How Is Starbucks Availing Equal Representation To All Women

The current legal guidelines permit women employees to be at their workplace during night shifts (beyond certain stated hours by each state) as long as transportation is provided by the organization. This program therefore offers our women partners the flexibility to opt for a shift that meets their personal needs and career aspirations.


How important it is for woemn to receive an equal representation status across industries is what is Nabamita Banerjee, Head, Human Resources, Tata Starbucks will enlighten us upon.

  1. What was the thought behind introducing the Transportation Programme for women partners? In what ways will it benefit your women employees?

Tata Starbucks remains focussed on creating and strengthening opportunities for women and fostering diversity across the organization. In line with the brand’s commitment to equality and inclusion, we announced a new commuter program last week for our women partners (employees) working in closing shifts in some stores across Mumbai and Bangalore. 

This move empowers our parnters to make career choices that support their growth. The current legal guidelines permit women employees to be at their workplace during night shifts (beyond certain stated hours by each state) as long as transportation is provided by the organization. This program therefore offers our women partners the flexibility to opt for a shift that meets their personal needs and career aspirations.

Via this program, our women partners will be provided with a chauffeur-driven car equipped with a GPS tracking system and other security measures, thus enabling a safe and convenient transportation option from stores. The launch of this program is a moment of pride for us; it is expected to open new opportunities for women partners, with more routes to come in the future.

2. Tata Starbucks achieved 100% pay equity for women and men in 2019. Can you highlight this in greater detail?

In 2018, Starbucks announced it had reached 100 percent pay equity for women and men and people of all races performing similar work in the United States. The company said that Starbucks in China and Canada, two of the largest global markets for company-owned stores, had also met the goal. Following the global mandate and through a structured and systematic approach focussed on Pay for position and performance, Tata Starbucks Pvt. Ltd. achieved the same in November 2019. We are one of the few companies who are equal pay employers and this has been a landmark accomplishment that demonstrates Starbucks commitment to gender equality globally. 

We have created a set of Pay Equity Principles that focus on areas like equal footing, transparency, and accountability. Equal footing implies paying our partners based on their skills, abilities, experience, and performance and never basing it on gender. Transparency includes publishing pay equity progress annually and using an offer standards calculator to determine starting pay range for roles. Accountability, allows setting a goal to achieve pay equity, conducting comprehensive compensation analysis, analysing compensation decisions before they are final and more.

At Starbucks, we have proved ourselves to be one of the few places for women to work where they get a chance to enhance their skill in a comfortable and positive environment. 

3. Tata Starbucks aims to achieve 40 percent gender diversity by the end of 2022, how is it planning to do it?

As workforce demographics shift and global markets emerge, the need to have a diverse workforce is more important today than ever before. We are a performance-driven organisation that encourages diversity in order to create a workplace that is truly inclusive. We have been focusing attention on achieving equal representation for women at the hiring stage itself by ensuring a balanced slate of profiles. Special women-centric sources such as women’s hotel management or educational institutions and NGOs involved in skilling youth on retail and hospitality skills and dedicated platforms to attract second career women, are some of the key channels that are allowing Tata Starbucks access to a reliable talent pool. Over the past years, we are happy to to have grown women participation in our partner base from 16% in FY14 to around 34% currently.

Tata Starbucks offers a supportive environment through various partner-friendly policies, especially around significant life events such as marriage and childbirth. Some of these include:

  • A five-day week for all store partners; we’re the first QSR company to have implemented this
  • Flexibility in shift hours and days, with options of both full time & flexible part time work models, also offering an opportunity to convert between both.  
  • Clearly defined shift timings for women and safe travel arrangements for women partners, including part-time partners
  • Distinguished leave policy, with extended long leave policy for life events such as adoption, bereavement, paternity, maternity breaks and sabbaticals.
  • Lactation rooms for women returning from a maternity break, as necessary.
  • Childcare assistance with tie-ups with childcare centres and reimbursement of day care expenses, for both male and female corporate employees.
  • Flexibility to work from home/ office/ stores to all employees
  • Brew of Balance which creates opportunities for women returning to the workforce after a career break

We have also established an internal Women’s Inclusion Network @ Starbucks platform to further advance gender diversity and provide support to women in India to help them further excel in their careers, and offer women-specific leadership and mentorship programmes.

We remain committed to being a positive influence in contributing to the success of our women partners and making meaningful changes that enrich lives. Tata Starbucks has been recognized as one of the Top 100 India's Best Workplaces™ for Women 2021 by the Great Place to Work® Institute, for the third consecutive year and the top 10 Best Places to work in Retail, 2021. It is also recognised as one of the 100 Best Companies for Women in India 2021 by Working Mother and Avtar for six years in a row. Most recently, we have been rewarded the ‘Exemplar of Inclusion’ award in the third edition of Working Mother & Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI) for our continued pursuit of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

4. How successful has been the All Women Stores in India? How many stores are currently open and what is the outlook on them?

In August 2020, we announced two stores in India operated entirely by women and I’m happy to share that today this number has grown to eleven such stores across Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. Our ninth all-women store last month at Jio World Drive in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), is special as it is led by female partners who are Coffee Masters and is the brand’s first store in India to have a four-tap nitro capability.

