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Capitalism, The Container Store, and Success – What Do They All Have in Common?

The Container Store is a proud company that sells storage and organizational products.  A good capitalist will see that they are doing all the right things.

Many retailers struggle to keep their employees and have a 67% turnover rate.  On average, The Container Store has an annual employee turnover rate of 10%.  This is amazing and it shows in their numbers.

Co-founder Kip Tindell believes that their success is directly linked to how they treat their employees and vendors.  This success can be seen in how successful they have become.  Founded in 1978 with $35,000, now having had net sales of $800 million in 2017.

Both co-founders Garrett Boone and Tindell have created a company with Conscious Capitalism.  Companies are now noticing the value of a good business with good ethics.  Everyone is affected by doing good business and not just the shareholders.  This model positively affects employees, suppliers, and the community.

The Container Store has 7 great values.  After realizing in 1988 that it needed to create an identity for the company with strong values, it did such a thing.  You will find these values on t-shirts, shopping bags and on their conference rooms at headquarters.

Their 7 Values Are:

  • 1 great person = 3 good people
  • Communication is leadership
  • Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim
  • Best selection, service, & price
  • Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind
  • Man in the desert selling
  • Air of excitement!

The company’s core competency has been identified as “Man in the Desert Selling”.  This has helped them create a company that results in employees who have great empathy for their customers.  They think of everything that their customer might need.  In a desert you likely don’t just need water, you might need a place to sleep, food, shoes, a hat or sunglasses.  This understanding helps serve customers every need.

By having Conscious Capitalism in a business everyone benefits, the company and the employees.  Many American companies only have 30% of their employees actively engaged with them, 50% are not engaged and 20% are purposely disengaged.

Raj Sisodia, a professor of global business at Babson College and Co-Founder and Co-Chairman ofConscious Capitalism Inc., research shows that when a company follows the Conscious Capitalism values, its stocks are directly affected.

The stock market for them is better by a ratio of 10.5-to-1 over a 15-year period, delivering over 1,600% total returns.

People are realizing the benefit and will now be more prone to support a company with benevolence rather than one that is egotistical climate and does not have its employees and community at the forefront of their mind.

In a Stanford survey, graduates were willing to take 14% less pay to work for a company with a better reputation for ethics and social responsibility. With this said a corporation may be able it to attract better applicants, adding more positive benefits for it in the long term.

This is why The Container Store is doing so well, it not only aligns with these findings, it knows that building a retail environment with great customer service, require staff on the retail floor that is outstanding.

They not only need to attract these employees, they need to keep them.  They make sure their employees have all the training and support needed for them to do a great job.   These employees receive 263 hours of formal training in their first year and earn $48,000 on average, which is twice the typical retail salary.

Tindell and Boone have worked to create a supportive work culture and community.

In particular, the company watches carefully its potential new employees during the hiring process and employee orientation.  They look for people who have a giving mindset. It’s been proven that “givers” prioritize actions that benefit others, this includes other employees, as well as customers and, are less likely than “takers” to engage in unethical behavior.

The company represents its ideal giver as “Gumby”, a popular animated clay cartoon and it’s unofficial mascot.  This cute mascot represents the company culture of being flexible and willing to bend over backward to help customers and co-workers. All employees at every level are encouraged to “be Gumby.”

Companies that make efforts to formalize a common vocabulary and values system will see it pay off in terms of higher employee trust.  These employees work better together to create more value for its customers.  This directly affects the company’s bottom line.

Having more fulfilled and happier employees create a family culture at The Container Store.  When people feel appreciated and are recognized for their hard work they serve their customers better.  This value also gets extended to their family and community at large.   The company created a fun environment and believes when you are doing the right thing, the universe conspires in your favor and will help you out.


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Capitalism, The Container Store, and Success – What Do They All Have in Common?

by Sonia Landry time to read: 3 min