No company is incident-proof, but they can control their responses when inclusion issues arise. In response to the inclusion issues that occured at a store in Philadelphia, Starbucks took quick and decisive action. CEO Kevin Johnson closed all Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices for a company wide racial-bias education.
Johnson and his leadership team responded to an embarrassing situation. As a result, they created an opportunity to demonstrate their brand value and their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Bringing in the Experts
Calling on national experts from the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP, the U.S. Attorney General’s office, and the Anti-Defamation League, Starbucks built a unconscious bias training. This training focused on helping all employees understand and confront inclusion issues and racial bias.
While WeSpire applauds Starbucks’ swift action, we know “one and done” is not enough. In fact, a recent study found, five years after holding mandatory diversity training, companies saw no improvement in diversity within leadership. And most employees tend to develop feelings of resentment towards mandatory trainings.
“One and Done” is Not Enough
Malia Lazu of The Urban Labs believes that training alone is not enough. She says: “unconscious bias training is a great start to shifting culture, but needs to be followed up with resources towards effective diversity training, hiring, retention, and positive employee engagement.”
WeSpire knows that creating inclusive culture in the workplace is hard. And it requires ongoing conversations and reinforcement of inclusive behaviors. Some programs that our clients have used include “Understanding Implicit Bias Campaign” and the “Implicit Bias Scavenger Hunt Campaign.” These programs help employees to prepare for authentic conversations around personal biases.
WeSpire look forward to watching how Starbucks will transform the way they educate their employees in the long-term. Deconstructing unconscious bias is an investment in their employees, customers, and neighborhood communities.