Coffee break

So I was sitting in Starbucks, drinking my 2nd coffee fix for the day and was trying to let my mind wander onto non related work issues. I was going to give myself a 15 min break. Sitting across the aisle from me was a man in khaki pants and a white button down shirt and a woman sitting across from him. After a few minutes I could tell that he was a Starbucks manager and the woman was a newly hired Starbucks employee. I tried to not eavesdrop…but my interest peaked as the do’s and don’ts (mostly don’ts) rules of Starbucks kept pouring out of the manager’s training spiel. Here were some of the rules:

-You must wear solid black or white button down shirts (no logos of any kind, turtlenecks ok).
-No hats (this includes sunglasses worn on the head as a decorative headband)
-No nose piercings
-Dyed hair color such as pink, blue, green: forbidden

-Allowed to have a cell phone on, but may not answer it while speaking with a customer
-Must leave the floor if you need to talk on the cell phone
-Phone must be on vibrate ring or off.

-You can only date someone who is on the same power level as you. (cashier+cashier=fine, cashier=manager=not fine)
-If you want to date someone who is at a higher level than you, you must be transferred
(this is so favoritism or risks of sexual harassment don’t happen)

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. My mind returned to work as it normally does even if I’m not physically in the office. Part of my job is to hire and train seasonal staff and interns. I am always looking to improve and one area I plan to focus on this year is better training. Listening to this Starbucks manager, I thought…wow. Here’s the difference between corporate and non-profit. So many rules and regulations. We have a more of a...throw them in the deep end of the water and hope they can swim, than any formal training. We do have manuals and evaluations from past years and a timeline that we give to our new staff. But even this is more of a general, broad stroke view of their position. How they chose to budget their time and handle their work load is up to the individual. This can be good and bad. Good in that we are giving the message that we are all adults, we trust you and believe you will complete your work. Bad in some people need more guidance and feel this independent attitude leaves room for more misunderstandings, which lead to mistakes (since what’s expected was never told). So I thought about this…what is the best way to train an employee? I also thought about not just training, but what the training says about the work environment. Lots of rules indicate a tense, possibly even resentful work environment. No rules could be more relaxed but could lead to lack of accountability. Unless you have superb people on staff…which we’ve been very lucky with. (intentional pat on the back) Anyway, my fifteen minutes were up and I headed back to the office plugging this away in my mental "think about later" file.