Friday 15 August 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: A Lesson in Crisis Managment

Starbucks is a Company that has suffered from its fair share of negative media coverage of late. However, this week it may well have dodged another bullet with a carefully and most likely pre-planned demonstration of crisis management…

An article in the New York Times this Wednesday reported on the strife and struggles of the Starbucks worker, Janette Navarro. Her difficulties were largely driven by the lack of consideration by her employer. The paper published an article on the Starbucks employee’s work schedule and its damaging effects on her personal and academic life. As a mother of a 4 year-old, Janette struggles to drop her son at school whilst also attending her associate degree classes. On several occasions, she was made to work until late at night and then had to start in the early hours the following day, followed by another long shift.

The public’s concerns raised in the article could have led to a public relations disaster for Starbucks. However, immediately after the article was published, the company responded to the situation. It announced that it will update its scheduling software and allow for more human input from managers to achieve more stable and consistent work schedules for shift workers.

Cliff Burrows, group president for the U.S., the Americas and the Teavana division also sent an e-mail to all staff on Thursday morning expressing his concerns over the situation. He says that “taking care of our partners is a responsibility I take very personally. I was troubled to read a New York Times story this morning regarding scheduling challenges one partner, Janette, faced as she strives to balance work while also pursuing a college degree and raising her son.” He has also promised to ensure that workers with commutes longer than an hour are transferred to stores closer to their homes.

The response provides a great example of how companies should respond to a potential corporate crisis. The response was immediate, humane, and thoughtful. In addition, by responding directly to the staff, as well as addressing the media, Burrows as a member of the senior management, demonstrated respect to his fellow colleagues. Very often, rather than taking a defensive position in reaction to a crisis situation, admitting mistakes can be one of the most effective tactics. A PR program is essential, but it can only drive results with the support of a sincere and supportive management team, coupled with real actions.

This week, Liberum hired Anna Hartropp to its banking team, who previously worked at Laird. Jonathan Brown, previously senior associate at DWF Fishburns, joined Clyde & Co as a commercial disputes partner, whilst Ernst & Young appointed Jay Nibbe as the global vice chair for tax. He has been with EY since 1985.

The Seven Dails Spotlight event takes place tomorrow in Covent Garden. There will be various outdoor activities, including an Airstream photo booth, Sol Cinema, the world’s smallest solar movie theatre and an Emergency Poet, the world’s first and only mobile poetic first aid service.

London largest free Jazz Festival is taking place in Canary Wharf, featuring jazz-funk, Latin, big band, soul, Instrumental, folk and jazz music. Rising stars such as Andy Sheppard Quartet, Ciyo Brown’s the Motown Sound and the Riot Jazz Brass Brand will be performing.

For fellow food lovers, the Foodie Festival takes place at Battersea Park this weekend, serving popular street food. Top London chefs will be cooking live in the Chefs Theatre, whilst experts will be giving tips in the Cake & Bake Theatre and BBQ Area.

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