Starbucks China announces new partner benefits programme

In China, Starbucks has unveiled a new partner investment programme for its partners (employees) known as Flex Star Benefits.

From 1 January 2020, partners who have been part of the Starbucks China Family for more than two years will be given credits they can use to select from a wide array of benefits. Each benefit has been thoughtfully designed to meet the needs and aspirations of different partners in the increasingly diverse Starbucks China Family.

“Starbucks’ success in China is down to the passion and dedication our partners bring to work every day – in every cup of coffee they brew, and every customer connection they make,” said Belinda Wong, chairman and chief executive officer, Starbucks China. “Since entering China 20 years ago, Starbucks has always strived to be a different kind of company. We want to share our success with all partners, in a timely and thoughtful manner that recognises their individual needs – because each of our 55,000 partners is special.”

With an estimated 18,500 partners eligible for the scheme, and newly eligible partners to be enrolled every 6 months thereafter, Flex Star Benefits constitutes a significant investment for Starbucks China. Starbucks’ pioneering partner investments are already renowned in China’s retail industry, with the company recently named among China Best Employers for the fifth time by international human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt.

Over the years, Starbucks has introduced innovative benefits such as comprehensive insurance for the spouses and children of all partners, and critical illness insurance for parents; housing subsidies for partners who work away from their hometowns, while partners may also apply to return to work in newly-opened Starbucks stores in their hometowns under the Coming Home program. In addition, Starbucks China also offers partners opportunities to expand their horizons though a talent exchange program, which has helped over 100 partners complete short-term work experience programs in other cities across China and overseas. Finally, Starbucks is renowned for its global Bean Stock initiative, which granted US$21 million worth of Starbucks shares to partners across China last year.

Flex Star Benefits are part of Starbucks’ ongoing endeavor to build a culture of family that takes care of its partners and their loved ones. More than just providing greater benefits, it also offers unprecedented flexibility. Partners are empowered to make individual choices based on what they need, from a variety of options designed to help partners enrich themselves, take better care of their loved ones, and make a positive difference to their communities.

Enriching Oneself

To support partners’ physical and mental well-being, Starbucks encourages them to pursue their passions. Partners may use their credits to learn a new skill, or take up a hobby that relaxes the mind and body amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From cooking or painting classes, to hip hop dance lessons or even extreme sports, there is no limit to what the credits be used for. Partners may also apply for a 5- or 10-day ‘coffee break’ to recharge their batteries.

Protecting partners’ health is another area the new program covers. Partners may use credits for vaccinations that protect against life-threatening diseases or upgrade their current benefits such as annual health checkups.

Caring for Loved Ones

Flex Star Benefits supports partners in taking care of those who matter most to them. For partners working away from their hometowns, the program allows up to three additional days of paid leave so that they can spend more time with their families on their home visits. They also have the option to use their credits for discounted travel tickets, should they need to return home in the event of a family emergency.

In addition, Flex Star Benefits expands Starbucks’ existing schemes to cover ‘life partners’ beyond the immediate family – regardless of status or gender. Also included are ‘pawternal care’ benefits for pets. Under the new program, pet owning partners may enroll their pets into a pet insurance scheme or claim reimbursement for their pets’ medical expenses. Partners who adopt pets will be granted an additional day of leave.

Doing Good for Others

In addition to caring for oneself and loved ones, Starbucks also encourages partners to contribute to local communities. Partners can earn additional credits by participating in social impact activities. They can also do good by donating their credits to the Starbucks China Cup Fund, to help fellow partners in urgent need of financial assistance.

Partners can access Flex Star Benefits through the Starbucks China Green Apron partner mobile app, which provides a platform for Starbucks to continuously evolve and improve the program. New benefits will be explored based on partner feedback, while the company will continue to make timely investments to give back to its partners, as it strives to create the best possible workplace and deliver the best partner experience.

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