Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has promised to invest additional resources to create a fairer and more transparent employee promotion process. The pledge came as the coffeehouse chain responded to allegations of racial bias before the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Starbucks said it had reached an agreement with the commission to improve its talent development processes, particularly on elevating its partners to new roles. The deal was signed despite data from Starbucks showing it did not hinder certain classes from advancing in their career, the company said.
“While we do not know what prompted the EEOC allegations and our analysis of this data did not reveal systemic discrimination in promotions, we know we can improve transparency around promotion opportunities,” Johnson said in a letter to employees.
The agreement has led Starbucks to direct greater resources towards employee career progression and ensuring all staff members have a chance to learn about advancement opportunities. The CEO’s pledge will also hold the company and team leaders accountable for supporting workers who are eager to navigate their career growth.
“We now have tools and technology to help non-retail leaders track their team’s progress towards BIPOC representation goals and to give retail partners – from baristas through managers – seamless visibility to promotion opportunities,” the CEO said.
“During your upcoming performance and development conversations with your manager, each of you will have an opportunity to learn about these new systems in place, while at the same time, having space for meaningful and supportive career conversations. The tools and technology are only as good as the behaviors of a truly inclusive culture,” he said.