We continue our series sharing summaries of principles The Container Store follows to achieve its long-lasting success. These principles are detailed in the book, UNCONTAINABLE, written by Kip Tindell (co-founder, ceo and chairman, The Container Store).
The Container Store Employee Training Philosophy
The Container Store trusts its employees to make meaningful connections with customers and to share their organizational expertise at every opportunity with customers. This trust comes from knowing they’ve hired great employees and trained them well.
Astonishingly, full-time employees at The Container Store receive close to 300 hours of paid training in their first year. Read that again… nearly 300 hours of paid training. Not 30 hours, but 300 hours. Part-time employees get almost 200 hours of training and no employee gets put on the sales floor without first receiving 40 hours of training.
That’s a major commitment to training. A commitment very few retailers have the courage to do.
The Container Store training philosophy is about building an employee’s intuition muscles.
Kip Tindell explains it this way, “We want our employees to use their intuition—their wonderful life experience—to anticipate the needs of our customers and to recommend the appropriate solutions.”
All the training employees receive prepares their mind to handle most any situation at the store level. It also prepares employees with product knowledge and organization expertise that helps them to explain to customers some of the complicated products The Container Store sells.
As it relates to training employees, Kip Tindell stresses its importance by saying…
“One reason training is more important at The Container Store than at other retailers is because our motto is ‘We sell the hard stuff.’ We actually tell our buyers to look for products that are hard to sell. Why? Because we know other retailers won’t touch those products, giving us an exclusive and yet another reason for customers to shop with us.”
Let’s revisit the nearly 300 hours of training full-time employees receive at The Container Store. How can a retailer justify such an outrageous expense?
For The Container Store, training employees so well results in a turnover rate of less than 10%, which saves the company millions of dollars in recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training people. And since they sell complicated products, vendors can trust employees at The Container Store to tell the story and purpose behind each of the products sold in the store.