When I was looking for a Kronos customer with a great story to tell, my colleagues were emphatic in telling me, ‘You’ve got to talk to Boba Tea Company!’ Kronos has a lot of customers in the retail, food service, and hospitality space. Many are household names and have been working with us for a long time. So, I was a little surprised that this was the first customer they’d point me to. 

It turns out Hoa (pronounced Wah) Luong, COO of this chain of specialty-drinks shops, has seen firsthand how effective human capital management (HCM) technology can benefit both employees and the bottom line. This year, sales have increased by 23%. What accounts for the huge leap? According to Hoa, “We didn’t do our job right last year. This year, we have Kronos Workforce Ready, a resource we can use to properly analyze our data. We can make scheduling improvements. Before Kronos, we were not very effective. We were leaving money on the table, and we weren’t staffing our team correctly.” She went on to share several lessons with me.

Lesson One: Treat your Employees like your Best Customers

It’s all about speed. Customers arrive at a Boba Tea Company shop while walking the mall. Often, they are tired, thirsty, and needing that pick-me-up feeling that comes from a delicious drink you can’t find anywhere else. Boba Tea Company delivers satisfaction when they quickly serve up a tasty drink with playful flair.

Boba Tea Company’s employees want that same kind of pick-me-up feeling and satisfaction during every shift. Mostly college-age students, they expect to be able to manage every part of their lives from their phone. “Instead of calling the office, they can log in. If they need to change their address or W4 withholding, they can update that. They have their schedule. They can swap shifts. They do it all on their phones. We didn’t have that before. Now it’s accessible to them anywhere they need it.”

To offer a superior employee experience, Boba Tea Company offers a consistent schedule that accommodates the needs of their staff. “We schedule only five- or six-hour shifts. If they are taking evening classes, they can come in the mornings. They love that they can work on the weekends. That’s when the heaviest volume of work is. We make every accommodation to be consistent on the same days. We try not to flip-flop them. The schedule should be posted two weeks in advance of school starting so that they know what is coming. That’s an added value.”

Lesson Two: Celebrate your Culture, and Make it a Culture Worth Celebrating

Boba Tea Company takes their brand seriously, and their brand is serious fun. There are a lot of ways to consume a fruity beverage in a mall, but you’ll remember enjoying a ‘Screamsicle’ a few days before Halloween with whipped cream that turns your tongue black. Likewise, built into their workplace culture are playful names for positions, such as ‘Boba-tenders’, ‘Boba-backs’, and ‘Boba-Greeters’, with each associate playing a key role in running a smooth operation.

With locations in malls, Boba Tea Company must be as competitive for talent as every other retailer there, regardless of size. That is why when they were shopping for software that could improve their HCM strategies, they looked at what other large retailers were using and came to Kronos to learn more.


Lesson Three: Smart Solutions Benefit Employees as much as the Company 

When Hoa and the management team met with Kronos, they were looking for a way to improve their timekeeping and scheduling processes. In fact, once they were able to  better calibrate their employee scheduling to align with sales, they saw that amazing 23% increase in year-over-year sales. 

What they also found was that by going with the full suite of modules available in Kronos Workforce Ready, they could realize many additional benefits at the same time. According to Hoa, “The biggest improvement has been in communication. You can’t just call people anymore. When we need to roll out a new policy, a new drink, a new process — everything is communicated in a ‘BobaScoops’ announcement that they see when they log into Kronos. They must read that. Everyone gets the same message.”

Going to a streamlined system for human resources, payroll, and timekeeping has powerful financial benefits for their hourly employees too. Adopting Kronos made it possible to grant pay increases immediately once a performance review was complete. “Once it’s finalized, it’s instantaneous. Before, we would let pay increases happen only on Monday. We had to manually compute that. If you got a good review on Thursday with a 50-cent raise and then worked all weekend, you could work three or four shifts before the raise took effect. Now it’s all in one system. They start earning the new wage immediately.”


Great Growth Ahead

Meeting the needs of their young employees and streamlining business practices with a single software solution has Boba Tea Company on a path to fueling future expansion. “If you’re looking to grow, you have to have software that can grow with you. Kronos is the tool that can help us expand our business.” My colleagues were right. Boba Tea Company’s success is a great story worth sharing.

Click to learn more about how Kronos HCM solutions can help you provide a better employee experience for your retail workforce


Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2019