BARISTA 2.jpeg

Biggby Coffee's Life You Love Laboratory focuses on what makes employees stay with the company. To represent Biggby, they encourage employees to take their own photos.

According to a recent article by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are 10 million open jobs and only 5.7 million unemployed people. Many companies are looking to innovate as they try to combat this shortage and retain employees, such as Biggby Coffee. 

The cause of the shortage is multi-faceted. When the Chamber surveyed workers, there were many responses. Twenty-seven percent cited a lack of affordable child and family care, and 28 percent stated ongoing health problems are preventing their return. 

One in five workers has altered their lifestyle after being unemployed during the pandemic. Of those, 17 percent retired, 19 percent became homemakers, and 14 percent are working part-time. 36 percent of workers aged 25-34 focused on self-improvement.

Forty-nine percent of workers are not willing to return without a remote or hybrid option. Thirty-four percent of service worker responders also cited that wages were not competitive enough. 

In an effort to keep workers, Biggby’s Chief Purpose Officer Laura Eich, helped create the Life You Love Laboratory (LifeLab). “We’ve really tried to take care of the basic needs of employees,” she said. “We get the chance to create healthy human practices and drink great coffee every day.”

Considering that 30 percent of workers are looking for a positive environment, the LifeLab fits as a solution.

BARISTA 3.jpeg

Employees working at Biggby Coffee can use LifeLab to further their growth, even if they don't stay with the company.

“There’s a theory out there called Two-Factor Theory, with hygiene factors and motivation factors,” Eich said. “And hygiene factors aren’t necessarily what makes people stay, but they can erode their motivation to stay if you’re not taking care of those.”

Hygiene factors are the necessities, such as compensation and benefits. Once the hygiene factors are met, a company can focus on motivation. Biggby utilized surveys to see what motivated their staff. Everything from environment to people to flexibility are what motivates employees from the bottom to the top so knowing these factors is the real key to retaining workers.

“A paycheck is not usually the number one reason people come to work,” said Eich. “The things that actually emotionally motivate people to come to work is what we’re trying to do a lot of.”

Of course, not everyone will stay. In Biggby’s case, not everyone wants to work in coffee, which is why LifeLab also offers Life You Love Workshops. These teach life skills such as budgeting, healthy habits and goal setting.


Biggby Coffee has focused on understanding what motivates an employee to stay versus what causes them to leave.

“It’s not necessarily just professional development,” said Eich. “Maybe your goals are outside of the company.” 

Some look to automation

Careful readers will have noticed that even if everyone is employed, there will still be 4 million jobs. Companies like Givex are offering solutions for that difference with a wide variety of technology. Tech including online ordering, kiosks and tablets, and automation can have a bigger impact than you think.  

“Givex has a lot of different reports in the backend,” said Mo Chaar, Givex’s chief commercial officer. “All of that automation allows for employees to interact with customers on a deeper level instead of running back and forth taking orders or entering by hand.”

Tech doesn’t need to be only used for efficiency. The Givex Awards program allows managers to track “ticks” for employees as they do their work. The ticks can be traded in for various rewards including gift cards. This can help foster a sense of loyalty among employees and motivate them to earn the ticks.

“We’ve always innovated, always worked with our partners on our end to keep them on the forefront of technology and ensuring that they have what they need to succeed,” said Chaar. “Whether that’s automation, online ordering, or even switching buttons around on the point of sale.” 

What ‘Zors are seeing

The IFA released their own study of the franchisors’ experiences through 2022. When it comes to finding employees, 87 percent of franchisees still have difficulty getting employees, with 44 percent having further difficulties finding qualified applicants.

Wage pressure is still a concern as well.  85 percent have already raised their wages, and 60 percent expect to do the same in 2023. Benefits have also continued to increase with 43 percent of franchisees reporting and 42 percent expecting to continue their increase.

Previously a reporter at a local newspaper, Megan is looking forward to dipping her toes in the world of franchises. Her reporter experience gave her the chance to learn about anything and everything in her community, and she’s looking forward to narrowing that broad experience into our publication.