How Starbucks Thrived with Military Veteran Recruitment

Starbucks – A Successful Veteran Recruitment Example?

Starbucks, the global coffeehouse chain, is widely recognized for its innovative business strategies and community-focused initiatives.

One of the key elements contributing to its success is its dedicated effort to veteran recruitment and support U.S. military veterans. This blog post will explore how Starbucks harnessed the strengths of military veterans to drive growth and success, detailing their veteran recruiting program, relevant statistics, and the transformational impact on the company.

The Initiative: Starbucks’ Veteran Recruitment Program

In 2013, Starbucks launched an ambitious program to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. Recognizing the unique skills and leadership qualities that veterans bring to the workforce, Starbucks aimed to create a supportive environment that leveraged these attributes. The program focused on several key areas:

  1. Targeted Recruitment: Starbucks worked closely with military transition programs and veteran-focused job fairs to identify potential candidates.
  2. Partnerships: The company partnered with organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program and the American Corporate Partners (ACP) mentorship program.
  3. Supportive Onboarding: Starbucks developed tailored onboarding programs to help veterans transition smoothly into their new roles.
  4. Career Development: The company offered extensive training and career development opportunities to help veterans advance within the organization.

The Impact: Before and After

Before The Veteran Recruitment Initiative

Before implementing the veteran recruitment program, Starbucks faced several challenges common to large corporations, including:

  • High Turnover Rates: The retail and service industry typically experiences high employee turnover, leading to increased recruitment and training costs.
  • Leadership Gaps: As Starbucks expanded rapidly, finding leaders who could maintain the company’s culture and drive performance was crucial.
  • Community Engagement: Starbucks sought to strengthen its reputation as a socially responsible company committed to community engagement.

After The Veteran Recruitment Initiative

The results of the veteran recruitment program were transformative:

  • Enhanced Leadership: Veterans, known for their leadership and problem-solving skills, quickly filled managerial and leadership positions. Their military experience equipped them with the ability to manage teams effectively and handle high-pressure situations, contributing to improved store performance.
  • Reduced Turnover: The program led to a noticeable decrease in employee turnover. Veterans, with their strong work ethic and commitment, tended to stay longer with the company, reducing recruitment and training costs.
  • Positive Public Perception: Starbucks’ commitment to hiring veterans bolstered its image as a socially responsible company. This enhanced public perception translated into increased customer loyalty and brand strength.
  • Community Impact: The program strengthened Starbucks’ ties with the military community, fostering a sense of pride and connection among employees and customers alike.

Statistics and Success Metrics

The success of Starbucks’ veteran recruitment program is evident in the impressive statistics:

  • Hiring Milestone: By 2015, just two years after the program’s launch, Starbucks had already hired over 5,500 veterans and military spouses, well on its way to meeting its goal of 10,000 by 2018.
  • Leadership Roles: Approximately 30% of the veterans hired were promoted to leadership positions within the company, underscoring their significant contributions.
  • Reduced Turnover: Stores with veteran employees reported a 10% lower turnover rate compared to those without which showcased the program’s positive impact on employee retention.


Starbucks‘ veteran recruitment program is a prime example of how leveraging the skills and experiences of U.S. military veterans can lead to substantial business success. By recognizing the unique value that veterans bring to the workforce, Starbucks not only enhanced its operational performance but also strengthened its community engagement and brand reputation. The initiative stands as a testament to the mutually beneficial relationship between businesses and military veterans, highlighting the potential for other companies to follow suit and achieve similar success.

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Ridgeback Recruiting is a veteran owned business so contact us today to learn how your organization can attract the talent that can make a difference.

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