Starbucks set to revamp staff promotions

The coffeehouse chain is brewing new talent initiatives

Starbucks set to revamp staff promotions

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has promised to invest additional resources to create a fairer and more transparent employee promotion process. The pledge came as the coffeehouse chain responded to allegations of racial bias before the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Starbucks said it had reached an agreement with the commission to improve its talent development processes, particularly on elevating its partners to new roles. The deal was signed despite data from Starbucks showing it did not hinder certain classes from advancing in their career, the company said.

“While we do not know what prompted the EEOC allegations and our analysis of this data did not reveal systemic discrimination in promotions, we know we can improve transparency around promotion opportunities,” Johnson said in a letter to employees.

Read more: Twitter pledges greater diversity in the top ranks

The agreement has led Starbucks to direct greater resources towards employee career progression and ensuring all staff members have a chance to learn about advancement opportunities. The CEO’s pledge will also hold company and team leaders accountable for supporting workers who are eager to navigate their career growth.

“We now have tools and technology to help non-retail leaders track their team’s progress towards BIPOC representation goals and to give retail partners – from baristas through managers – seamless visibility to promotion opportunities,” the CEO said.

“During your upcoming performance and development conversations with your manager, each of you will have an opportunity to learn about these new systems in place, while at the same time, having space for meaningful and supportive career conversations. The tools and technology are only as good as the behaviours of a truly inclusive culture,” he said.

Read more: How to create an inclusive workplace

Following Starbucks’ latest Civil Rights Assessment, the company said it is “fully committed to lasting change” and aims to:

  • Create a formal roadmap to expand its mentorship programme beyond directors
  • Create continuing accountability around how it ensures equal access to advancement and promotion opportunities
  • Bolster its goals for supplier diversity programmes and eliminate barriers for suppliers

“I want to be very clear: racism and discrimination have no place at Starbucks. Not with customers. Not with partners,” Johnson said. “Inclusion is at the very core of what we do.”

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