Starbucks Training Policies

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Accommodating fast growth also meant putting in systems to recruit, hire, and train baristas and store managers. Starbucks' vice president for human resources used some simple guidelines in screening candidates for new positions: "We want passionate people who love coffee . . . We're looking for a diverse workforce, which reflects our community. We want people who enjoy what they're doing and for whom work is an extension of themselves."16 Some 80 percent of Starbucks employees were white, 85 percent had some education beyond high school, and the average age was 26. Every partner/barista hired for a retail job in a Starbucks store received at least 24 hours training in the first two to four weeks. The training included classes on coffee history, drink preparation, coffee knowledge (four hours), customer service (four hours), and retail skills, plus a four-hour workshop called "Brewing the Perfect Cup." Baristas were trained in using the cash register, weighing beans, opening the bag properly, capturing the beans without spilling them on the floor, holding the bag in a way that keeps air from being trapped inside, and affixing labels on the package exactly one-half inch over the Starbucks logo. Beverage preparation occupied even more training time, involving such activities as grinding the beans, steaming milk, learning to pull perfect (18- to 23-second) shots of espresso, memorizing the recipes of all the different drinks, practicing making the different drinks, and learning how to make drinks to customer specifications. There were sessions on how to clean the milk wand on the espresso machine, explain the Italian drink names to customers, sell an $875 home espresso machine, make eye contact with customers, and take personal responsibility for the cleanliness of the coffee bins. Everyone was drilled in the Star Skills, three guidelines for on-the-job interpersonal relations: (1) maintain and enhance self-esteem, (2) listen and acknowledge, and (3) ask for help....
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