Starbucks barista Darrion Sjoquist talks to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Darrion, a Working Washington member who works at Starbucks, asked Howard Schultz about secure scheduling at his Starbucks shareholders’ meeting today. This honest exchange highlighted the needs of workers in a genuine way. Check out the video below:

Full Transcript:

Darrion: My name is Darrion. I’ve been a partner for a year and 8 months.  I wanted to ask you a question about talks in city council―king county―about scheduling issues partners are having.

I see now after coming here and being underdressed you have so much to think about; global markets, expanding, and innovating.  I can understand how an issue like this could fall by the wayside.

But I’m here to ask you first if it’s something you are considering: is it something you’re seeing….something you’re looking at. And secondly, if it’s something that partners like me who see the effects―the direct effects―of scheduling could talk to you about it.

Because you said yourself the barrier for being a helpful company is profit, and I honestly do believe an investment in scheduling and consideration would result in profit, and would result in customer satisfaction and ultimately make Starbucks and the communities they serve a better place. So is it something you’re considering.

Schultz: Not only is it something we’re considering, but I think it’s at the top of our list. To try and create some balance between the pressure that exists on some people who are having a difficult time with their schedule and our ability to schedule thousands of people.

And I think what we now know is we need a specific technology tool and technology resources to do this well. And so, first off, of all the things we have collectively to deal with there’s nothing more important at any time than the partner experience.  Having said that, there’s lots of issues we’re dealing with with 300,000 people all over the world, [but] it’s not an excuse.

I think some of the issues are some people want part time hours because they have other things that they’re doing besides Starbucks; either a second job or going to school or whatever they’re doing and starbucks fills that need.

Then we have other people who only want full time hours and we’re trying to satisfy them.  The primary issue, though, is making sure that we provide you with a schedule in advance so you don’t have a short term response and you can’t make work.

We understand the issues, we think they’re critical, and can promise you on behalf of all of us at Starbucks we are digging in on this and trying to solve it. We’ve made strides, and I think in the near term there will be a technology tool we will have, and the store manager will have, that will give us more visibility on the issue in advance and will have the problem solved

But the short answer is, and I think this is important, of all the things you see here nothing is more important to anyone in the company than the experience our partners are having. Full stop.

Darrion: I really do appreciate that and I honestly believe you. I’ve spoken to software specialists, I’ve spoken to local legislators, and I’ve seen how it affects people throughout this sector and the one voice i really feel is missing is the partners themselves; the employees. I think they have a lot of useful things to say and if you let them, they’ll talk a lot

Schultz: Okay. Thank you very much for that.