Starbucks was bought out by current CEO Howard Schultz in 1987. Since then, Andrew Harrer (2012) reports the company has grown to operate over “17,244 stores worldwide” (para. 1). Fortune (n.d.) reports in its yearly 100 Best Companies to Work for that Starbucks employs “some 95,000 employees”. From only a handful of stores in 1987 to a billion dollar franchise today, the success of Starbucks is due in great deal to their corporate culture, specifically how employees, or as Starbucks calls them, partners are treated. Joseph Michelli (2007) echoes this sentiment, “A great cup of coffee is only part of the Starbucks success equation” (p. 767).
The Starbucks corporate culture is not easily summed up because it is multidimensional. However, Starbucks leadership reiterates several key words regularly; “everything matters”, “playful”, “human connection”, “respect”, “dignity”, and “care”. In fact, many of these words can be found in their mission statement. Starbucks partner mission statement reads:
We’re called partners, because it’s not just a job, it’s our passion. Together, we embrace diversity to create a place where each of us can be ourselves. We always treat each other with respect and dignity. And we hold each other to that standard. (Starbucks.com, n.d., para. 2).
Starbucks strives to be the place between work and home for its customers, and strives to create a place to work where productivity shines above any differences between colleagues. The hiring process begins with the interview. Online forums often reveal the same types of questions asked at interviews. These questions generally refer to how an individual handles conflict with colleagues, requests for information on how they might have disappointed a customer, why the individual might want to work for Starbucks, etc. Before they start working, new employees undergo a 24-hour training module dedicated towards teaching them coffee knowledge and how to interact with customers according to the Starbucks Experience (Weber, 2005, para. 42). Training doesn’t stop there, however. Baristas can expose themselves to additional training if they desire to become Coffee Masters, Shift Supervisors, or Store Managers. In fact, Michelli (2007) reports, “Starbucks consistently spends more on training than it does on advertising” (p. 282). The Starbucks corporation feels that the Starbucks Experience starts with their employees. If their employees are happy, their employees create better experiences for their customers. This creative approach to the management of people shows. Michelli (2007) highlights that the turnover rate at Starbucks is much lower than at other similar establishments, “120 percent less than the industry average” (p. 282). He further goes on to mention that “employees have an 82% job-satisfaction rate” (p. 282). This deep desire to treat employees fairly stems from Schultz’s ideals. He himself mentions, “As a business leader, my quest has never been just about winning or...