The Idea: Kip Tindell, CEO and Chairman of The Container Store, founded the company in 1978 with $35k, and a set of brave ideals. This retailer of “empty boxes” was profitable on day one and has enjoyed a historical average compounded growth rate of 21%. Equally important, it’s been named one of the Best Places to Work in the US 15 years in a row, debuting at #1 the first year they applied in 2000. What has been their secret? They hire the best talent with amazingly high expectations.
In a recent interview, Tindell joked that the company’s mantra is guided by a simple principle that “no one’s over-qualified to work as a sales associate at the Container Store.” In fact, in order to work at the store, potential employees must go through a far more rigorous interview process, while being evaluated against the Container Stores main belief: hire one person that’s worth three.
The Container Store story is not a sexy business, nor is it the type of industry that seems ripe to steal tomorrow’s business school leaders. The organization makes containers and organizers for homes, offices or anyone looking to store things. But the company is vibrant, attracts great employees, pays higher than most service industries and is worth dissecting.
The organization pays their employees 50 – 100% more than the average retailer and prides themselves on their team’s productivity, while only having a 10% annual turnover. How do they do all of this?
- Find the most educated employees through a 6-8 step interview process.
- Pay them well, very well.
- Train and develop them like they are your next generation of leaders
By creating a culture of excitement and rewarding valuable team members, a retail store has become a top tier sales organization. Their principles are universal, and it works.
Finding the right talent is expensive but crucial – it allows people to live and love their work which creates a culture of excellence. Hiring game breaking talent and paying wages commensurate with their skills drives retention and allows the next generation of leadership to commit to the cause.
When those three principles are married, you have the formula for a very special culture. The Container Store is one such culture.