What do We have in Common with Starbucks? Employee Training.

“Starbucks is not an advertiser; people think we are a great marketing company, but in fact we spend very little money on marketing and more money on training our people than advertising.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks Chairman and CEO

Just like Starbucks, the Legion doesn’t believe in advertising. Just ask our slightly to sometimes moderately frustrated Marketing department. We don’t post ads on Facebook, we don’t buy space in magazines, and we don’t rent out billboards.

What we do believe in is employee training. Lots of training. Probably more training than our people want sometimes. All new hires start with a week in the classroom, followed by a week on the floor, and then they head back into the classroom for another week before being mentored by a team lead for 12 weeks and eventually going out on their own.

We also schedule trainings when we see a need. Lots of people have questions about LTL pricing? Training. There’s been a change in the laws that affect our drivers? Training. Pricing getting wonky on the floor? Training. Salespeople struggling with cold calling? Training.

Why are we so hot on training? A few reasons, really.

1. New employees want it. One of the main complaints we hear from candidates applying to Legion is that in previous positions they’ve held, there was no training. They were left to figure out their jobs and duties on their own. No one wants to flounder in their first few months on a job, not understanding how anything works or what they are supposed to be doing.

2. Existing employees want it. When changes happen in government regulations for our drivers, when our service offerings change, or when issues like the west coast port slowdown come up, our employees want to know the details and how it is going to affect their business.

3. Human Resources requires it. One of the growing pains we’ve experienced lately is that having more than 50 employees requires a TON more training. FMLA, sexual harassment, Affordable Care Act, you name it. Our HR manager spends days each month assembling, facilitating and
then following up on legally required training.

4. We don’t want to pay for advertising. If our employees are well-trained, they are more likely to be confident in their jobs and better performers. Better employees mean better customer service, which is our business. And we know that a good reputation and referrals bring in better prospects than a magazine ad any day.

Besides, that’s what Starbucks does, and they seem to be doing alright.