Starbucks said Wednesday it is launching a mentoring program, hiring outreach staff for its cafes and combining team diversity with executive compensation as part of its broader plan to increase its commitment to inclusion and become a more diverse company.
By 2025, employees who identify as black, indigenous or colored should make up at least 30% of the workforce at all levels of the company, from managers to senior executives. The company will set annual targets based on retention rates.
"We hope we can get other companies to follow or join our lead," said Roz Brewer, chief operating officer.
Protests against racial inequality and police brutality this summer, sparked by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, prompted Corporate America to review the shortcomings investigated by consumers and activists. But Starbucks' reckoning with racial prejudice started earlier.
More than two years ago, the company closed all of its own cafes in the US for a day of training to eradicate racial prejudice.
A month earlier, at a location in Philadelphia, police arrested two black men waiting for a business meeting to begin before ordering anything. One of the men, Rashon Nelson, said he asked to use the restroom immediately after entering Starbucks. But he said he was told it was only for paying customers. A video of the incident went viral on social media, leading to boycotts and an internal reassessment of company policies.
Following the incident and backlash, Starbucks also commissioned an independent civil rights assessment. Last year, the company hired Nzinga Shaw as its first global chief inclusion and diversity officer.
Among the changes coming soon to Starbucks are a mentoring program that aims to connect employees who are black, native, or colored with executives. In 2019, only 15% of Starbucks executives were colored people. Around 46% of the total workforce are minorities.
"I never think we were meant to be this way before," Brewer said.
Starbucks also plans to partner with professional organizations that focus on developing minority leaders.
In addition, the inclusiveness and diversity of the teams are now tied to executive compensation. The company plans to establish an executive board to integrate inclusion and diversity across the company and will join the Board Diversity Action Alliance, which includes companies like Macy & # 39; s and Dow.
All of these changes are designed to promote diversity in the Starbucks workforce. Aside from having 30% of company employees at all levels of color, the company aims to have them fill at least 40% of retail and manufacturing jobs at all levels by 2025. Around 47% of the total workforce identify as a minority; the company fails to achieve the goal of moving the hierarchy to branch managers or regional directors.
Starbucks said it will publicly share data that reflects the diversity of its workforce. Brewer announced that it would publish EEO-1 reports, a federally mandated survey of the composition of a company's workforce, for three years.
"We want to be transparent and deliberate about the work we need to do to improve some of those numbers," Brewer said.
Starbucks plans to hire outreach workers in its cafes. In 2018, as a result of the Philadelphia arrests, the company changed its policy to allow everyone to sit in its cafes. But politics has also put more pressure on baristas who may not be able to deal with people without housing or substance abuse. The new employees are designed to reduce the intervention of law enforcement agencies.
"This type of contact also ensures that Starbucks locations are welcome places for everyone," CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a letter to employees.
The Starbucks Foundation also donates $ 1.5 million in neighborhood grants and $ 5 million to an initiative to support nonprofits that serve minority youth.