Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Has anything changed at your Starbucks recently?

Has your barista seemed a touch chilly, grumpy even? 

Or have they just been rushing around, trying to make sure that the mobile orders are done, as well as the ones from the retrograde customers who still come in with their bodies and smiles?

Things might just improve in the near future.

Might.

Today, Starbucks announced it's committing an additional $250 million to help its employees, you know, live a little better.

Among the new benefits, it's giving hourly and salaried partners -- as it calls its employees -- a raise in addition to the one they receive annually.

Cue the possibility of slightly greater barista smiles.

The coffee chain is also giving six weeks paid parental leave to non-birth parents, so that it can begin to reflect the equality that it's long preached. 

Yes, this is only half the parental leave given to those who work in Starbucks' offices. 

It's still something.

The issue is a big deal to many. 

At last year's shareholders' meeting, Kristen Picciolo, an Ohio employee, confronted CEO Kevin Johnson about the issue. 

Indeed, a Change.org petition was launched by a Starbucks employee. It implored Johnson to make changes. It was signed by almost 30,000 people.

Starbucks' new employee offerings include many other little touches that will surely enhance employees' moods.

This includes improvements in Family and Sick Time benefit.

Large companies are increasingly realizing how important it is to treat employees well.

Without them, these companies will lose far more than is obviously tangible.

In a time of relatively full employment, the temptation to leave is all the greater and customers aren't exactly less demanding in such a rapidly changing world.

Walmart is another company that began to address these very issues just a couple of weeks ago.

Perhaps, then, when you next waft into your Starbucks, you might see some happier faces.

After all, going to Starbucks isn't really all about the coffee, is it?

Published on: Jan 24, 2018