How to increase will power of people is a very hot topic for research in all spheres. Many of us often have the capacity to endure more work and yield greater amount of output and products, yet we fail to do so due to the basic inability to procure will power from inside of ourselves. We find it hard to sit down and focus on the task at hand.
At times, when we undertake a task, job, or business, we are emotionally very driven by the ultimate goal that we wish to achieve. This leads to a relatively healthier product but for a very short amount of time. Soon after, we want faster results with minimum effort and then comes a time when emotionally, the goal towards which we were striving just loses its magnificence in our own eyes, leading to our physical inability to work on the given task.
This is a reality for people who own businesses, but an even dreadful one for the employees that naturally have no emotional interest with the success or failure of the business. Yes, in the long term, it does matter to them that the business survives, but they do not have that emotional attachment with the business or its ultimate goal, hence it is far easier for them to lose interest in the task which is at hand as long as they get their paycheck in the first week of every month. If they don’t, they simply jump through that job and move to another one.
Starbucks strategy at tackling issues with entry-level employees:
No successful business made it big on table. It is the employees who are on-field and actually factor into the success of the company. In its earlier years of success, Starbucks faced the same issue with its employees. Most of them were just entry level workers who were fresh graduates from high schools. They had most probably not undertaken any task without the supervision of either their parents or their teachers. For the first time in their lives, these high school graduates had to step into the real world, but they unfortunately lacked the self-discipline required to excel in this sphere.
Christine Deputy, who managed Starbucks’ employee training program for more than ten years said:
“For a lot of employees, Starbucks is their first professional experience.”
These employees would often get pressurized when customers would yell at them while their boss was too busy to provide them with any sort of guidance. They would often get into a row with angry customers or skip days at work. Many would just quit without any reason.
At that time, Starbucks was growing at an exponential rate and realized the importance of self-discipline of its employees so that they would be able to complete tasks willfully while they were at work. So, with the in-stream of researches that came in this field, the administration at Starbucks used them and applied their techniques to make their employees more willful and mentally adept at doing calm work.
They sponsored mental health care and weight loss classes for their employees and provided them with free gym memberships. They did all of the stuff that these researches suggested would help their employees in attaining a state of mind that would excel their services for Starbucks.
Impracticality of the researches:
Starbucks hit an unexpected hurdle once they launched their employee training campaign. These entry level employees who found it hard to will themselves for work also found it hard to attend these sessions that were arranged by Starbucks or go to the gym after a full day’s work. Most of them would just skip these sessions because they didn’t add to their pay and that’s what mattered to them, not the company’s success over a span of years. Psychology expert, Mark Muraven says:
“If someone has problem with self-discipline at work, they are probably also going to have trouble attending a program designed to strengthen their self-discipline after work,”
But in 2007, at the height of their expansion, with seven new stores opening every day, hiring 1500 employees each week, Starbucks finally played the right card to get the best out of its employees.
With such vast expansion, it was no longer possible to keep a check on each employee and will them to attend programs designed to boost their own will. All of this was just too impractical. But they could simply not let the company’s assets and responsibility to serve their customers multiply with their employees remaining unchecked.
To address this problem, they had to go right back to the roots of their business and alter their very business plan. During the expansion, they kept training their employees and tried turning self-discipline into an organizational habit. They made their employees realize that Starbucks wasn’t just about making coffee and giving it to the right person, it was about serving them with a smile, remembering their order and their names, being polite and humble. They inculcated customer care service into their business plan.
Starbucks focused on changing the aura of their name into something which is comfortable and homely for their customers and this radiated into the spirits of their own employees.
As Howard Behar, former president at Starbucks said:
“We’re not in the coffee business serving people, we are in the people business serving coffee. Our entire business model is based on fantastic customer service. Without that, we’re toast!”
People expect an expensive latte to be served with a smile on the waiter’s face and a welcoming aura of the complete staff that surrounds them. Without that, customers would just wander off to some other place because too many brands have and always will serve coffee which is good. But what sets Starbucks apart from the rest is that their staff is welcoming, happy and helpful towards serving their customers.