Starbucks closes 8,000 stores for 'unconscious bias' training

by Emily Douglas31 May 2018

Coffee lovers all over the US were left bereft as Starbucks closed all 8,000 company-owned franchises yesterday afternoon to educate staff on racial bias.

The move comes after two black customers were arrested in a Starbucks store whilst waiting to meet a friend. The coffee giant is now making employees undergo "unconscious bias" training to prevent incidents such as that occurring again.

The training will impact around 175,000 workers, with stores shutting down at 2pm yesterday afternoon. The closure could have cost the company an estimated $20million.

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Starbuck chairman Howard Schultz commented: "We realize that four hours of training is not going to solve racial inequity in America. We need to have the conversation. We need to start."

In a statement issued earlier this year, the coffee giant expressed their commitment to training staff – adding that the closure would focus on “education geared toward preventing discrimination” in their stores.

Continuing staff education is an integral part of an inclusive HR strategy. Helping employees understand the company culture and integrate into the organization will not only help with retention but also with employer brand.

We spoke to Rob Catalano, co-founder of WorkTango, who suggested aligning workers to your company culture as a way of engaging your staff base.

“People need to understand the vision and the mission of an organization – as well as the purpose,” explained Catalano. “Is everyone aligned to what success looks like? It’s so much easier to get the end goal, and navigate the journey, when people are aligned.”

How do you foster an inclusive and aligned company culture? Tell us in the comments.


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