Starbucks pilot program allows employees to split time between work, charity
- Starbucks announced its partnership with Points of Light, a volunteer organization, and the launching of Starbucks Service Fellows, a community service program that supports opportunities for employees to volunteer in local nonprofit agencies while still getting paid.
- The partnership will begin this month as a six-month pilot program, involving 36 Starbucks stories in 13 cities nationwide. As Starbucks Service Fellows, select employees will work 20 hours a week in the stores and 20 hours a week at a Points of Light affiliate in their communities, for a total of 17,000 hours of service. By working 20 hours a week for Starbucks, the fellows are still eligible for the company's benefits, including healthcare coverage, company stock and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.
- Starbucks also announced that The Starbucks Foundation will provide $1.3 million in Opportunity for All grants to organizations that serve youth, veterans and military families, and refugees.
Organizations that support causes or are involved in philanthropy generally earn high ratings from employees. Research shows that employees will "go above and beyond" their normal level of responsibilities when their employer has a strong company culture or shares their values. Organizations that are seen as good corporate citizens with an interest in the well-being of people and their communities are well positioned to engage and retain employees and attract the best talent — key business objectives in this current environment.
Partnering with organizations, usually nonprofits, that specialize in volunteerism and serving communities can pay off for employers and workers who want to get involved in supporting causes. Corporate social responsibility is evolving into a more active, employee-centered effort, experts previously told HR Dive, partly driven by the high social interest of younger workers. And it's good for employers, too. According to the Workforce Purpose Index, purpose-oriented employees stay with their companies 20% longer, and are 50% more likely to advance to leadership positions.
By letting employees split their time between work and volunteering and still retain their benefits, companies like Starbucks are sending a message that they value workers and want to enhance their experience. Health coverage, for example, is employees' most important benefit; therefore, allowing them to keep it can go a long way in engaging and retaining them.