There may be a culture crisis brewing at Starbucks. A Reuters story posted on MSNBC.com today reported that despite record earnings announced yesterday (86% profit gain!), Starbucks baristas around the country are complaining about a change in corporate culture. They believe cost cutting and an emphasis on “selling stuff” is changing Starbucks into McDonald’s instead of the “anti-McDonald’s.” So what happens when a company that previously took care of its staff gets so large and rich that this nurturing falls by the wayside? To their credit, the company is giving bonuses to 100,000 empl0yees around the world, but to many longtime employees, money may not be the issue. Do you think Starbucks will address this perceived change with its disgruntled employees, or simply let them leave?
By the way, crisis communications is one of 11 hot topics covered at our How-To Conference in D.C. on Dec. 1, and coffee will be served. I hope to see you there.
–Scott Van Camp