Why Starbucks and The Container Store are laughing at you.

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Starbucks and The Container Store think you’re a joke.

OK… maybe not you specifically.

They think your training program is.



Maybe that’s why their employees are always smiling?


At Starbucks, new hires receive around 24 hours of training within the first 2-4 weeks.

They learn the history of coffee.

They learn the habits of great retailing.

They learn habits to deal with angry customers.

They attend a 4-hour workshop on brewing a cup of coffee.


Starbucks requires 24 hours of training to make a $5 cup of Skinny Vanilla Latte yet your paving company routinely sends newbies on busy highways to handle molten asphalt with far less training.


Should we be surprised the construction industry spends over $50B in direct costs due to injuries and deaths?



At The Container Store, new hires spend over 180 hours in training.

Yes – 180 hours.

10,800 minutes of training to sell my wife a $99 Zen Bamboo Laundry Hamper.

That’s nearly 2 full days of training each month for a year.


Meanwhile, construction firms hire individuals to work jobs with the highest rates of injuries and deaths, sit them through a Power Point slide deck and think they are ready.


As for Spanish-speakers… Dios mío.

We’re in America – learn English!” you say.

We can’t bear the expense of translating everything into Spanish!

We don’t have time to consider cultural differences!


Here… Just fill this form out (in English) and watch this video. We need you on the job mañana.   



Should we be surprised Latinos are nearly 2x as likely to be injured or killed on the job? 



Oh, right.

Everyone takes the OSHA 10-Hour online.




This means kids – paid in Skittles – press the arrow key on the computer every 4 minutes. Then they hope their daddy doesn’t die.


I know… We’re all busy. 


With the rise of tablets/smartphones and an increasingly accessible set of tools to develop and deliver meaningful daily training, we need to get creative and train construction workers better and more frequently.

If your training is more Keurig (2 minutes and some basic common sense and you’re good to go…), than Starbucks, start a conversation to improve it.


Here’s a question: What percentage of your team has truly developed a set of Safety habits?


Habits are developed over time – not purchased and handed out like Non-fat Chai Tea Lattes and Blossom Stockholm Magazine Files.



Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.    

If you enjoyed this post and would be interested in other related content, subscribe to our monthly Newsletter – the Red Angle Revista. Once a month, no fluff, no sales pitches. Just ideas and language skills to help you run a better job.

Categories: Construction Spanish, Jobsite Leadership

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3 replies

  1. I’d be honored if you’d accept my nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award.

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