Starbucks to release new large-print and Braille menus this summer amid other accessibility moves

Starbucks
  • The coffee chain announced new moves to support blind and low-vision employees and customers.
  • The announcement of the large-print and Braille menus, as well as other accomodations, comes ahead of the annual shareholder meeting.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Starbucks announced Monday it would be making several major steps to make its menus and stores more accessible for blind and low-vision customers in a release preceding its annual shareholders meeting.

This summer, the chain will distribute large-print and Braille menus to all stores in the US and Canada. The chain is working with the National Braille Press to create the new menus.

And in the meantime, starting Monday, March 15, the company announced that it would be giving customers in the US access to Aira, an app that “connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely located visual interpreters to provide instant access to visual information through a third-party smartphone app.”

Starbucks has made other efforts to make its customer experience more accessible and equitable, and the company is highlighting those steps ahead of its annual shareholders meeting.

At the meeting, Starbucks is also expected to discuss its earnings from the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021, which saw the effects of the pandemic driving a 5% decline in consolidated net revenues.

The press release also touted Starbucks’ “inclusive design,” including its nine signing stores in the US aimed at promoting inclusion of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities as well as the company’s distribution of clear face masks to make signing and lip-reading more accessible during the pandemic.

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WATCH: Next-Gen founders talk racial equity in tech, and share insight on navigating the industry

Racial equity in tech has become a major talking point this past year, but has that talk been paired with action? 

In the United States, still only about 1% of Black entrepreneurs receive funding for their businesses. In 2018, TechCrunch reported over 80% of VC firms don’t have one Black investor, and though about 13% of the US population is Black, only about 4% of the VC industry identifies as African American, Bloomberg reported.

After calls for racial justice swept the nation last summer, Insider wanted to know if anything has changed for Black founders looking to find their footing in the tech industry. 

So, we spoke to them. 

On Thursday, February 25, Insider’s reporter Dominic-Madori Davis chatted with  Realtime CEO and cofounder Vernon Coleman, Yac cofounder Jordan Walker, and Cashmere cofounder Urenna Okonkwo about their journeys in tech and the future they wish to see in the industry. Okonkwo, who is based in the United Kingdom, also gave her perspective as to what it’s like raising money as a Black entrepreneur across the pond. 

Together, the trio shared advice for aspiring founders on how to navigate the industry, as well as lessons they wish they knew when they began their entrepreneurial journeys.  

You can watch the full digital event above. 

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How the rapidly growing Hive Diversity app is connecting students with big companies that put equality and inclusion at the forefront of recruitment

Hive
Students and graduates can use the app to connect with potential employers.

  • Hive Diversity, which launched in October, is a virtual recruiting platform that wants to match diverse students to employers with a focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion.
  • It’s already partnered with big-name companies including Accenture, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the owner of Jimmy Choo.
  • Its founder Bryan Slosar spoke to Business Insider about Hive, which was founded with students in mind.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The killing of George Floyd in May awoke a major socio-political movement across the globe. As the Black Lives Matter movement gathered momentum across the world, major companies were quick to respond and issued statements supporting activists.

But despite the push to take positive action, some major employers have come under fire recently for not prioritizing diversity in the workplace.

Black staff at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative say they are ‘underpaid, undervalued, and marginalized,’ employees have spoken out about Salesforce’s slow progress in improving workplace diversity, and UPS only overturned its ban on delivery staff having beards and diverse hair styles in November.

Hive Diversity is a virtual recruiting platform that wants to change that.

The platform connects employers with a focus on EDI (equality, diversity, and inclusion) with eager-to-learn college students from under-represented communities.

Hive was founded in October 2020 by Byron Slosar, who spent the last 15 years in the careers industry.

Bryan Slosar
Hive was founded by Bryan Slosar.

He first thought up the concept in 2015. He was working at Tulane University when a young trans student who knew Slosar was part of the LGBTQ+ community approached him asking for career advice. The student told Slosar he wanted to work at a company where he could be his “true self” and feel at home.

Five years later, Hive has launched, and it’s growing rapidly.

The company works with more than 2,000 students from more than 225 American universities.

Some of this is rapid growth thanks to its network of more than 200 student ambassadors, who encourage their peers to join the scheme.

And some of it is because of Hive’s big-name partnerships. For its first cycle, Hive has partnered with 24 companies including Accenture, Atlantic Records, Saks Fifth Avenue, Steve Madden, and Capri Holding Limited, which owns the fashion brands Versace, Jimmy Choo, and Michael Kors. The companies all put an emphasis on diversity, and are working with Hive to ensure their recruitment processes reflect that.

Read more: Nasdaq needs SEC signoff for its game-changing rule on board diversity. Here’s a look at how it could play out.

What sets Hive apart from other recruitment platforms is that it was built with the students in mind, not the companies, Slosar told Business Insider.

One of his key ideas was to gamify the platform. Students have to complete five levels of courses based on their personal and professional development, including videos, text, and quizzes related to preparing for job interviews and thinking about career goals. Undertaking these gamified tasks keeps them engaged and shows their commitment to employers, Slosar explained.

And convenience is also an important driver for the company. Students can do the lessons on their phones via the Hive app, meaning they’re not tied to a schedule like other careers classes, Slosar explained.

DZ
Students and graduates can use the app to connect with potential employers.

Another way Hive has adapted to its college userbase is through its resume builder, Slosar told Business Insider. Its website includes a patent-pending resume builder which, unlike many others, is mobile compatible. Students are provided with a template with resume formatting, so that they just have to fill out the content, meaning the focus is on them and their skills rather than how well they can format a resume.

Hive provides students with more than just the opportunity to apply for jobs, Slosar explained. The partner companies put on virtual information sessions through Hive, where students can ask questions about different career paths and speak to recent graduates about their experiences. Through this, Hive focuses on meaningful engagement between talented students and prospective employers, Slosar said.

Though students get a lot out of Hive, they don’t pay to join. “They pay by putting the work in,” Slosar told Business Insider.

Employers also benefit from recruiting through Hive, Slosar explained.

Whereas most employees get EDI training on the job, students registered at Hive undertake an EDI module before being employed.

In addition, partner companies get aggregate data on students “following” them on the site, such as their locations, courses, and interests, which they can then build into their recruitment strategies.

Accenture, which is one of Hive’s partner companies, said that workplace diversity can help create a wider culture of equality. The company is collaborating with Hive Diversity “because they complement our purpose of combining human ingenuity with technology to serve a greater good,” Joseph Taiano, managing director of marketing & communications at Accenture, told Business Insider.

One of Hive’s core beliefs is that a student is worth much more than just their grades.

The Hive recruitment process focuses on the values that students’ skills, interests, and background can bring. It uses this information to connect the students with like-minded employers.

Hive focuses on students, ranging from first years to recent graduates. In doing so, Slosar hopes to cause a systemic change by creating an organic pipeline of talent in the future, he told Business Insider.

Slosar hopes Hive will help democratize the workplace by removing hurdles such as money and personal networks from the job-seeking process.

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