Years ago, I worked for a boss that had a daily habit of three Venti Starbucks. Early in the morning, he would walk by my office and if I was there, he would stick his head in the office and say, “Let’s get some coffee.” I attribute some of my fondness of Starbucks to these meetings. More importantly, I realized if I came into work early, I got uninterrupted quality time with my boss.
Months later, I left that job and moved to Fort Lauderdale. (No, I didn’t leave because of my boss.) I discovered a Starbucks on my way to work, so I stopped in. The baristas were fabulous. They knew customer’s names and their favorite morning beverage. Regular customers would walk through the door and the barista would say “Good morning!” and immediately start making their favorite drink.
I decided to do what I now call “The Starbucks Experiment”. I went into the same store every day to see how long it would take for the barista to know my name (which is unusual) and my drink (which I intentionally made unusual). The result? In less than two weeks, they knew my name and drink.
That’s my takeaway from today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos. Personalization – whether it’s your coffee order or your schedule – makes people feel good. It makes them feel special. Organizations have an opportunity to increase employee morale and retention by adding some personalization. Here are a few things managers can do:
- Get to know employees. I’ve heard more than my fair share of employee complaints that managers just don’t pay attention to what’s going on in employee’s lives. And if the manager were more attentive, they wouldn’t have scheduled an employee on the day or shift that they did. Example: scheduling an employee on their graduation day or wedding.
- Put a fair scheduling process in place. And communicate the process to employees. If the organization is going to have scheduling procedures, make them fair, apply them consistently, and make sure employees know the rules. Employees get frustrated when rules are put in place only to hear about “exceptions”. It can appear like favoritism.
- Give employees flexibility. Even when the company has scheduling policies, emergencies happen and employees need to make changes. Consider giving employees the ability to swap shifts with their co-workers. Today’s technology makes this very easy to do. Allowing shift swaps gives employees the ability to personalize their schedule.
Employees want to feel that they have control over their careers, that includes their work schedule. Managers can make more of an effort to focus on personalization, and that’s important, but it’s possible that employees will need a Plan B. Organizations can give them the option to personalize and create a win-win.17