This morning I went to Starbucks and paid partly on my Starbucks card and partly with a $ 20.00 bill. After I paid on the Starbucks card the balance was $ 2.86. The Barrista could not figure out the change.

Thankfully I was able to draw on my training as a bakery clerk at Casey’s Bakery 33 years ago and “counted up” the change to the $ 20.00. You know, 15 cents is three, add 2 is five dollars, add 15 is $ 20.00. As I type this I realize I should not have started that sentence with “you know” because clearly, this Barrista did not know.

The point of this Blog/rant is not to sound like I’m 100 and want kids to get off my lawn, the point is to talk about building blocks for jobs/professions. I’m going to suggest Barristas should know how to make change before they are hired and that is a building block for their job.

As a lawyer who works with many employers, I am always happy to help clients created a plan that helps their employees develop the skills they need to advance in their company. Many small employers are seeing the value of paying for continuing job training and having employees shadow those in management periodically to get a sense of what management does and how their jobs fit into the building blocks of the entire company.

My concern as a lawyer is to ensure the employer’s good deeds do not get “punished” if the employee leaves the company. An employee handbook that clearly spells out what is paid for and what is not, is very important in determining if something was an obligation or a “gift”. Depending on the value of the education, if this is not set out clearly, the employer could be on the hook for a lot of money if the employee is terminated. That will often leave a sour taste in an employer’s mouth and the remaining workforce ends up suffering.

Don’t be that employer. Document your policies. Review your employees regularly and follow your policies. Your business will run more smoothly if you have a handbook.

Also, Starbucks, perhaps a calculator on the counter could help counting-challenged Barristas?

Inga B. Andriessen
iandriessen@andriessen.ca