Scan through any list of top-ranking companies to work for in the world, and you’ll see one main commonality: companies that go above and beyond to provide a great employee experience.
This could range from flexible working arrangements and a safe and nurturing environment for workers to flourish in, to training opportunities to keep up with the latest industry trends.
Starbucks Singapore offers the above, and more.
Whether you’re a fresh graduate looking to gain some operations experience in the fast-paced F&B industry, or a mid-career employee thinking about a corporate job change, the organisation offers the same promise: the opportunity to be something more than an employee, to grow as a person and to connect to something bigger. Here’s why.
#1 It is an innovative leader in the industry
Starbucks is a significant part of the daily coffee ritual for almost 300,000 customers every week in Singapore. Thanks to constant F&B and technological innovations, the company has become a champion for third-wave coffee: a movement to serve high-quality coffee with an increased focus on consumer education and service.
Constantly on the forefront of F&B trends, it serves delicious Nitro Brew drinks, an array of items beyond coffee like its extensive Teavana range and breakfast sets, and even plant-based and meatless items – including its popular food items featuring plant-based meat by Impossible Foods.
It prides itself on customisability too. Customers can choose from various plant-based milk options (like coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk and almond milk) – and as of January this year, they can even adjust the sweetness levels while retaining the full Caramel, Hazelnut or Vanilla flavour in their favourite drinks.
Partnerships with local brands to create localised treats – such as past collaborations with dessert-makers Udders and Awfully Chocolate and highly Instagrammable Starbucks merchandise (remember the immensely popular Alice+Olivia series and Stojo collapsible cups?) – also keep consumers coming back for more.
These days, customers place their orders more conveniently and safely without waiting in line, via the contactless Mobile Order & Pay experience.
Starbucks also invests heavily in digital transformations such as building human resource, learning and inventory management systems to make work more efficient, intelligent, and fun for all employees.
#2 It prioritises connection, community and the human touch
As a popular hangout spot in local neighbourhoods, Starbucks is committed to giving back to the communities it serves.
It has enjoyed fruitful and long-term collaborations with local partners Singapore Kindness Movement, Autism Resource Centre (ARC) and The Salvation Army to raise awareness and make donations for important causes, as well as integrated community-centric values into the core of its business.
For instance, Starbucks has not only partnered ARC in the past to showcase merchandise designed by people with autism, but also actively trains and hires autistic employees. With mental health issues gaining more awareness in the past few years, Starbucks also supports MINDSET Care and the local mental health community that it aids.
Every year, employees participate in community service via Starbucks’ #extrashotofgood initiative, which helps to further strengthen their sense of belonging to the company. Moreover, they are entitled to take one paid day of Corporate Social Responsibility leave to give back to society in ways they see fit.
#3 It offers an award-winning, inclusive and diverse culture
Starbucks strives to create a culture that values and respects diversity and inclusion.
Globally known to be an Equal Opportunity employer – all qualified job applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law – it ranks among the top employers in Singapore.
It made it onto The Straits Times Best Employer Awards 2021 list, a comprehensive research project comprising the opinions of thousands of employees and scores for hundreds of companies. Starbucks took second place in the Restaurant category, and ranked 22nd overall among other global brands including Google, Apple and Facebook.
#4 It values its close-knit relationships with employees – also known as partners
All baristas and staff are referred to as partners, not employees. Open and direct communication is highly valued, with forums between senior management and partners held at least twice a year to encourage honest, open conversations.
An annual partner insights survey is conducted to ensure strong working relations between partners and their team, managers and the company, and high satisfaction with their job, pay and benefits. Since the inaugural survey launched in 2017 until 2020, more than 85 per cent of partners have endorsed Starbucks as a workplace they would recommend to their friends.
#5 It grooms partners to become coffee masters
Have you ever wondered why some Starbucks partners wear green aprons, while others wear black ones? That’s because the ones in black aprons are Coffee Masters!
