Brewing a Culture of Family: Starbucks Named One of China’s Best Employers

Starbucks partners and leaders pose at 2019 China Best Employer awards

Today, Starbucks was named a China Best Employer for 2019 by international human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt for the fifth consecutive time. Six Starbucks partners (employees) proudly wearing the Starbucks green apron shared the limelight at the award ceremony, receiving the award on behalf of Starbucks 55,000 partners in China. The proud moment was streamed on the Starbucks China Green Apron partner mobile app, and witnessed by Starbucks partners across the market.

Aon Hewitt’s China Best Employers is one of the industry’s most influential awards. Winners are chosen based on in-depth research and analysis into each nominated company. Only 13 companies made the list of Star Employers this year, with Starbucks standing out for the professionalism of its employees, its organizational agility, and visionary leadership.

Brewing a “Culture of Family”

“Starbucks takes great care of me and my fellow partners, and even our families. Having worked at the Shanghai Reserve Roastery, before moving back to my hometown, Starbucks has always been a home to me no matter where I am – a family that nourishes me with warmth and love.”

- Suvi Zhong, store manager from Starbucks Reserve store in Xian

Partners are at the heart and soul of the signature Starbucks Experience, and the cornerstone of Starbucks success. Starbucks appreciating the central role that family plays in Chinese society, and is committed to building a warm and welcoming “Culture of Family” where every partner is recognized, nurtured and taken care of as part of the Starbucks China Family.

The company has introduced a range of innovative partner investments and benefits over the years. Beginning in 2012, Starbucks has held annual Partner-Family Forums that honor the special role family plays in the lives of its partners, while providing an engaging platform for partners and their loved ones to share their hopes and aspirations. Feedback from these sessions inspired the company to pioneer investments such as comprehensive insurance for partners, their spouses and children. In 2017, Starbucks introduced a first-of-its-kind “Starbucks China Parent Care Program” which provides critical illness insurance for parents of eligible partners. The majority of Starbucks partners in China work away from their hometowns, in large urban areas with high housing costs. For these partners working far from home, Starbucks provides housing allowance subsidies to ease their financial burden. Starbucks also helps partners return to their hometowns if they so choose. Through the ‘Coming Home’ program partners may apply to work in newly-opened Starbucks stores in their hometowns, an opportunity enabled by Starbucks rapid growth across China. Furthermore, Starbucks will soon launch a groundbreaking new flexible benefits scheme that promises to further elevate Starbucks ‘Culture of Family’. These initiatives complement Starbucks global Bean Stock program, which awards all partners shares of Starbucks stock—the reason why employees are called “partners.”

A Welcoming Place for All

“At Starbucks, I am treated just as any other partner, be it in learning the art of coffee brewing, or connecting with our customers. More than just being understood and respected, I have been given an equal opportunity to grow and develop.”

- Lucky Zhang, partner in Starbucks first Signing Store in China

In May 2019, Starbucks opened its first Signing Store in China, creating employment and career advancement opportunities for Deaf and hard of hearing partners. The Signing Store is a favorite gathering spot for customers from the Deaf and hard of hearing community thanks the exceptional Starbucks Experience delivered by our partners and a welcoming Third Place for community events and gatherings.

Starbucks is also committed to advancing diversity and inclusion through gender equality and pay equity. The company has achieved 100 percent gender pay equity in China through a set of Pay Equity principles built around transparency, accountability and equal footing—paying partners according to experience, ability, performance and skills.

True to its Mission and Values, Starbucks will continue to leverage its scale to promote equal opportunity, while inspiring partners, customers and the community to create a more inclusive workplace and society.

Fulfilling Dreams and Aspirations

“Starbucks open and diverse environment attracted me to the company. I have not only gotten to know many like-minded partners here, but also realized my dream – becoming one of the few roasters in China. Starbucks has changed my path in life.”

- Michael Luan, a ‘Post 90s’ partner from the Shanghai Reserve Roastery

Customers at Starbucks stores in China will not fail to notice the different colors of aprons proudly worn by Starbucks partners. The multitude of colors showcases the growing diversity of career paths and opportunities available to Starbucks partners.

As Starbucks largest international growth market, China is where a store manager is promoted every 15 hours, a new district manager every week and an area director every quarter. This offers huge growth opportunities for partners’ careers, while presenting a fertile ground for cultivating the next generation of China’s leaders in retail.

With more than 55,000 partners across over 4,000 stores in more than 160 cities, Starbucks is committed to creating the best environment for its partners to grow their careers and achieve their aspirations. As the company continues its rapid expansion, it looks forward to the opportunity to welcome more passionate partners on board, to further enrich and add color to the growing Starbucks China Family.

thumbnail for New Starbucks store provides a charming oasis in Tainan

New Starbucks store provides a charming oasis in Tainan