Starbucks Puts Its Money Where Its Employees Are

Starbucks announced that it's going to support its employees' college dreams, adding to the social focus that the brand has defined itself by.

Jun 17, 2014 at 2:40PM

If you've ever wanted to finally buckle down and get that online degree from Arizona State University, you might want to consider getting a job at Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). The coffee chain just announced that it's going to support its employees in their undergraduate studies at ASU, phasing out its earlier program that partnered with the University of Seattle and Strayer University.

For investors interested in supporting employees, the move is just one more on a long list of reasons to invest in Starbucks. In its announcement of the perk, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz made it clear that Starbucks is all-in on employee benefits, saying, "In the last few years, we have seen the fracturing of the American Dream. There's no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind."

The benefit of an education
Under the new Starbucks plan, freshman and sophomore employees who work 20 hours a week will be eligible for partial tuition reimbursement, while junior and seniors can get full support. The program is similar to the program that Home Depot (NYSE:HD) runs, but a bit more generous. Under the Home Depot plan, employees can get 50% of their costs back up to a maximum of $5,000 per year -- Starbucks does not have a cap. On the other hand, Home Depot gives its employees five different universities to choose from.

Regardless of the restrictions or options offered, both companies have made a push for the education of their employees. For Home Depot, the goal is largely just to have the best employees that it can. Tuition reimbursement is dependent on the kind of course taken, and the company only offers assistance for programs related to the employee's job -- for instance, accounting or law.

Starbucks is making employee education part of its overall social platform. In recent months, the company has announced that it is holding open employee forums, that employees volunteered close to 250,000 hours in one month, and that Starbucks is planning to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018.

Building the Starbucks brand
The addition of a more robust tuition reimbursement program fits into the Schultz method of brand management. Schultz called Starbucks "a brand and company defined by humanity and the human experience and what happens in our stores."

Starbucks and Home Depot have both made a move to get better employees with more commitment to the brands. For investors, that pays off over the long run. Better employees and happier employees have been shown to be more effective and productive for their businesses. It's easy to want to invest in a business because it's "doing the right thing," but Starbucks has shown that doing the right thing can also mean running a good business.

Even more Apple products in Starbucks
Ever actually counted the number of Apple laptops at your local Starbucks? You'll need a calculator to keep track of the numbers. Soon there will be even more silver and white to look at. Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team," but the secret is out -- some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Andrew Marder has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information