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Starbucks Motivational Principles

Updated on April 23, 2012

Successful organizations have their own effective ways of employees’ motivation. One of them is Starbucks. In fact, Starbucks has staff turnover rate of 120 percent lower than the average turnover and employees of Starbucks has 82 percent of satisfaction rate. This is because Starbucks treat their employees not just employees but as essential partners to their business.

Individual growth in Starbucks provides proper motivation for employees, but how? Based on the ERG (Existence, Relatedness and Growth) theory by Clayton P. Alderfer, every individual has their own growth needs such as self-esteem and self-actualizations. Growth needs includes desires to be innovative, productive and effective in performing their tasks. In other words, if an organization provides growth needs to their employees, then these employees will have proper motivation in order to work effectively. Growth needs are constantly provided by Starbucks to their employees, specifically training and education. Starbucks’ training and education includes “coffee education”, “learning to lead” and “business and communication”.

Based on McClelland’s Theory, achievementis one of the means for proper motivation and achievers want constant feedback. If employees have increasingly levels of ability, therefore they should be recognized such as providing them rewards. Rewards will make employees realized that they have achieve something since these serve them as feedback. Starbucks provides eighteen recognition programs, from Mug Award to the Howard Behar Award and bonuses, in order to promote achievements to their “partners” (employees).

“Katz and Kahn’s Motivational Patterns theory” states that rewards and instrumental satisfaction can persuade essential behaviors in a workplace. Rewards and instrumental satisfactions include; personal rewards such as pay incentives and promotions based on their job performance or merit and affiliation to provide social appreciation from own company (University of Rhode Island 2008). Aside from rewards, Starbucks provides various benefits for their “partners” as their satisfaction in order to induce partners’ productive behavior. Starbucks benefits include: health coverage such as Routine Care PPO and dental plan; life insurance; disability coverage; sick pay; time-off or “leave”; reimbursement accounts and other programs such as Tuition compensation and Employee Assistance Program ( 2008).

Another motivational principle of Starbucks is called equity. Equity means satisfaction of an individual based on how “fair” they are treated by their employers during their work (Scribd 2007). In other words an employee must feel that they are treated fairly in order to have proper motivation and satisfaction. Starbucks usually consider their employees not just employees but also “partners” to their business. In other words, Starbucks ways of treating their employees as partners are through giving enough training and education and providing generous benefits and rewards. Apart from that, Starbucks offers excellent working place for their “partners” and they usually treat their partners with respect and dignity – a part of their ethics program ( 2008).

Employees always play an important role for the success of a certain organization. In other words, the success of every organization will depend on employees’ creativity, productivity and effectiveness. Organizations must find effective ways for proper motivation of their employees. Motivation is the key for excellent performance of every employee. Different types of motivations have their own ways of encouraging necessary behavior of each “partner”.


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