Starbucks brews up work-life integration

Patrick Kwok, General Manager, Starbucks Singapore, shares how employees are benefiting from the Starbucks Experience.
By: | June 24, 2022

For many aficionados around the world, a cup of Starbucks coffee represents more than just a delectable beverage; instead, it is a cultural icon that symbolises the way people experience life.

The desire to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time, however, goes beyond just the customers Starbucks serves, as Patrick Kwok, General Manager, Starbucks Singapore, told HRM Asia, “We are in the people business serving coffee and human connection is the key to everything – we strongly believe in investing in our people.”

“This means going the extra mile to build on connections, as well as to facilitate transparent and authentic communication, which is a keystone of the culture of warmth and inclusion that we strive to create.”

To promote and highlight the importance of work-life integration, Starbucks Singapore offers CSR parental leave, family care leave, and National Service (NS) leave, so employees can take days off to contribute to social causes and spend time with their families and loved ones.

Kwok was also keen to emphasise how the love of people and the planet is the motivating force that ignites the passion of Starbucks employees to deliver the best and most innovative customer experiences.

He continued, “We believe in identifying ways in which employees can get involved in appropriate community projects that would sustain and direct these initiatives. Only then, can they truly understand and campaign for sustainability at work.”

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 “We are in the people business serving coffee and human connection is the key to everything – we strongly believe in investing in our people.” – Patrick Kwok, General Manager, Starbucks Singapore.

To promote employee wellbeing, Starbucks Singapore regularly reviews and strengthens its staff engagement policies to reflect the company’s mission, values, and culture.

For example, e-forums and partner experience surveys conducted over the past 12 months have increase communication at all levels, said Kwok, who also shared how communicating with transparency and respect is key to employee wellbeing for Starbucks.

Employees are encouraged to provide small acts of kindness to one another by writing thank you messages on “Green Apron” cards during the celebration of “Partner’s Week”, one of the many staff engagement programmes implemented by Starbucks Singapore.

Over the past year, managers have also been at the forefront of promoting the Starbucks Experience to keep employees safe and engaged, and build a conducive and positive work environment, Kwok revealed.

He also highlighted how employees are continuously provided with opportunities to learn, develop, and grow. Initiatives such as Coffee Origin farm trips allow employees to have first-hand experience of the “bean-to-cup” process in coffee origin countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

“This allows for a deeper understanding of the products partners are touting and culminates in strong bonds within the company,” Kwok explained.

To improve the mental health of employees, Starbucks Singapore has also added more mental wellness programmes to their core medical benefits and plans to train and certify managers to provide mental health support to employees and their peers.

Other measures put in place by Starbucks Singapore to improve employee retention and morale include incorporating technology to reduce manual processes and duplicated work.

“Workplace digitalisation has also allowed active engagement with our partners through virtual forums and dialogue sessions. Our recognition events and internal competitions, originally held physically, have been adapted to be held on virtual platforms such as the highly anticipated E-Latte Art throwdown,” Kwok concluded.