Costco CEO Explains Why It Pays Employees $20 an Hour


Carolanne 073While we are having a lovefest over Costco and Thanksgiving, check this out:
From Business Insider:

Last week, we wrote about The Container Store and its "1 = 3" theory, which says that one "great" employee is just as productive as three workers who are only "good."

Kip Tindell, the company's CEO and founder, says this rule allows him to pay his retail employees an average salary of nearly $50,000 a year — almost twice the retail industry average.

Of course, The Container Store isn't the only major retail chain that professes a commitment to paying its workers a livable wage.

At Costco, hourly workers make an average of more than $20 an hour — well above the national average of $11.39 for a retail sales worker — according to a 2013 Businessweek story. For employees who put in 40 hours per week, that works out to about $43,000 a year.

In addition, Businessweek reports that 88% of Costco's 185,000 employees have company-sponsored healthcare.

The Container Store uses its high salaries to lure and retain elite talent. Costco is primarily focused on making everyone who works at one of the company's 663 warehouses happy. The idea is that a more pleasant workplace will lead to lower employee turnover and a more productive workforce.

"I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits," CEO Craig Jelinek tells Businessweek. "It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It's really that simple."

To that end, the company's turnover rate is a measly 5% for employees who have been there more than a year.

Nonetheless, some argue that not every retail company would be successful offering its workers such high wages.

In fact, the industry group The National Retail Federation has said that raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour pay would make it harder for stores to maintain current staffing levels.





Another Reason To Love Apple: CEO Tim Cook is Giving All of His Employees Thanksgiving Week Off



My first thought after going "Wow" at this headline was, "...but that probably doesn't include the retail workers..."

But thankfully Tim is not like other CEO's and he is taking care of them also by giving them other days off outside of Turkey Day. 

Way to go Tim. 

From Yahoo:

It's been a good past few weeks for Apple.

So good, in fact, that Tim Cook is giving Apple employees the whole week of Thanksgiving off, according to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman.

The announcement came in a memo Apple's CEO sent to all employees.

" Just two weeks ago, we launched the biggest advancements in iPhone history with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which our customers absolutely love," wrote Cook. " Each of these introductions represents years of innovation and hard work by teams all across Apple."

Cook said that Apple's corporate team will get Thanksgiving week off, while the retail division will get days off in lieu of the days they'll work that week. 

Still, three extra days off is nothing to complain about.

Here's the full memo:


This month has been one for the record books.

Just two weeks ago, we launched the biggest advancements in iPhone history with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which our customers absolutely love. We introduced Apple Pay, a new service which will make mobile payments easier, more secure and more private. And we previewed the next chapter in Apple’s story with Apple Watch, our most personal device ever and one which has already captured the world’s imagination.

Our customers are enjoying new ways to use their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 8’s intuitive new features, and the ground-breaking security of iOS 8 has demonstrated our strong commitment to protecting users’ privacy. Coming up this fall is OS X Yosemite, with continuity features that deliver an even more fluid experience across all our iOS devices and Macs.

Each of these introductions represents years of innovation and hard work by teams all across Apple. Many of you have put the best work of your lives into these amazing new products, which bring together world-class hardware, software and services in the way only Apple can. This is what we do best, and the result transforms people’s lives. It’s simply inspiring.

I am also incredibly inspired and proud of all of our work to protect the environment, advance human rights, and change the way teachers teach and students learn.

Without you, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. Our people are the soul of our company, and we all need time to refresh and renew. To provide that time, and to recognize all of these achievements — as well as your boundless talent and dedication — I’m happy to announce that we’re extending the Thanksgiving holiday this year. We will shut down with pay on November 24, 25 and 26 so our teams can enjoy the whole week off.

Retail, AppleCare, and several other teams will continue to serve our customers over those days, but will receive the same amount of time off at a date that’s best for them. Please check with your manager for details. International teams will schedule vacation days when appropriate for their country.

Enjoy the extra time off with your families and loved ones. You’ve earned it!





Zappos Makes Bold Move with Holacracy: Eliminates Traditional Manager Postions, Job Titles, and Corporate Hierarchy


So Zappos is getting rid of middle management it appears. I'd never heard of "holacracy" (which has to do with giving employees more of a voice) but appears to be a word that has caught the eye of Zappos! It's so great to see a company actually embracing the idea and caring about what its employees think and feel. Zappos must be one of the best retail jobs someone could have!

From Washington Post:

Online retailer Zappos has long been known to do things its own way. The customer-service obsessed company calls its executives “monkeys,” has staffers ring cowbells to greet guests, and offers new employees cash to quit as a way to test their loyalty.

The Las Vegas-based retailer is now going even more radical, introducing a new approach to organizing the company. It will eliminate traditional managers, do away with the typical corporate hierarchy and get rid of job titles, at least internally. The company told employees of the change at a year-end meeting, Quartz first reported.


The unusual approach is called a “holacracy.” Developed by a former software entrepreneur, the idea is to replace the traditional corporate chain of command with a series of overlapping, self-governing “circles.” In theory, this gives employees more of a voice in the way the company is run.

According to Zappos executives, the move is an effort to keep the 1,500-person company from becoming too rigid, too unwieldy and too bureaucratic as it grows.

