Starbucks: Opportunity To Be More Than An Employee

Dec 05, 2014 1 Min Read

Photo (above): Partners at Starbucks conducting coffee-tasting


Compiled by LAY HSUAN, LIM

Starbucks set out to be a different kind of company. One that not only celebrates coffee and the rich tradition, but that also brings a feeling of connection.



To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.


How are we different?

Our partners are our biggest assets and we take pride in taking care of them, making them an integral part of the company. We manage our business through the “lens of humanity”.

We do not call our people “employee” or “staff” but we call ourselves partners. As a partner, we believe that your spirit deserves to be inspired and nurtured too.

We do this by striving to be a great company to come to work for, and to continue working for.


Employer branding

Branding has always been one of the most essential elements for our business success. At Starbucks, we give our partners an opportunity to be more than an employee.

Our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is aimed to retain, engage and motivate employees in exchange for their productivity and performance.

In our term, it’s known as providing the “Starbucks Experience” which includes extrinsic (rewards and benefits, opportunities for career development) and intrinsic elements (management style, work environment and culture).

To align our EVP with our employment and corporate brand, the Starbucks Global Employer Brand Team has launched an employer brand campaign with narrative concepts, revolving around “opportunities”.

We strategically support our EVP with our Talent Attraction Channel where we plan, attract, select, hire, and provide great compensation and benefits.


Partner development

Setting expectations is a norm at Starbucks. By knowing what to expect, we empower partners to chart their own path and manage their own success. We provide learning and development programmes to support our partners in their structured career pathways.

Aligned with our Starbucks mission, we strive to engage and inspire our partners to achieve their personal best every day by engineering internal promotion opportunities.

Our partners are our customers. The most inspiring moments is to know that there’s always opportunity to grow with the company. Internal promotion directly supports our key business objective which is store growth in Malaysia.

We are also committed to both the professional and personal development of our partners. We believe our partners can develop themselves by developing others.

Starbucks facilitators and coaches are store managers selected based on their passion for training, expertise in their role and store operations, and their ability to engage learners in a positive way while ensuring learning objectives are met.

The sustainability of a company often relies on the speed of knowledge and information distribution and this can be achieved through best practices sharing.

To optimise on best practices sharing, Starbucks Malaysia is actively connected with both our local and overseas networks.

Starbucks introduces formal and informal, planned and spontaneous, tangible and intangible recognition; focusing on acknowledging our partner’s desired behavior, efforts and achievements.

With majority Gen-Y in the workforce, the recognition and award system is shifted to become more personal and situational and it has proven to be the top motivator of employees’ performance.


Coffee and culture

It is Starbucks’ main goal to cultivate a coffee culture. As such, we generously share coffee knowledge with all partners to empower everyone to become a brand ambassador.

We strive to develop our partner’s passion in coffee and to enhance their coffee expertise. The more they know about the product, the more confident and pride they gain.

For Starbucks partners who want to elevate their coffee passion, we provide the following two platforms: Coffee Master Programme and Latte Art Programme.

In Starbucks, we provide opportunities for our partners to go back to where it all started, the Coffee Farm. The Origin Experience programme is an immersive coffee-education trip that allows Starbucks partners to experience, with all their senses, coffee-growing origins from different parts of the world.

Empowerment is our culture. We are known for our coffee at Starbucks, but our people make us famous.
Starbucks partners are empowered to own their actions and are trusted to create highly satisfied customers. Our responsibility to ensure moments of connection empowers us to act.

We create inspired moments in each customer by providing the best customer service possible and doing what it takes to ensure the customer leaves highly satisfied with his/her experience.


Humanity and love

The Starbucks Malaysia CUP Fund (CUP simply means Caring United Partners) was inspired and created in Jun 22, 2007.

This programme empowers partners to help each other when experiencing significant hardship due to catastrophic circumstances, including natural disasters.

All partners are eligible to apply for assistance. This programme is funded solely by partners’ monthly contributions and fundraising activities.

Starbucks takes pride in human connection; not only with customers but internally with our partners.
We encourage partner engagement and we have an operations services team that creates the best in class operations by enhancing customer and partner satisfaction and engagement.

Starbucks organises fun, relevant and engaging activities for partners all year round which includes local and overseas leadership conferences in Asia-Pacific countries.

Facts and figures

Championing the community

Starbucks CSR
Photo (above): Starbucks partners doing their part for the community during GMoS 2014.

Starbucks not only celebrates coffee but also the human connection. We want to bring together our partners, customers and community.

Every Starbucks store is part of a community and we believe in contributing to the neighbourhood wherever we do business.

As good neighbours, we get involved with local efforts to bring people together and create positive change whenever we can through the following four initiatives:

  • Community Grant.
  • Global Month of Service (GMoS).
  • MY Community.
  • Connecting Communities Project.

Starbucks partners lead community service projects focused on the individual needs of the neighbourhoods where they live and work.

Malaysia is the highest contributor of CSR hours among the Starbucks Asia-Pacific region. In April, Starbucks Malaysia achieved 18,990 volunteer hours, completed 32 community service projects that involved 1,016 partners, 2,500 customers and business partners.

To celebrate 15 years in Malaysia, Starbucks Malaysia launched the Connecting Communities in Malaysia project, a scalable community project that contributes to small villages that focus on local farming/sourcing.


Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 6 December 2014

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Lay Hsuan was part of the content curation team for, playing the role of a content gatekeeper as well as ensuring the integrity of stories that came in. She was an occasional writer for the team and was previously the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is still happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader's Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.

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