When Starbucks first turned a profit in 1990, Howard Schultz wanted to do something radical: Share the financial success of the company with the people responsible for it, from baristas to managers. A year later he introduced Bean Stock, a stock option plan that turned employees into partners by giving them an ownership stake in the company. Seven hundred people from about 100 stores in the United States and Canada were enrolled, and Starbucks became the first privately owned U.S. company to offer a stock option program to all eligible employees, even part-timers.
The partner benefits of the program were obvious, but Bean Stock also brought value to the company at large. As Howard wrote in his letter announcing the program, “It is my hope that this reality of partnership deepens our sense of pride, of mutual support and of shared vision for Starbucks.” Bean Stock remains a key part of our benefits package, a way for us to continue investing in our most important asset: our people.