“As we scaled, we noticed that the bureaucracy we were all used to was getting in the way of adaptability,” says Zappos’s John Bunch, who is helping lead the transition to the new structure. The company has become a force in online shopping as it expanded beyond shoes into apparel, housewares and cosmetics. Amazon, which acquired it in 2009 for $1.2 billion but allows it to be run as a mostly independent unit, does not break out sales for Zappos.


The holacracy concept is the brainchild of management consultant Brian Robertson, a serial software entrepreneur who says he launched the idea after realizing he was “more interested in how we worked together” than in his own job. The concept has a couple of high-profile devotees — Twitter cofounder Evan Williams uses it at his new company, Medium, and time management guru David Allen uses it run his firm — but Zappos is by far the largest company to adopt the idea.

At its core, a holacracy aims to organize a company around the work that needs to be done instead of around the people who do it. As a result, employees do not have job titles. They are typically assigned to several roles that have explicit expectations. Rather than working on a single team, employees are usually part of multiple circles that each perform certain functions.

In addition, there are no managers in the classically defined sense. Instead, there are people known as “lead links” who have the ability to assign employees to roles or remove them from them, but who are not in a position to actually tell people what to do. Decisions about what each role entails and how various teams should function are instead made by a governing process of people from each circle. Bunch does note, however, that at Zappos the broadest circles can to some extent tell sub-groups what they’re accountable for doing.


Zappos and Robertson are careful to note that while a holacracy may get rid of traditional managers (those who both manage others’ work and hold the keys to their career success), there is still structure and employees’ work is still watched. Poor performers, Robertson says, stand out when they don’t have enough “roles” to fill their time, or when a group of employees charged with monitoring the company’s culture decide they’re not a good fit.

Bunch, meanwhile, says that while people have latched on to the idea that Zappos is getting rid of managers, what the company is actually doing is “decoupling the professional development side of the business from the technical getting-the-work-done side.” 

Both also say that while the system lacks traditional managers, it does not mean that leaders won’t emerge. If anything, the goal is to get more people to take charge.


Still, truly stamping out the corporate hierarchy may be much more difficult than it seems. Bob Sutton, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and author of the forthcoming book “Scaling Up Excellence“, says “show me any group of five human beings or five apes or five dogs, and I want to see the one where a status difference does not emerge. It’s who we are as creatures.”

While Sutton says that the instinct to remove as much friction and internal competition is the right idea, “creating situations where you’re clear who has decision authority is important.” Without that, he says, “you get more politics.”

Since April, Zappos has moved 10 percent of its employees to the new system. Now that it’s official, Bunch expects that the rest of the company’s employees will transition by the end of 2014. He acknowledges that it could take up to six additional months, though, for people to fully understand its complexity. “There’s no two ways around it — this is a difficult system to grasp. We’re so ingrained in the traditional work paradigm.” 





Return Hell: Not Too bad, And Corporate Gets Wise

Carolanne so whatFrom: Mintypoison

I would like to thank the retail gods above that we haven't had much an issue with returns from the holidays recently. The only issue we have had has been with a few sales items that are no longer on sale such as our clothes or canvas prints (my store is kind of new-agey, so we sell all kinds of things). Right now if a customer brings back a piece of clothing or a print that had the sale going (buy one get one half off) and it's the full price item, we have to return both items and resell the half off item.

Most of the customers get upset at first but understand that we can't just give out half price items if they're returning a full price. Gotta have both to get the discount.

But many, MANY people have gotten their panties in a bunch over this. Yes, I don't like it either. It's kind of asking us to deal with crusty bullshit, but I'm also glad the company sticks up go their stores and won't let us lose money over someone being picky or spoiled that the awesome handmade skirt wasn't an iPhone. My coworkers had a lady threaten them legally and almost physically last night because they had to do a return like that. We can't help it if you got the "wrong gift and ruined Christmas" for your hellspawn. We have our orders from corporate, we aren't changing them.

Carolanne exasperatedWhile the issues with returns have been mellow, I did have someone get butt hurt over a mask they bought last night. A group of customers came in looking for masks for a New Year's party, which a lot of other people have been coming in for lately. We have a strict policy of final sales on the masks, since I know I wouldn't want some one else's face germs on mine. This policy is stated on the receipt and on the board next to our register. It's obvious if someone looks at this policy that they better like their damn mask because they will have it forever. But according to this group, we need to tell EVERYONE this.

Okay bitchtits, here's how this goes. First, you try on the mask. If it doesn't fit, you try on others that do until you find your favorite. If there is more than one favorite, you pick it. Then you pay for it and look at the lovely return policy that is right next to your face. You don't ignore it to come back a few hours later and demand even an exchange because you can't read a policy. "We shouldn't have to read the receipt! You all should tell us what we need to do instead! I'm lazy and all I want is for everyone to bow down at my feet. Is that so much to ask for?!" Everyone else reads the policies or ASKS if they're unsure. They don't depend on associates to tell them everything.

Sorry for the wall of text again and the slightly off-topicness, but I hope that the Week of Returns is easy on everyone and may all your customers learn to read!