When it comes to talking about employee engagement you really can't do it for very long before you mention Starbucks. Its like trying to eat a doughnut without brushing the sugar off your mouth - not possible.
I went to the Starbucks website this morning, trying to find out about the termination of their HR outsourcing contract with Convergys - I thought I might find it at the back end of the site, perhaps under a media tab. However all thoughts of this were forgotten when I got to the site.
What do you think was on the very front page of starbucks.com? Was it:
A) Pictures of the latest cinnamon dolce mocha choca latte
B) PR blurb about fair trade coffee beans
C) A letter to its employees
C! Nothing except a letter to its employees, or partners as they would have it, on the front page of http://www.starbucks.com/. I could barely contain my glee at the brilliance of it. The letter is about the ruling by a judge in California that shift supervisors should not share in the tips of baristas http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-starbucks21mar21,0,50639.story . Have a read and see what you think. Starbucks think its wrong, and they're going to appeal.
In writing a letter to their employees on the front page of their website, Starbucks cover off 3 messages in one fell swoop.
1) You, our partners are our single most important audience.
2) Hello consumers, we think our employees are the most important part of our business. Isn't that refreshing? Come drink our coffee. Even though we're a massive chain, we're really just one big family.
3) Here is the information we want you both to know about our position on this ruling.
The benefits of employee engagement can be hard to measure, (although I'd argue that in Starbucks case they're clearly demonstrable) but when you remember that an employer that values its empoyees is appealing to consumers... oooh, its just win, win, win, win, win