As we expanded our presence in China in 2012, Starbucks China’s ceo Belinda Wong saw a problem: In a nation known for its tea, many people had never even tasted coffee, and they couldn't understand why their relatives were choosing to work at Starbucks, some despite having law degrees, teaching certificates and other professional skills. According to Belinda, “In China, family is everything. It’s deep in our hearts.” We had to find a way to show families, primarily parents, what a career with us could mean for their loved ones.
So we held our first Partner Family Forums in Beijing and Shanghai, inviting the relatives of our partners to get to know us better. Turnout was high – some whole families even showed up – and we introduced them to our mission, values and aspirations for the future.
The forums were moving, educational and a way for us to honor the importance of family in Chinese culture. They have since become a Starbucks tradition, in China and beyond.