In a market that has stigma attached to a barista role, and concerns around women representation in workforce, our All Women stores now act as a medium to challenge both. This initiative empowers female partners and instils pride as they deliver the Starbucks experience in their Green aprons. The stores further aim to unlock the potential to hire more women, and challenge stereotypes around women’s capabilities in leading café and restaurants. Some proceeds from these all women stores are also dedicated to educating girls in rural and underserved communities.

This initiative by Tata Starbucks is yet another significant step toward creating meaningful opportunities for women in leadership within the company and an important part of our efforts to achieving 40 percent gender diversity by the end of 2022. 

5. Amongst many initiatives at Starbucks, what is Starbucks Brew of Balance initiative all about?

We have launched a Special Referral Scheme called ‘Brew of Balance’ — a return to work programme which provides flexible employment opportunities for women who may have never worked before or for those who had to take a career break.

This program offers positively differentiated referral bonused to our talent who refer women returning to careers, to be a part of our organisation. We also have dedicated platforms to attract second career women to apply to job opportunities in our organisation.    

We are also a pioneer in introducing women focussed programs including flexible employment options, a 5-day work schedule, access to Women Impact Network, extended maternity, and sabbatical leave, as well as mentoring and accelerated development programs for key talent.

6. According to you, how the future of work and workplace looks like, when it comes to customer-serving business modules?

With shifting paradigms in the new normal, the future of workplace will move towards renewed focus on safety and hygiene. Employee wellbeing will be the core focus going forward. Transparency and support to employees for crisis preparedness will be essential. Companies should be proactive in creating greater transparency in communications and new systems. Organisations will also need to place greater emphasis on nurturing and developing their people, creating interesting and purposeful work, and building an environment with career flexibility and tools that enable employees to collaborate and exchange ideas transparently. 

Lastly, the focus on digital will continue and the challenge will be to offer that same experience to customers virtually. For us at Starbucks, we have been a neighbourhood gathering place, a part of the daily routine. We have always aspired to be the quintessential “third place,” giving people another place to settle in apart from home and work. With the emergence of technology in the last couple of years we have explored and made our mark in the “fourth place” — a.k.a. the digital world. Therefore, the experience created by Starbucks partners (employees) in our stores is being extended and enhanced by the digital relationships we have with our customers.

7. How did COVID-19 impact partners at Tata Starbucks. Did you introduce any special programs for their upliftment?

As we navigated this global crisis, we never lost sight of the wellbeing of our partners, who are the heartbeat of this company. Last year, the company announced a Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Program as part of its $10 million (USD) commitment to support partners (employees) around the world impacted by COVID-19. We were proud to be a part of this first-of-its-kind global funding initiative that to support our partners in India. 

Other financial assistance on salary advances, 2 paycycles a month, grants for emergencies were extended.

Further, any partner diagnosed with COVID-19 was be granted paid leave until they recovered fully and were medically cleared to return to work. We also extended additional medical and mental health assistance to partners and their families.

Tata Starbucks remained committed to caring for the health and well-being of our partners (employees) and customers, playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and showing up in a positive and responsible way to serve our communities.

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it partnered with healthcare providers to support our partners by providing equitable access to vaccinations and covering associated costs. The organisation also offered time off for partners post vaccination, as needed.

COVID-19 also gave us as a chance to re-align and re-assess priorities and the pandemic didn’t affect our learning journey. During the lockdowns, we conducted extensive training sessions especially for our store partners (employees) through a blend of virtual classroom training and self-paced learning. The Starbucks Global Academy, a key learning platform is extended to families of our partners as well as our vendor partners. 

Flexibility is at the core of all our offerings, and all corporate talent have had the flexibility to work in a connected workplace environment with options of work from home/ store/ office space, ensuring required technology, collaboration tools and ergonomic workspace support at all places. Programs like ‘time to reconnect’ allowed partners across stores and corporate to take some time off to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones, in an effort to heal from the difficult COVID times. 

8. In what ways has Tata Starbucks given back to the community? Please highlight any recent initiatives.

Apart from female partners, Tata Starbucks also believes in working towards gender diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities, and with a focus to support this at a grass root level, one of the key priorities is addressing the issue of girl child education. Tata Starbucks has collaborated with non-profit organizations, Educate Girls, to improve girls’ education in rural and underprivileged areas and VIDYA India, to provide volunteering and educational support to girls and young women from underserved communities in urban cities. As part of Tata Starbucks ongoing commitment to creating equal opportunities, the program will provide girls and young women with the education, financial assistance and community support they need to develop their skills and find careers.

We believe that it is important for organizations to not only bring girls back to school, but also to help in providing better quality of education. Educating a generation can definitely change the next one. In this partnership with Educate Girls, each of Tata Starbucks’ existing stores and the ones that will open in future, would be supporting a girl’s education, and shall be responsible to sustain her education and development. We plan to take significant steps to improve the developmental life cycle of a girl and impact the lives of more than 4000 girls and women by the end of the next fiscal year. 

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