The success of a company is inevitably tied to the ability of its employees to take care of themselves in a manner that maximizes the quality of their life, both at home and at work. However, studies and reports continue to show that numerous factors tend to limit employees' level of satisfaction, thereby limiting their productivity. Unhealthy work environments characterized by poor leadership skills, lack of work-life balance, harassment, skewed communication, and lack of support derails employees' motivation and morale to optimize their productivity. An increasing number of companies are committing more effort in creating healthier work environments and ensuring that employees are satisfied with their work for improved performance. One such company is Starbucks Company. This analysis examines how Starbucks Company has managed to create a healthy work environment and how such efforts can be of benefit to employees, employers, and customers. Intense focus on the healthy work environment is a primary driver towards quality employees, reduced turnover, and higher productivity.
Background to Starbucks
Starbucks Company is a multinational corporation founded in Seattle, Washington, D. C. in 1971 and operates a chain of coffee products. Operating as a publicly-traded company, Starbucks is one of the world's most renowned brands present in over 30,000 locations situated in over 70 countries (Starbucks Company, 2020). With automated espresso machines, among other forms of automation, the company makes and serves cold and hot coffee drinks, including fresh-brewed coffee, Nitro, Cold Brew, Teavana, and Espresso beverages, among others (Starbucks Company, 2020). In addition to coffee products, it also produces baked goods, smoothies, tea, and sandwiches. Kevin Johnson currently heads Starbucks as the Chief Executive Officer. The company had revenue of $24.71 billion and a net income of $4.51 billion in its 2018 financial year.
Starbucks owes its success to the efforts of its employees. It has 291,000 employees in its worldwide stores (Starbucks Company, 2020). A greater percentage of the employees, about 65.64% or 191,000 employees, are US based and work in various US-based Starbuck stores while the rest are located in other global stores (Starbucks Company, 2020).
Dimensions of a Healthy Workplace in Relation to Starbucks Company
The effective performance of a company inextricably depends on active employee work-life balance, health and safety, and employee involvement. Companies have to ensure that they provide a conducive environment where employees feel safe and motivated not only to work but also to take care of themselves.
To attain a proper work-life balance, employers have to ensure that their employees are productive both at work and at home. In as much as it is the responsibility of employees to maximize their potential at their places of work, they also need to have productive health and spent significant time with their families. Starbucks Company ensures work-life balance through various strategies. At the core of its strategy is the belief that sharing is the primary driver of success. As such, it has multiple programs tailored to guarantee the needs of each employee. For instance, the company has paid-time-off where the employees are granted paid vacation days to take care of their personal needs (Starbucks Company, 2020). Every employee has seven paid holidays. Additionally, the company offers parental leave to employees welcoming a new child and offers up to $10,000 family expansion reimbursement (Starbucks Company, 2020). In addition to these, it also offers commuter benefits, educational advancement opportunities, health coverage, and work-from-home options.
Healthy and safe environments are also critical in ensuring that employees are well motivated to perform. Employees who are physically sick or are mentally depressed exhibit reduced effort to complete their duties and are less motivated to perform. As such, it is vital that employers work on ways to reduce work-related diseases and absenteeism, costs related to such scenarios, and develop a safe and healthy culture where employees are free from potential health risks. Starbucks understands that the workplace is not all about business issues but also health issues (Hurley et al., 2016). For instance, the company has installed needle disposal boxes as a response to the increasing concerns about sharp injuries as a result of hypodermic needles. Such needles were exposing employees to infectious diseases. Also, the company provides mental health benefits of up to $5,000 for employees who work for 20 hours a week (Starbucks Company, 2020). This enables the employees to take care of their health issues and be more productive.
The other dimension of a healthy work environment is employee involvement. Employees who feel empowered and involved in the decision-making process have greater job autonomy. The benefits of employee autonomy consist of increased job satisfaction, higher employee morale, lower rates of employee turnover and absenteeism, enhanced quality, and improved productivity (Hurley et al., 2016). Organizations usually attain employee involvement through teamwork, participative decision-making, and seeking for employees' suggestions. Starbucks has a unique approach to employee involvement. It refers to its employees as partners to foster professionalism and to place employees at the heart of its operations. The partners earn between $10 and $15 hourly (Starbucks Company, 2020). Besides, the company holds respect, employee retention, and a collaborative approach to decision making as the main determinants of employee involvement. Such approaches make employees feel that they are part of the company's mission and that their involvement is critical towards its attainment. Effective employee involvement should translate into higher morals, efficiency, and strong customer service.
Suggestions to Improve the Health and Wellbeing of Starbucks' Employees
Consistent efforts towards creating a healthy work environment are critical in improving health and wellness, especially in light of communicable and chronic diseases. There are various strategies that Starbucks can put in place to ensure that infectious and chronic diseases do not become issues in its workspaces. First, it can implement health education classes that teach and train employees on healthy and unhealthy life options and to inform them of healthy life choices. Secondly, it should establish local fitness facilities to ensure that employees stay fit irrespective of their work schedules. Thirdly, Starbucks can implement strict policies that foster better health, such as tobacco-free workspaces (Sorensen et al., 2011). Fourth, it should ensure that employees are well safeguarded from health and safety threats. Maintaining high levels of hygiene and proper attire are some of the ways of alleviating such risks. Finally, the company can set local physical and psychological health centers to foster the management of various health conditions.
Role of Psychologists and Other Mental Health Professionals
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professions are undeniably important in stirring the wellbeing of a workplace. Although work is critical in maintaining proper mental health, a toxic work environment increases the risk of physical and mental health problems. As such, mental health professionals have a responsibility to help employees control mental health problems, support people with mental health problems, and ultimately create a mentally healthy workplace (Hurley et al., 2016). They achieve such by listening to the problems of each employee and guiding them appropriately. They also create awareness of how the work environment can promote or deteriorate mental health and invent new strategies to limit improper conditions within the work environment.
It is evident from the analysis that a healthy work environment is critical in scaling up the productivity of individual employees and promoting the holistic performance of a company. Starbucks has exhibited significant efforts in ensuring that its employees are not only healthy but also well-motivated to perform. Work-life balance, health and safety, and employee involvement are some of the dimensions of a healthy work environment that Starbucks, among other companies, have taken seriously in boosting employees' morale, commitment, and productivity. To foster growth and healthy workplaces, Starbucks should consider establishing local fitness facilities, implementing health classes, establishing health policies, and instituting health centers with both physical and mental health professionals.
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Hurley, J., Hutchinson, M., Bradbury, J., & Browne, G. (2016). Nexus between preventive policy inadequacies, workplace bullying, and mental health: Qualitative findings from the experiences of Australian public sector employees. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25(1), 12-18. doi: 10.1111/inm.12190
Sorensen, G., Landsbergis, P., Hammer, L., Amick, B. C., Linnan, L., Yancey, A., ... Pratt, C. (2011). Preventing Chronic Disease in the Workplace: A Workshop Report and Recommendations. American Journal of Public Health, 101(S1). doi: 10.2105/ajph.2010.300075
Starbucks Company. (2020). Benefits and perks: Starbucks Coffee Company. Starbucks Coffee Company. https://www.starbucks.com/careers/working-at-starbucks/benefits-and-perks
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