Starbucks’ signature Coffee Master certification programme helps partners level up to become certified Coffee Masters, who enjoy opportunities to compete in local and international coffee championships and win awards.
During the certification process, they learn in-depth about the world of coffee: from its history to agriculture and farming; to ethical sourcing and sustainability; to the art and science of roasting; and the full detailed bean-to-cup story of Starbucks coffee.
The company’s specialised knowledge on coffee exploration is also shared with interested customers at the various Starbucks Reserve™ Experience Bars located across Singapore.
#6 It offers numerous official (and unofficial) training opportunities
Starbucks offers in-depth foundational training to partners at all job levels. The training can run up to 50 hours per partner and employs a mix of digital, practical, and on-the-job training approaches to match all learning styles.
Yearly, partners are actively encouraged to take up courses to upskill themselves or embark on on-the-job learning to discover new F&B trends, strengthen customer service experience, and improve operational workflows in the store.
Since 2016, Starbucks has done away with formal annual appraisals and traditional performance ratings. Instead, focus is put on self-reflections while driving authentic, meaningful quarterly performance conversations between partner and manager.
#7 It strives for long-term career progression for partners
Rather than rely on a revolving door of part-time partners, Starbucks regularly offers development opportunities to help full and part-timers enjoy career progression and be part of their team for the long haul. It boasts many partners who started their journey as part-timers and are now store managers or district managers, and beyond.
Retail and corporate internship positions are offered internally to partners who are pursuing their studies in tertiary institutions. Starbucks offers yearly education sponsorship opportunities to high-potential full and part-timers, regardless of job positions to upgrade and develop for the next level.
Store managers are also encouraged to undertake functional corporate roles such as quality assurance or learning and development, while partners in coffee leadership roles can hone their public speaking and influencing skills by running coffee seminars for customers.
#8 It encourages international learning via coffee origin trips
The opportunity to pick up new skills isn’t limited to Singapore. Pre-pandemic, coffee origin trips to meet local farmers and learn about ethical sourcing processes were common – locations included Rwanda, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
Partners with long tenures can opt for six-month-long sabbaticals dubbed “Coffee Breaks'' to explore the world, pick up new skills and/or take up new courses, while partners on the Talent Exchange Programme can be transferred to other Starbucks markets to deep-dive into the local consumer culture and pick up learning points and best practices from other regions.
#9 It provides beautiful and meaningful work environments
A career here means you don’t work in a typical office: for instance, you could be clocking in at its Paya Lebar outlet featuring an industrial-chic design shopfront, or at its rainforest resort-themed River Safari outlet.
And of course, who could forget its iconic flagship store at Jewel Changi Airport – which pays tribute to the full coffee journey: from the rolling hills of coffee fields, to the actual shape of the coffee bean. Starbucks draws design inspiration from the surrounding environment of its stores to reflect the unique character of the neighborhoods they serve.
In some of these stores, partners even double up as artists. At the Tekka Place store, for instance, artwork by Starbucks Regional Barista Champion, Sastitharan Subramaniam, is proudly displayed. And at Liat Towers, you can admire an art wall containing almost 100 cup art designs created by Starbucks Singapore partners.
#10 It cares about the future of the planet
At the corporate level, Starbucks prioritises sustainability and ethical sourcing through internal and external initiatives, and partnerships with organisations such as the National Environment Agency.
Starbucks uses recycled and compostable materials for its packaging – this includes its napkins, to-go cups, straws, stirrers, and disposable cutlery which is only given to customers upon request.
Ninety-nine per cent of Starbucks coffee is ethically sourced, with the last one per cent representing the company’s ongoing pursuit of improvement in scaling its sustainable coffee model. It is the largest coffee retailer to achieve this milestone.
More importantly, Starbucks trains partners to understand and align with its brand ethos, so that they can actively apply and champion the company’s sustainability initiatives such as providing discounted drinks for customers who bring their own reusable tumblers.
To find out more about career opportunities at Starbucks Singapore, click here.