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Starbucks re-ups commitment to military talent



Dive Brief:

  • Starbucks just announced a renewed commitment to military talent. The July 31 announcement touched on three pillars of the veteran worker and military spouse experience: relocation flexibility, mental health support and learning and development.
  • In particular, the coffee company launched “a new centralized service” to help with transfers for talent going through a relocation; the announcement noted that military families move approximately every 2.5 years on average. Likewise, Starbucks is building out its partnership with Lyra Health to “ensure veteran partners and their families have personalized mental health support.”
  • Previously, the coffee company made public commitments to hiring more veteran and refugee talent in 2017. The next year, Starbucks joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Hiring Our Heroes” campaign, pledging to hire 100,000 military spouses by the end of 2021.

Dive Insight:

This year has been a mixed bag of beans for Starbucks’ employer branding. The company’s reputation as an LGBTQ+ inclusive employer (notably, an early adopter of gender-affirming healthcare benefits) and a leader in employer-funded education has arguably been overshadowed by its battles with nationwide unionization efforts.

Just last month, baristas held a strike to protest the removal of LGBTQ pride decor, as well as union-busting and an alleged lack of good-faith negotiation by the employer.

The statement notes that this military family and veteran worker inclusion is the result of ongoing conversations with Starbucks Armed Forces Network, an employee resource group. In the announcement, CEO Laxman Narasimhan said, “This feedback from our partners within our own military community has been invaluable to helping us offer innovative, industry-leading support where they need it most.”

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