I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Corey duBrowa, the Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Starbucks Coffee over Skype. I’d like to start of by saying that Mr. duBrowa truly exemplifies the qualities of a communications professional and is a true joy to talk to. Corporate Social Responsibility has become a hot topic for companies everywhere. It is known to increase profits, brand loyalty and customer favorability. According to Time, businesses “can no longer afford to ignore CSR.” Millennials are a generation of advocacy. They support businesses that support causes they care about. With CSR becoming an essential part of customer acquisition and profit, businesses are adding CSR programs left and right. Starbucks, like with most things, has been one step ahead of the game. Starbucks follows the mantra that there is no difference between doing well and doing good.
When asked for Starbucks’ secret to success Mr. duBrowa said, “our employees are our secret sauce.” Starbucks is a massive powerhouse corporation but they make it their mission to invest in their employees, inside and outside of work hours. Mr. duBrowa said that 70 percent of customers say they come back to Starbucks because of the employees who work there. Last week alone, Starbucks served about 90 million customers. That means about 63 million of those customers will come back just because of the service they received from employees.
Starbucks has implemented a wide array of employee opportunity initiatives in response. One program offers scholarship opportunities so that employees can get a college degree while working without worrying about paying tuition. They also have an extensive military and veteran support system. As their website states:
“At Starbucks we believe that honoring our veterans and military spouses requires more than saying ‘Thank you.’ It’s about building meaningful relationships, staying connected, and providing opportunities for veterans and their families. These men and women are making our company better.”
Starbucks has set a goal to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. So far, they have already hired 6,500. Mr. duBrowa responded to this initiative by saying, “hiring a veteran isn’t just a good deed, it’s good business.” I am continually dumbfounded by Starbucks’ incredible businesses model. Their dedication to employee growth and success shows that they dominate CSR and lead by example. So to all businesses and corporations, take note…one of the most successful companies in the world claims their secret is simply giving back.
You can find Corey duBrowa on Twitter @coreydu!
*Creating opportunities for employees is just one piece of Starbucks’ four-part CSR plan. For more information on their other initiatives check this out.