Besides the rich aroma of coffee, one of the first things you will experience upon entering a Starbucks store is its warmth. The welcoming smiles from Starbucks baristas will instantly put you on cloud nine.
Such warmth can only be borne from the fulfillment gained from what one is doing and this is what Starbucks has given its employees, better known as “partners”.
Here, not only is the concoction brewed from the finest of beans, but its partners are provided with an abundance of opportunities, inspiration, knowledge and care; ingredients that elevates Starbucks to a whole new level.
Sydney Quays, managing director of Starbucks Malaysia and Brunei, says:
“We believe that our partners are our biggest assets and we take pride in taking care of them, making them an integral part of the company.”
It’s no wonder that Starbucks emerged the “Best of the Best” Employer in the Aon Hewitt Best Employers Malaysia 2015 award, right after bagging the Gold Award at the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management’s aspired Malaysia HR Awards in November 2014.
A happy partner is equivalent to happy customers who will keep coming back for the wonderful service rendered, an element that is a vital part of the company’s four pillars of strength.
1. Employer branding
When it comes to branding, Starbucks leaves no stone unturned. It’s not only about marketing the business but extends to the Starbucks Employment Brand.
With the aim to retain, engage and inspire its partners, Starbucks has aligned its Employee Value Proposition to create opportunities for all.
At Starbucks, you are not only offered a job but rather, a golden chance to be yourself and to carve your career path with the guidance provided by the company.
Starbucks empowers all partners to lead, impact and be the best in what they aspire to be. Hard work is rewarded through interesting compensations and benefits such as incentive trips, gym memberships and monthly reloadable Starbucks cards to be enjoyed with family and friends.
2. Partner development
All partners at Starbucks are enlightened on the company’s story and culture at the beginning of their journey. The structured career pathway enables partners to map out their goals while the company empowers its partners to manage expectations to achieve the desired success.
Internal promotions are also available for promising partners who have proven themselves. Partners can equip themselves with all the knowledge and experience needed to take them to higher levels through the career enhancing programmes and best practices sharing initiative.
At the end of the day, recognition and awards are bestowed upon deserving partners who have turned the tables to develop themselves and their careers. This is a form of motivator that pushes them to achieve more.
3. Coffee and culture
At Starbucks, each partner lives and breathes coffee.
Be it at the retail stores or the headquarters, the Starbucks coffee culture is imbued in every nook and cranny of the establishment through:
- Coffee tasting culture
The company sees all of its partners as brand ambassadors, hence the coffee knowledge is generously shared with all partners to make them Starbucks coffee experts.
- Coffee expertise programme
The Coffee Master Programme and The Latte Art Programme are two initiatives that helps partners who want to enhance their coffee passion and build their expertise around it.
- Coffee farm visits
Partners are taken on coffee field-trips to see the origin of coffee and to appreciate the efforts put in nurturing these precious beans.
- Coffee education and seminar
A seminar conducted for the public in an attempt to educate them on coffee and to develop confidence in public speaking for partners who are conducting it.
- Moments of connection
Partners are urged to take ownership and connect with their customers in a bid to create a loyal, trusted customer profile.
4. Humanity and love
Nothing brings contentment more than giving back to the community, and at Starbucks, charity begins at home. The company provides a platform for partners who are facing hardships to reach out for help as Starbucks firmly believes in never letting one of its own take a fall.
The Starbucks Malaysia CUP Fund (CUP for Caring Unites Partners), for example, is a programme to help Starbucks partners in times of significant and immediate need.
Situations that can result in a partner needing assistance include, but are not limited to, illness or injury, death, natural disaster, or other catastrophic circumstances.
CUP Fund is supported solely by partner contributions and fundraising efforts.
Starbucks also provides financial aids in the areas of health, education and environment to communities.
At Starbucks, it’s not just about coffee, it is about a rich mix of principles, culture and care.
Starbucks facts and figures
Help and care in times of need
Starbucks is an organisation that cares not only for its business but is also committed in taking care of its partners and their families.
Over the years, Starbucks has touched the hearts of many partners including myself for the company and my partners have helped me in my time of need.
In the month of December 2014, several states in Malaysia, including Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang were heavily affected by floods due to the Northeast monsoon.
Many families lost their homes in one of Malaysia’s worst flood on record. My home in Kuantan was also badly damaged from the flood.
I am so grateful towards the Starbucks CUP Fund for providing me with funds to sustain and rebuild my home. The CUP Fund has not only helped me in this occasion but several times before this incident as well.
I received financial aid in 2013 when Pahang was badly hit by floods, and in September 2014 when my late son was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that affects children and adolescents.
I sincerely thank Starbucks and Starbucks partners for providing this safety net for partners who are experiencing significant immediate hardship that are beyond their control. From partner to partner, I thank you.
Starbucks store manager
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Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 25 April 2015
Lay Hsuan is the content curator for Leaderonomics.com. She writes occasionally and is the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader’s Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.