Ever wonder what keeps your favourite baristas cheerful from your first cup of coffee at the start of your day, all the way to closing time – even as your choice of beverage goes from extra shots of espresso to blended juice?
From barista to managing director, the people of Starbucks are called “partners”, which gives the sense of working together and belonging in a team as a family.
Starbucks has been consistent, and persistent, in ensuring that their teams of partners come first – from communicating and delivering on their employee value proposition, to building their capabilities, cultivating a coffee culture, and nurturing a sense of purpose and meaning beyond work.
1. Employer branding
The Starbucks employee value proposition is in itself quite revealing. It shows that the partners responsible for crafting it took the time to truly understand what is important to their fellow partners, and what makes them thrive and grow:
- Opportunity. To be your best self, to have your best career.
- Opportunity. To have an impact. To live your values, and have them matched.
- Opportunity. To connect with something bigger. To make your own path and succeed.
- Opportunity. To make a meaningful connection every day.
- Opportunity. To be more than an employee; to be a partner.
Clarity of this message is pivotal for attracting the right people. Beyond that, everyone at Starbucks plays a role in delivering on this promise to ensure a great working environment for each other, and ultimately a great place for coffee for all!
2. Partner development
With the doors of opportunity opened wide, partner development is imperative to help each and every partner seize and get the most out of every opportunity.
Fully aware that this investment is necessary to equip, empower and engage their partners, Starbucks has a structured career pathway (known affectionately as their “coffee journey”) for each new hire, regardless of what position they start in.
We find that there is never a shortage of partners eager to share their coffee journey in the hopes of inspiring others to come onboard.
And for whichever path they are on, or direction they are heading in, Starbucks has developed innovative partner development programmes that encourage an ecosystem that values continuous personal growth as well as growth of fellow partners.
These include the internal promotion programmes, career enhancement programmes as well as retail learning certification programmes.
3. Coffee and culture
Starbucks envisions of the day that we all become aficionados, and by design, works to cultivate a coffee culture.
Much like their beverages are infused with depth in flavour and that unmistakable zing!, Starbucks strives to infuse its partners with passion for coffee by building their coffee expertise and desire to share the passion with other partners and customers alike.
Walk into any store and you know that the Starbucks partners, even as they are beaming with pride, take their coffee seriously.
Not satisfied with being mere coffee enthusiasts, partners have the opportunity to elevate their craft to the master level.
For the curious ones, visits to coffee farms also allow partners to interact with farmers and see how it all starts from the humble coffee cherry.
4. Humanity and love
Cupping your favourite beverage, breathing in its aroma and sinking down into a comfortable café chair – one often feels like being enveloped in a warm hug of memories with family and loved ones.
On a national front, Starbucks supports its partners to leave their cafes en masse to, in various ways, extend their warmth and caring to those in need. Partners have an array of programmes they can choose to participate in to help the communities they live in.
Starbucks takes pride in building human connections – not only with customers and the community, but also with their partners.
In addition to delivering on their promise to give their partners opportunities, as well as the skills to build on those opportunities, Starbucks develops engagement activities within Malaysia and also with partners in other countries.
Starbucks facts and figures
Best buddies share their Starbucks journey
Photo (above): Best buddies Shazy (left) and Joanne
Joanne Herman Christopher and Syarifah NurHusna, or better known as Shazy, are two Starbucks partners that will leave a lasting impression on you with their bubbly and outspoken personalities.
Joanne is currently the store manager of Starbucks Mid Valley and Shazy is the Starbucks store manager at The Gardens.
The dynamic duo met each other in 2013 when Joanne was transferred to work under the same district manager. They hit it off immediately. They have been best of friends ever since, mainly due to the fact that they share many similar interests.
When it comes to work, they always exchange ideas and share knowledge. Now that their workplace is close to each other, they have been closer than ever.
“One of our best moments together was when we both travelled to Vietnam for the first time for the Starbucks Leadership Conference last year.
“Shazy and I were in the same group, and together with a couple of other store managers, our group won the best dressed that night! We went as soldiers and the win was simply amazing that we celebrated by dancing on the stage,” said Joanne.
“Every day at Starbucks is a learning experience; Starbucks represents something more than a cup of coffee. As Starbucks partners, Joanne and I both believe in contributing back to the community and we have fun doing it!
“We participate in community service projects that were organised by the corporate social responsibility team and the experiences have been truly rewarding!” said Shazy.
Both buddies share the same passion for coffee and cherish moments of connection with customers and partners. They are enjoying their coffee journey at Starbucks and look forward to a fruitful career ahead.
“Love what you do and make the best out of every day.”
Syarifah NurHusna Sayed Idrus (Shazy)
Years of service: Six
Starbucks store manager, The Gardens
Joanne Herman Christopher
Years of service: Nine
Starbucks store manager, Mid Valley
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Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 2 May 2015
Lay Hsuan was part of the content curation team for Leaderonomics.com, playing the role of a content gatekeeper as well as ensuring the integrity of stories that came in. She was an occasional writer for the team and was previously the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is still happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader’s Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.