Starbucks: Where Opportunity Thrives

Apr 10, 2015 1 Min Read


Apart from winning the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management’s coveted Malaysia HR Awards – Gold Award in 2014, Starbucks Malaysia recently added a feather in its cap by emerging as ‘Best of the Best’ Employer in Aon Hewitt Best Employers – Malaysia 2015.

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

Distinctively Starbucks

Starbucks employees are known as “partners”, and they are the organisation’s biggest assets, making them an integral part of the company. Through the ‘lens of humanity’, Starbucks goes the extra mile in taking care of them.

Committed in delivering a total Starbucks Experience to its customers, Starbucks is firmly grounded by these four pillars:

1. Employer Branding

Branding has always been one of the most essential elements for Starbucks’s success as it gives its partners an opportunity to be more than an employee.

Starbucks Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is aimed at retaining, engaging and motivating partners in exchange for their productivity and performance.

Known as the “Starbucks Experience”, this includes extrinsic (rewards, benefits, opportunities for career development) and intrinsic elements (management style, work environment and culture).

In aligning its EVP with employment and corporate brand, Starbucks Global Employer Brand Team has launched a company-wide campaign with narrative concepts on “opportunities”.

It strategically supports its talent attraction channel where Starbucks plans, attracts, selects, hires, and provides attractive compensation and benefits.

2. Partner Development

The organisation provides learning and development programmes to support partners’ career development process.

Aligned with its mission, Starbucks strives to engage its partners to achieve their daily best by engineering internal promotion opportunities.

The most inspiring moment is to know that there is always opportunity to grow with the company. Starbucks believes that internal promotion supports its key business objective, i.e. store growth in Malaysia.

Starbucks also encourages partners to develop others. With this, Starbucks facilitators and coaches are actually selected store managers based on their passion (for training), expertise, and ability to engage others positively.

The sustainability of a company often relies on the speed of knowledge transfer, and this is achieved through sharing its best practices. Understanding this, Starbucks is well connected with its local and overseas networks.

With the majority of Gen-Y in the workforce, the recognition and award strategy is shifted to become more personal and situational. This proves to be the top motivator of partners’ performance.

3. Coffee and Culture

In cultivating coffee culture at Starbucks, the company generously share coffee knowledge with all partners to empower them to become brand ambassadors.

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

At Starbucks, opportunities are ample for partners to connect to where it all started – the Coffee Farm. The Origin Experience Programme is an immersive coffee-education trip that allows partners to experience coffee origins from different parts of the world.

Starbucks partners are also empowered to take ownership of their actions, and are highly trusted to create inspiring moments of connection with their customers, by providing the best customer service possible.

4. Humanity and Love

The Starbucks Malaysia CUPFund (CUP stands for Caring United Partners) was inspired and created in June 22, 2007.

This initiative empowers partners to help each other when experiencing significant hardships due to unforeseen circumstances, and it is funded solely by partners’ monthly contribution and fundraising activities.

Starbucks takes pride in human connection; both with customers and with partners. There is even an operations services team which facilitates best operations practices by enhancing customer and partner satisfaction.

Starbucks also organises fun and engaging activities for partners all year round. These include local and overseas leadership conferences in Asia Pacific countries.

As a responsible organisation, Starbucks believes businesses should leave a positive impact on Earth and on the communities they serve. By walking the talk, Starbucks is dedicated to focusing on two main areas: community and the environment.

Starbucks facts and figures

Starbucks facts and figures

An eye-opener coffee farm trip

Azilah from Starbucks
Photo (above): District manager, Karen Yang and myself making school bags for the school children of Khee Muknoi Kongkai School alongside with partners from Starbucks Thailand

I had the opportunity to visit a coffee farm located at a tribal village in the northern hills of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was an adventurous and educational three-day two-night trip where I learnt so much about coffee origins.

It was definitely inspiring to be able to experience touching cherries on coffee trees – it was my first time doing so and the feeling was sensational! I have read and learnt about coffee at Starbucks but to be able to see and experience this firsthand is truly amazing.

I was delighted to meet the local coffee farmers and their families as they go about their daily lives. I had the chance to witness the entire process from growing to packaging of the famous Starbucks Muan Jai® Blend.

It is remarkable how Starbucks supports local sourcing and has contributed back to the coffee farming communities that they work with.

This trip was an eye opener and my coffee knowledge has definitely expanded after gaining better insights on the field. This has further developed my passion towards coffee, and I would definitely share this knowledge with my partners, customers and family too.

Thank you Starbucks for rewarding me with this amazing experience!

Nur Azilah binti Ismail
14-year partner
Starbucks district manager

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Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 11 April 2015

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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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