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Starbucks to increase employee mental health benefits, reduce & # 39; relief tasks & # 39;



Kevin Johnson, CEO, Starbucks

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

CHICAGO – When 12,000 Starbucks store executives from the United States and Canada arrived in Chicago this week, the coffee chain announced a series of changes that will soon affect employees.

Starbucks & # 39; Leadership Experience was the first conference for its employees since 2014 and CEO Kevin Johnson's first since taking the reins as CEO in 201

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Mental Health Initiatives

One initiative is centered on mental health. Starbucks hosted two sessions on mental health during the conference and has more resources on the topic of the work.

Its employee support program, which provides short-term counseling to all employees in the United States, will be enhanced with employee input and mental health experts. Starting in the second quarter, Starbucks store executives will begin training inspired by Mental Health First Aid, a program that teaches lay people how to help someone with a mental illness.

It will also work with organizations such as the Born This Way Foundation, Lady Gaga's charity-focused nonprofit, and Team Red White & Blue, a nonprofit focused on helping veterans, tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.

Employees in the United States and Canada will also have access to a subscription to Headspace, an app that offers guided meditation by January.

Nearly one in five American adults lives with mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

"If we take a positive step forward, you know, sometimes it can be a catalyst for others to take a positive step forward and create a movement," Johnson said in an interview.

Connecting with Customers

Starbucks also continues the plan to free up more time for emp employees to interact with customers. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the coffee chain began to move some "remedies" that baristas did during the day to finish after closing.

In Fiscal 2020, it plans to automate, reduce or eliminate an additional 17 hours of tasks each week. For example, instead of printing schedules by hand, store managers will create schedules digitally. Inventories of to-go items such as juice will also be automated, rather than being counted by an employee a few times a day.

"Those kinds of things mean they get better jobs, provide a better customer experience and just modernize what's going on in our stores," said Chief Operating Officer Roz Brewer.

Brewer said Starbucks customers' desire for immediacy and convenience partly contributed to the decision.

Employees – and customers – who want their coffee knowledge. will also be able to take online classes from Starbucks & # 39; New Global Coffee Academy, created in partnership with Arizona State University. Modules will delve into the details of the origin and purchase of Starbucks & # 39; coffee.

The Coffee Academy program builds on Starbucks & # 39; discontinued coffee master program, which gave employees who passed written and taste tests a black apron.

Fiscal 2020 outlook

On Wednesday, Starbucks announced a weaker forecast for expected revenue from 2020. In December, the chain said it expected revenue to grow by at least 13%. CFO Pat Grismer said at Goldman Sach's Global Retailing Conference that the company now expects earnings per share growth of 10%.

Grisms attributed the changes to one-off tax benefits in fiscal year 2019, as well as $ 2 billion in share repurchases in the year originally planned for fiscal 2020.

"This has nothing to do with the consumer. The consumer relationship is high, and Our momentum continues, "Johnson said.

Starbucks also used the conference location in Chicago as a chance to spearhead the upcoming opening of the world's largest Starbucks. Chicago Reserve Roastery opens November 15.


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