manner.
One Starbucks store manager commented, "Morale is very high in my store among the staff. I’ve
worked for a lot of companies, but I’ve never seen this level of respect. It’s a company that’s very
true to its workers, and it shows. Our customers always comment that we’re happy and having fun.
In fact, a lot of people ask if they can work here.