Coming together: All Starbucks partners in U.S., Canada to participate in 2-hour connection sessions  

Starbucks has a long history of bringing partners (employees) together for intentional moments of connection and business, brand and culture building. Over the course of the last year, as a part of the company’s focus on reinvention, partners have gathered together in hundreds of listening and collaboration sessions with baristas, shift supervisors, store leaders and support partners across the globe. These most recent sessions have been designed to listen, inspire, train and reset the company in a way that honors its heritage while it modernizes for the future. As a next step in that journey, starting Monday and for the next two weeks, 250,000 Starbucks partners at 10,000 stores across the United States and Canada will take part in sessions on the theme of connection. To learn more, read on:

What are the store gatherings taking place from April 24 to May 8 and why is Starbucks doing them?

Building upon our Reinvention over the past year, All-Store Partner Sessions are a new moment designed to connect Starbucks partners to each other, our customers and our coffee heritage. These sessions are dedicated time for team building and exchanging ideas among partners through interaction and conversation.  

How many stores and partners will participate?  

About 250,000 Starbucks partners at 10,000 stores across the United States and Canada will participate. The sessions are designed, with the help of partners, to be relevant for all baristas, regardless of their tenure.  

What happens during All Store Partner Sessions? 

Store managers will bring all partners together and facilitate a two-hour session grounded in coffee and connection. Each store manager is empowered to design a gathering that meets their team’s needs. For instance, Roni, a store manager in Maryland, has scheduled time with her partners after closing to maximize participation. As a leader who began eight years ago behind the bar as a barista, she is personalizing the agenda with interactive activities so that partners can get to know each other in a meaningful way and get grounded in the importance of this moment in the company’s history.  

“I want them to take away the deeper meaning and the root of – what is connection? Connection can mean something different to everyone,” Roni says. “It's a new beginning, a new journey. Everything with reinvention, what are we working on as a company and as partners? This [session] gives us the chance to slow down and really understand the meaning of being with each other and with other people. It’s something that we don’t always have the time to understand or appreciate. It’ll be a moment of fun and learning.”  

Will stores remain open during the gathering?  

Store managers are empowered to create a memorable experience for their partners and to determine the best approach for store operations to ensure uninterrupted time for participation. For some stores, this could mean conducting the meeting during open hours. For others, it could mean holding the meeting after stores close.  

What kind of resources are being provided to stores to facilitate these gatherings?  

Resources for store managers include a facilitator guide, a planning guide, and poster invitations to be posted in the back of house to build excitement and awareness. Stores will also receive one pack of new Everyday Uplift! Team Connect Cards to use during these sessions. During the sessions, partners can enjoy chocolate croissants and Green Apron Blend, a new coffee blend created by partners for partners.   

Will partners be asked to address operational matters during the sessions?  

No, these two-hour sessions are intentionally focused on discussing the art of connection among and between Starbucks partners and customers. However, store managers are always available to their partners to discuss their concerns and questions about logistical and operational matters. 

What is the format of these sessions?  

  • Connecting with Starbucks (25 minutes) – Partners will begin with a coffee tasting of the Starbucks Green Apron Blend and watch a video introduction with our new chief executive officer Laxman Narasimhan. 
  • Connecting with our team (35 minutes) – Partners will connect with their teams through a mix of self-reflection, speed connecting, share-outs and team recognition.  
  • Connecting with our customers (60 mins) – Partners will identify their connection superpowers, discuss creating connection moments and learnings and share intentions moving forward.  

What will happen after the sessions end?  

Store managers and above will meet to de-brief on any changes, ideas, strategies, intentions and inspirations that surfaced during the All-Store Partner Session. Conversations will continue between all partners during regular partner development meetings.  

What is the goal of these sessions?  

Starbucks partners will leave every session with three takeaways: 1) Ready to feel a sense of ownership to improve and influence the environment around them at Starbucks. 2) Inspiration to show up to each shift energized and ready to create connections with their team, and 3) Expand their craft and create connections with our customers.

For Roni, who still fondly recalls the impact of meeting with her fellow partners when she first started as a barista eight years ago, this newest company-wide moment in a post-pandemic era – and under new leadership at the highest levels – is an opportunity to help every partner connect with the Starbucks mission. 

“The thing I love about this company so much and why I’ve been here so long is they take the time to give back to the partners and care about us,” she says. “Our baristas – they all just want to be heard. They want to be able to share not only how they’re feeling but how they feel their development is going and how they’ve been dealing with their mental health. I’m very close to my team. I like to be the talker and pull things out of them, but for this, I just want them to create the space for them to share their thoughts so we can generate thoughts and ideas and really get to know each other.”