Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Shame on Second Cup

It took a Facebook group advocating a boycott and an investigative report by CBC reporter Simon Gardner to get the head office of Second Cup to take employee complaints against a franchise owner seriously.

As a parent of a former employee, I know that the complaints are more than justified. The owner of the Bayshore Second Cup consistently underpaid employees, among other transgressions. No action was taken by Head Office until the whole situation hit the media. It is disheartening that employees are unable to get justice on their own merits, but at least something is finally being done.

It also mystifies me that business owners so frequently do not understand that treating employees - and customers and suppliers - honestly and considerately is good business. I know that this particular Second Cup lost a lot of business because of customer dissatisfaction. Only a prime location makes it a profitable venture. A survey taken of major Canadian businesses a number of years ago came to the conclusion that the most consistent factor for success was treating employees well. Happy employees are a fantastic asset to a business, something that this Second Cup owner completely fails to understand. Unfortunately the company itself has not been successful in creating an atmosphere where employees believe they have a viable recourse. It really is a shame, because on the whole, it's a decent coffee shop.

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Janna Qualman said...

That bites. You'd think, as you said, owner/operators would get a clue.

Janet said...

The fellow in question is totally clueless. But there are jerks in this world. The company should be more alert to that possibility and do something about it before it becomes a news item. I can tell you the girls in that news clip were thrilled to finally be given a voice.

spyscribbler said...

I agree: there seems to me that loyalty to and care for employees has become less and less important, over the years. Gone are the days when companies used to pride themselves on such things.

Loyalty, in general, seems to me a virtue that is less and less emphasized in our culture.

Janet said...

Spy, I get that impression too, although it works both ways. But it is still my understanding that the most successful companies tend to treat their employees well. Which is why it rather amazes me that there are people who are too stupid to realize that nastiness is counter-productive. If you don't believe in the Golden Rule as a matter of principle (being totally old-fashioned, I do and I'm not making any apologies) you should practice it anyway for purely selfish reasons. And I happen to believe it's a perfectly valid business principle. Treat your employees, your customers, your suppliers, the way you would want to be treated.

I got stiffed by an employer when I was teaching and ended up quitting in mid-semester, something I never would have contemplated if they hadn't taken my loyalty and shredded it into little pieces first. It probably worked out better for me, as I was on the verge of collapse and I shudder to think what kind of shape I would have been in had I toughed out the entire semester. I felt bad for the students, but I quit early enough so that the incoming teacher could still establish a working relationship with the students.

And now I have really digressed... ;o)


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