First Google, Now Starbucks!

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My town hosted a local anti-Starbucks protesters, this weekend. There were banners, large signs, and a “beat the cup of coffee” pinata — all because Starbucks is allegedly firing employees who want to unionize.

I’m pro-union, but I have a difficult time defending the unionization efforts of a group of employees who are offered great benefits; however, I will concede that Starbucks has totally flubbed its communication strategy around the planned store closings.

  • Customers are asking questions (i.e., “Will this store close?”).
  • Employees are asking questions (i.e. “Will this store close? Will I keep my job? Do I get severance?”).
  • Managers are asking questions (i.e., “Will this store close? Will I keep my job? Do I have to lay off my employees?”).
  • Journalists are asking questions (i.e., “Will this store close? Will I have to walk across the street to the other Starbucks and get my soy venti sugar-free caramel latte over there?”).

Does anyone have answers?

I know there are readers out there from the Starbucks HQs. Are you really telling your employees that Starbucks won’t be publishing a full list of the stores that are closing out of respect for your partners? Hey, rocket scientists at Starbucks, I have some news for you: that’s a bad communications strategy.

For what it’s worth, I wonder if Starbucks leaders have agreed upon the final list of 600 stores that are impacted. I suspect that the news was leaked before a communications plan was finalized. (This happens when there is dissent among senior leaders — and lots of changes at the top.)

Does anyone in the Starbucks HR department have answers for your employees? Who owned this communication plan? What was the plan in the first place? If you have gossip, send it to me here. Also, the comments section is open.

I wonder if any HR professionals talking to managers of their local stores about the failed employee communication strategy? I’m not saying a word to my local store employees because I want my coffee fast and I want to get the hell out of there. No chit chat. I’m a busy woman!

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