Businesses are comprised of an interdependent set of stakeholders — employees, customers, vendors, the community and shareholders. At The Container Store, we firmly believe our employee is the #1 stakeholder. In doing so, employees take better care of customers and ultimately the shareholders experience greater benefit from this approach to business than if the company focuses myopically on the shareholders alone. It’s a departure from what most other companies practice, yet it’s been at the heart of The Container Store’s success since 1978. It’s because of this employee-first culture that FORTUNE magazine has recognized our special company on its annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 14 years.
It all starts with hiring great people! One of our Foundation Principles™ is that one great employee is equal to three good employees (in terms of business productivity), so why not hire only GREAT employees? Most business people and many retailers have long ago given up on that concept. They just don’t really believe it’s possible to get great people to work on a retail sales floor.
A company must be extraordinarily dedicated to its human resource endeavor, because it takes astronomically more time and effort to attract, hire and retain great people. They’re more challenging to get. They’re more challenging to keep. But the pay off they’ll provide a company is enormous.
After you hire GREAT employees, you have to train them well. The Container Store offers more than 263 hours of formal training for full-time employees in their first year with us — compared to the industry average of about eight hours. One of our Foundation Principles™ is, “Intuition doesn’t come to an unprepared mind, you must train before it happens.” Our commitment to providing our salespeople with everything they need to be successful on the salesfloor provides value to employees and customers.
And don’t forget the FUN! Fun is part of the job at The Container Store. Our Air of Excitement Foundation Principle™ is found throughout our stores, home office and distribution center. From our service award celebrations for employees to our annual chili cook off, life’s too short to not have fun. “Fun” is an important part of our culture, our customer service and our work environment. It’s all of this and more that allows The Container Store to enjoy a less than 10% annual turnover compared to retail industry averages of 100% and more.