The pandemic has pulled back the curtain on many inequities in the employment industry, such as a lack of access to physical and mental health care, the burden of student debt, and affordable childcare.
Seattle based Starbucks, with 350,000 employees worldwide, once again is taking the lead with offering benefits to employees that increase greater opportunity, not just solve an immediate problem.
This makes Starbucks a desirable company to work for, but more importantly sets an example for others to follow – and the corporate world is taking notes.
We have first hand experience with Starbucks first adopter approach. Our founder, Emily Dills, was invited several years ago to Starbucks HQ to speak with their employees about creative solving for quality and economical childcare. Today we count Starbucks employees as some of our biggest daily consumers.
Business Insider recently published an article about Starbucks taking creative leadership around employee benefits, noting that they are currently offering two hours of pay for anyone who chooses to get the Covid-19 vaccine. This addresses the needs of employees who find financial and scheduling constraints as a barrier to getting vaccinated.
Starbucks VP of Global Benefits Ron Crawford is the architect of the company’s college achievement and debt repayment plan and he explains how benefits clearly impact the bottom line. Although some interviewed for the article claim that they’d prefer higher wages to benefits they may not use, the overall message seems to be that benefits compliment wages, and no one size fits all when considering the diversity of a workforce.
Therefore, a menu of options addressing the needs of individual employees primarily by removing barriers are what seems to be working company wide. As Crawford explains, “benefits are ultimately about solutions.”
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