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Starbucks HR Issues and Strategies Essay

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Updated: May 4th, 2022

What are some of the HRM issues inherent in Howard Schultz’s concerns?

The article by Helm focuses on the image of Starbucks company and Howard Schultz’s “storytelling,” marketing skills, but a number of human resource management (HRM) issues are also mentioned as significant to Howard Schultz’s concerns. In general, they include the classical HRM challenges (talent attraction and management) together with those of an international company (the diversity management) (Kaufman 2; Festing et al. 164-6).

The example of searching for the talent and its recruitment is that of Cecelia de Figueres. The “flat” price that was paid to her is not specified, but it is obvious that the company values talent and is willing to pay for it. It is the talented workers who develop unique products, ensure the best marketing strategies, and design effective advertising campaigns, all of which has been described in the article as significant parts of Starbucks’ success. HR is the backbone of any company, and the actions of Starbucks’ senior management team (Coffee Master training implementation; the recruitment and supervision of employees) appear to indicate that they realize it.

Apart from that, HR needs to be developed, for example, through training (Kaufman 2). In the case discussed by Helm, the training of the employees’ skills coincided with the development of organizational culture. The culture of the company is the primary concern of Schultz, which explains why workers were trained to treat coffee like wine or another elite beverage. At the same time, the Coffee Master Program indicates the intent of the company to train and develop its workforce to enable (empower) it to deliver better services

Finally, for an international company, the diversity of its HR poses another challenge, especially given the fact that Schultz wants to create a unique Starbucks culture and does not dwell on attempting to adapt it to the needs and expectations of the diverse workforce (or clientele). Still, the fact that the culture appears to be inclusive may indicate that this challenge of HR is also being managed. In other words, the HR issues and challenges that are of importance for Schultz’s concerns appear to be taken into account and addressed.

How would an effective strategic HRM function contribute to keeping Starbucks on track?

The strategic HRM function definitions are still rather vague, but it can be described as the one aimed at the development of HR policies that can help (or empower) the employees of the company to contribute to the company’s strategic development and the achievement of its strategic goals (Ghalamkari et al. 119). In other words, HR needs to be involved in the company’s strategic development and promote it, and HRM must facilitate this process. The development of this role is regarded as crucial by modern HR researchers (Glaister 213; Sheehan et al. 356).

The key concerns of Schultz deal not with HR but with the brand image and its “commoditization”, but, naturally, the problem does affect HR, and the solution (“returning to the roots”) depends on HRM in many ways (Helm 56-58). In this respect, the Coffee Master program should be mentioned once again. It is not just a skills development program; it is aimed at fostering the company’s culture. As rightfully pointed out by Kaufman, a culture shift is impossible without the involvement of employees: they need training concerning the company’s values, mission, and purpose (4-6).

The strategy of Starbucks hinges on the development of this culture, and proper HR policies and activities can contribute to the achievement of this company’s strategic goal. Other aims (expansion, profits increase) naturally depend on HR’s recruitment, training, motivation, retaining, and all of these aspects can be developed with the help of proper strategic HRM (Kaufman 2). By contributing to the goals’ achievement, HRM will serve to keep Starbucks on track.

Works Cited

Festing, Marion, Pawan S. Budhwar, Wayne Cascio, Peter J. Dowling, and Hugh Scullion. “Current Issues in International HRM: Alternative Forms of Assignments, Careers and Talent Management in a Global Context.” Zeitschrift für Personalforschung 27.3 (2013): 161-6. ProQuest.

Ghalamkari, Bahare, Negar Mahmoodzadeh, Nouredin Barati, Aliyu Isah-Chikaji, Ahmed Umar Alkali, and Roya Anvari. “The Role of HR Managers: A Conceptual Framework.”Asian Social Science 11.9 (2015): 118-24. ProQuest.

Glaister, Alison J. “HR Outsourcing: The Impact On HR Role, Competency Development And Relationships”. Human Resource Management Journal 24.2 (2013): 211-226. Wiley-Blackwell. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

Helm, Burt. “Saving Starbucks’ Soul.” Business Week 9 Apr. 2007: 56-61. Print.

Kaufman, Ron. “The Air Mauritius Story: How HR Can Impact Company Culture”. Strategic HR Review 14.1/2 (2015): 2-7. Emerald. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

Sheehan, Cathy et al. “Strategic Implications Of HR Role Management In A Dynamic Environment”. Personnel Review 45.2 (2016): 353-373. Emerald.

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