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Kennedy notebook: How Starbucks does it

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The SmartBrief Jobs team is in Las Vegas this week at Kennedy Information’s Recruiting Conference and Expo. This post is by Lee Vanderwerff.

This year’s group at the conference is small but engaged; we’re hearing lots of new ideas and good conversations among recruiters, sourcers, and HR vendors.

I attended a session on employment branding strategy with Kat Drum, Starbucks’ global employment brand program manager. She has the huge and weighty job of communicating to prospective and current employees who Starbucks is and why they’re a company you’d like to work for.

Starbucks’ employment branding starts with, as Kat says, “the people in the green aprons” — the baristas. They are the face of Starbucks to consumers.

To attract and retain more of those “green aprons,” in 2006, Kat and her team created a global employment value proposition (EVP). Their EVP has five tenets based on an employee’s ability to express herself at work, embrace the human connection, enable great customer service, develop their own career, and work for a growing and engaging global company.

Starbucks has marketed its EVP through a number of outlets, from Facebook to YouTube to an improved career center and correlated applicant tracking system.  One of the most interesting new tools the company is employing is the Virtual Job Tryout, in which candidates “test-drive” the day-to-day work that they’d do if they landed a role at Starbucks. The Virtual Job Tryout will soon be a required part of the hiring process, and it gives the company an initial idea of whether a candidate is right for the job, as well as giving the candidate a quick idea of whether they’d enjoy the variety of tasks that they’d be doing.

Image credit, rudolf_schuba