Starbucks Creates Employee Toolkit & Workshops To Combat Bias

Starbucks Creates Employee Toolkit & Workshops To Combat Bias
Food & Beverage

From new in-store technologies to a redesigned employee curriculum, the coffee company is taking its customer feedback seriously in its effort to fight racial biases and provide fair treatment

Matt Vitone
  • 25 may 2018

“It won’t be perfect, but we’re all in this together,” reads a narrator at the end of a new training video released by Starbucks ahead of its upcoming diversity training day on May 29. The company, in response to the arrest of two black men at one of its Philadelphia stores last month, will shut down 8,200 U.S. locations next Tuesday so that some 175,000 employees can have conversations and learning sessions on race, bias and diversity.

In an effort to address concerns from customers in the wake of last month’s widely-publicized incident, which saw Philadelphia residents Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson placed under arrest after a white store manager called the police accusing them of trespassing for not purchasing anything, the company’s new training is rooted in one of the company’s core values: that each store serve as a “third space” between home and the office where people can feel comfortable to come in and work, study or simply relax and meet friends.

Starbucks says it worked with advisers and experts to come up with a collaborative and engaging experience for store partners to learn together in a way that is right for the values and scale of the company. This includes input from curriculum advisers Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Heather McGhee, president of Demos, among many other researchers, social scientists and Starbucks’ own franchise partners.

The result is a toolkit which will allow for partners to learn together in small, self-guided groups, including handouts during which employees are encouraged to share their own personal experiences with bias, and tough decisions they’ve had to make on the job. The company also said new technologies will be employed into its stores to further achieve these aims, although they didn’t elaborate on the details. All of this, Starbucks says, is in an effort to improve the consumer experience across all of its stores and to ensure incidents like the one in Philadelphia never happen again.

This first training will focus on understanding racial bias and the history of public accommodations in the United States, including the screening of an original film by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a producer, director and writer of documentary films and videos examining African American history and experiences. The company also made clear that May 29 will only be the start of a long-term effort to tackle systematic bias in its stores, and has said it will share its training materials with the public and other businesses so that they can implement the curriculum within their own organizations.

“May 29 isn’t a solution, it’s a first step,” said Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. Retail, Rossann Williams, in a note to all U.S. partners. “By educating ourselves on understanding bias and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people we encounter and serve, we renew our commitment to making the third place welcoming and safe for everyone.”

Starbucks

“It won’t be perfect, but we’re all in this together,” reads a narrator at the end of a new training video released by Starbucks ahead of its upcoming diversity training day on May 29. The company, in response to the arrest of two black men at one of its Philadelphia stores last month, will shut down 8,200 U.S. locations next Tuesday so that some 175,000 employees can have conversations and learning sessions on race, bias and diversity.

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+customer service
+Education
+Education
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+IoT
+Multi-cultural
+retail
+shopping experience
+technology
+USA
+work

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