What if Starbucks got into the staffing industry?
Like most entrepreneurs, I have a deep and personal relationship with caffeine, to the point where coffee joins fruit and grains as one of the primary food groups. As a result, my weekly routine includes more transactions with Starbucks than I would probably care to admit.
Howard Shultz started Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ SBUX) in 1971 and in recent years they have evolved to be as much of a tech company as they are a coffeeshop. They are also the worlds leading mobile payment processor, even eclipsing Apple Pay. As a result, their datacentric business model is adaptable to a variety of industries and products.
How would a company like this approach operating a staffing agency? A hypothetical question for sure, but also a worthwhile question, as studying tactics that have revolutionized other sectors can yield valuable lessons across industries. Granted, Starbucks is much too busy wrestling with the challenges created by the pandemic than to entertain such a radical idea. Although stranger things have happened, as two other large technology companies (Uber and Indeed) recently launched their own versions of temp staffing.
Starbucks maintains a competitive advantage not because the coffee is so much better than other alternatives, but because of how they layer technology and data into their business. Three key points that stand out as lessons for the staffing industry to follow are personalization, real estate planning, and dynamic menu creation.
Parallels between “Cups of Joe” and “Joe Staffing Worker”
Personalization: Knowing the order preferences and buying patterns for customers allows Starbucks to send personalized offers that are more likely to be relevant. These might include cold drinks on hot days, product launches, or different seasonal options. For staffing, this translates to letting workers tightly curate an interesting stream of job opportunities based on experience, preferences, and skills. The key word here is tightly, because too many opportunities which are not relevant or appealing will cause workers to tune out and lose interest.
Real Estate Planning: Starbucks uses GIS (Geospatial Information Systems) for store planning, which models factors like population, income levels, and traffic patterns, to maximize their reach and visibility. In staffing, real estate planning means establishing a presence where a significant majority of workers are. Yet, unlike Starbucks’ approach, this is not a physical location! Rather 81% of staffing workers can be found for hours every day on their smartphone! Therefore, its crucial to reach them with mobile-based processes that are easy and intuitive.
Dynamic Menu Creation: The way Starbucks uses data means it can make revisions based on customer, location, and time. This affects functions like products, promotions, pricing and inventory. In staffing and workforce management, this means integrating smart scheduling processes to optimize constraints like worker availability, job conflicts and geographic proximity. Tasks like these are ripe for automation, and the best recipe for success is to focus technology on tasks, and letting the people focus on relationships.
Let’s reimagine the art of worker deployment together
Arrived is seeking small to mid-sized staffing agencies that want to unlock new markets and eat the competitions lunch (and drink their coffee beverage!). Layering Arrived technology provides our clients with a fully branded app in the Apple App/Google Play store, right alongside the big national firms. I’d like to help staffing agencies of all sizes to adopt a mobile platform on their own terms. Adopting our digital offering helps win new business, retain existing clients, adapt to changing worker expectations, and adds recruiter efficiency.
If you want to know more or even just discuss market conditions and strategy, grab some time on my schedule here.