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If I Was Running a Service Business, I'd Follow Starbucks on Tuition Aid So Fast It Would Make Your Head Swim...

What's the value proposition when it comes to people working at your company?  If you have a hard time answering that, you're undoubtedly struggling to find people who want to work for you in this economy - where talent has more options than they've had for awhile, or at least any time since 2009.

Some of creating a value prop comes down to what's valuable to the core positions that make up your company.  That's why I love what Starbucks recently did with Tuition Aid.  More from Bloomberg: Coffee town

"Starbucks Corp. will now pay full tuition for its workers to get a degree from Arizona State University online, instead of just partially footing the bill, giving it another way to entice employees in a tightening labor market.

Employees who work at least 20 hours a week will be eligible to have full tuition, the company said in a statement Monday. Starbucks founded the college program in 2014, with full-tuition reimbursement available only to juniors and seniors, while students in their first two years got a stipend of $6,500 to cover about half their fees.

Now, Starbucks is making full tuition available to more than 140,000 U.S. employees."

There's a lot to love here.  First, Starbucks is keenly aware who their target is from a talent perspective.  Young people on the way up, at times underemployed and/or in the process of figuring out what a full-grown up life looks like.  Next, what's most valuable from a benefits perspective to that group?  Building for the future, while I serve these godforsaken middle class people their coffee.
 
Going all in on tuition makes so much sense for Starbucks it's not even funny.  Especially when you consider that Tuition Aid is one of the classic benefits that looks great on the brochure, but is hard as hell to use - you actually have to be committed enough to enroll and do the work.  That means Starbucks knows exactly what % of their associates will use the benefit - and that number is waaaaay below 100% utilization.
 
If you're in the service business for 80% of your positions, full tuition aid is a great thing to add.  Whatever your business, find a value prop and clearly communicate it - and don't be afraid to spend.
 
By the way, if you haven't seen the low budget pic Coffee Town, you need to check it out.  Office Space meets Starbucks.  And yes, that is Josh Groban as a Barista..(email subscribers enable pics or click through)

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