Starbucks has cracked the code on Employee Retention

We recently had a job opening on our implementation team.  This is the team that helps on-board new clients and configures their platform so when we turn it over to them, they can get started immediately. It’s a great job with good benefits and the ability to work from home.  It’s a great entry level position into the SaaS software industry because every SaaS company has some form of this position.

I reached out to two young women that are friends of my family or relatives to see if they would like this job.  Both these women were interested but in the end stayed at their current jobs, which is a Barista at Starbucks.  

Mind you this is a job that pays more, is professional, comes with benefits that match Starbucks benefits, and is work from home.  

What is crazy is that both women had the same reason for not leaving Starbucks. Ready for the reason.

Paid tuition at ASU Online.  Starbucks pays for their associates to attend a ASU online if they work a certain amount of hours per week.

I asked one of the young ladies about this and she mentioned that every week she gets an email with her assignments and she has to turn them by the next Monday.  

ASU Online and Starbucks are geniuses.  

Here is the kicker, the girls don’t interact with teachers, they don’t go to class online, they don’t have group work. They literally just get reading and assignments and then they complete them over the week.

ASU only has to create the classes, a one time expense, and then grade the work. Which I’m sure they use AI or Overseas labor to do.  From ASU’s perspective, this is a 100% scalable business model that can accommodate 10,000’s of students per class simultaneously.

I went online and looked at what a credit hour cost at ASU online, it’s between $550 to $650 a credit hour for undergrad.  You know that Starbucks is not paying retail for these course hours. 

Both these young women looked at this single benefit of getting their college degree paid as too big to give up.  Even though a hard look at the numbers would have shown that taking the job with us makes more financial sense even if they had to pay for these same credits on their own.  

Something that a real college degree would have prepared them to do. I’m kidding but not really.

Obviously, this wasn’t a logical decision as much as an emotional decision. I personally think that being able to tell people that you didn’t pay a dime for college is a cool thing that people like to be able to say at parties.  

I applaud Starbucks for figuring this out and providing this benefit to their teams. I can give them some feedback that it is working and I would love to hear from them what it has done for their retention.  

To ASU I would say Bravo for creating a really scalable education model that appears to be providing value for your students. 

I wish this was available when I was dropping a lot of money on my degrees.  

Tommy Yionoulis

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

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