The Container Store pays its retail employees an average of nearly $US50,000 a year — almost twice the national average — so you can probably imagine how difficult it is to land a job at one of its 67 store locations nationwide.
The storage and organisation products company, which has been featured on Fortune’s list of the 100 best employers for 15 consecutive years, hires just 3% of people who apply.
To get a better sense of the qualities The Container Store looks for in its retail employees, we combed through CEO and founder Kip Tindell’s book, “Uncontainable.”
Here’s what we found:
1. Strong communication skills: Tindell is a believer in the motto “Communication IS Leadership” and says that good employees keep their bosses and peers alike informed of what’s happening on the floor.
“Nothing makes people feel more like they’re part of a true team than real communication, and nothing makes people feel not a part of something than being excluded,” Tindell writes.
2. Positive attitudes: One of the reasons Tindell thinks his company has been successful is the “contagious enthusiasm” that fills its stores, where each employee feeds off the energy of his or her coworkers.
“Great employees … are courteous and respectful and understand the importance of being Gumby — that is, remaining flexible to get the job done,” Tindell writes.
3. Creative problem-solving abilities: Tindell says the company’s competitive advantage is that its staff knows how to explain the best ways to use storage products that other retailers can’t figure out how to sell.
To that extent, he says employees need to essentially be interior designers for customers, explaining the best way to organise their closets.
4. Organizational skills: Naturally, the founder of a company that sells storage spaces wants to hire people who are on top of things.
“Great employees … plan and organise their work effectively,” Tindell says. “They make good judgments about time allocation and know how to set priorities, asking for help when necessary.”
5. Competitiveness: The Container Store’s managers are asked to rank the employees they supervise from best to worst, and pay the workers accordingly. Even though Tindell values compassionate capitalism, he wants his employees to know The Container Store won’t accept anything but the highest quality of work.
“Working alongside people of that calibre makes you go home at night feeling great about everything you accomplished that day and thrilled to get up out of bed and go back to work the next morning to reach for the stars again.”
6. Compassion: Despite the company’s high standards, Tindell says workers need to forgive each other when they stumble and create a “warm, safe, nurturing workplace that allows employees to take chances without fear of reprisal when they fail.”
“Allowing people’s individual creative genius to flourish benefits the entire team,” he writes.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.