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Can 1 great hire equal 3 good hires?

BY Dan Mack

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 U.S. 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?

  1. Find the most educated employees through a 6-8 step interview process.
  2. Pay them well, very well.
  3. Train and development them like they are your next generation of leaders

By creating a 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.


For more insights on Dan Mack and the Elevation Forum go to mackelevationforum.com.  To learn about his first book Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence visit darkhorsebook.com.

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MinuteClinic telehealth pilot well received by patients

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — New data from the CVS Health Research Institute demonstrates high levels of patient satisfaction with the quality of telehealth care delivered at MinuteClinic retail medical clinics. 
 
“In the United States today, approximately a quarter of patients do not have a primary care provider or have incomplete access to one,” CVS Health’s Chief Scientific Officer William Shrank said. “This lack of access, combined with an increased demand for care resulting from expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the challenge of finding convenient care for patients balancing work and personal responsibilities, necessitate exploration of alternative, high quality care options such as telehealth in the MinuteClinic setting.”
 
The study evaluated de-identified responses from more than 1,700 patients who participated in the MinuteClinic telehealth pilot. Patients had services at a CVS MinuteClinic location provided by a remote clinician using telehealth technology. Patients were asked if they had health insurance and a primary care provider and rated their satisfaction with a number of measures associated with their telehealth visit, including quality of care and convenience. 
 
Patients were also asked to rank their experience of a telehealth visit as compared to that of a traditional visit, when the patient and a health care provider are face-to-face, in the same room. Overall, 95% of patients were highly satisfied with the quality of care they received, the ease with which telehealth technology was integrated into the visit and the timeliness and convenience of their care. In addition, one-third of patients indicated that they preferred a telehealth visit to a visit with a clinician in the same room — in particular those patients without health insurance — and nearly all found telehealth to be just as good as or better than a traditional visit.
 
“MinuteClinic has long been focused on providing accessible, high quality, affordable health care that is complementary and supportive of the primary care provider,” said Andrew Sussman, president, CVS/minuteclinic, and EVP/associate chief medical officer, CVS Health. “Telehealth provides us with an opportunity to offer convenient, high quality care to an extended group of patients and this data confirms that patients are highly satisfied with this new type of health care provider visit.”
 
Satisfaction with quality of care and other factors were measured among patients participating in a pilot program of telehealth care rolled out at MinuteClinic locations in California and Texas in 2014, and the findings were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine
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After solid Q2, Walmart to continue focus on tech, customer experience

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart U.S. on Tuesday reported second quarter net sales of $74 billion, up 4.8%, representing a 1.5% lift in comparable store sales and a 1.3% lift in traffic. Neighborhood Market comps increased approximately 7.3%, with strong growth from new stores. Across Sam's Club, membership income was up 6%, Walmart reported. Beyond performance across its brick-and-mortar stores, Walmart's e-commerce sales globally increased approximately 16% on a constant currency basis. 
 
President and CEO Doug McMillon told analysts Tuesday morning that they are taking the company’s Q2 performance as a sign that slowly but surely, Walmart is getting its groove back.
 
“I shared an article from Fortune magazine [with Walmart market managers] that I keep in my office titled ‘Can Walmart Get Back the Magic?’,” he said. “It’s a pretty strong indictment of our future, and the fun fact is that it was written in 1996. Just as it was in 1996, we will win the future of retail if we make the right choices as a business.”
 
Walmart plans to win by leveraging technology in the fight for the consumer's wallet, both online and in-store, he said. That means delivering better customer service. Walmart increased associate wages in the first quarter across its store base, and in the second quarter is adding a new level of store management — department managers — to increase its focus on running better-managed stores. 
 
On the technology front, Walmart's investments not only improve out-of-stocks and convenience for the end consumer but also drive home the everyday low price message that Walmart is well-known for. 
 
In July, Walmart.com introduced a “Dare to Compare” event that showcased the company’s ability to deliver a wide assortment at better prices.
 
“We were able to use our technology platform and sophisticated pricing algorithms to help us track and deliver lower pricing than competitors,” noted Neil Ashe, president and CEO global eCommerce for Wal-Mart Stores. “Given that we’ve tripled our assortment in the past three years, we had more items for customers to shop. Customers could then choose how to get their purchases in the most convenient way for them,” he said. “It led to our biggest day of the year so far for same-day pickup. The flexibility of our new platform allowed us to move very quickly, and the new site delivered a better, faster shopping experience to customers. And, those customers who were shopping on mobile devices had an improved experience thanks to the responsive design we rolled out in the quarter.”
 
Walmart's investments included developing a responsive web design that's optimized to whatever device is in the consumer's hands, enhancing store search capability and opening two new automated online fulfillment centers (each larger than 20 football fields, Ashe said) with two more on the way. That improved back-end delivery capacity should be a significant point of differentiation come holiday time, Ashe said. 
 
But Walmart is still focused on everyday low price.
 
“We’ve reduced supplier marketing funds that have traditionally offset a portion of our advertising expenses, as we work towards better product costs,” Greg Foran, president and CEO, Walmart U.S., said. “This will translate into lower prices for our customers. As a result of this reduction, we’ve lowered our second quarter print advertising count from 20 pieces last year to just 4 pieces this year,” he noted. “Moreover, since June, we’ve been working on amending terms and allowance agreements with our suppliers, driving consistency and simplification across our business.”
 
“[Our customers] have always counted on Walmart to have great prices,” McMillon said. "Now, we’re building their trust with better in-stock and delivering an enjoyable shopping experience."
 
“Even if it's not as fast as we would like, the fundamentals of serving our customers are consistently improving, and it's reflected in our comps and revenue growth,” McMillon said. “In this case, our desired changes require investments, which are pressuring earnings this year. We're confident that our strategic plan will create robust sustainable growth for shareholder returns over time.”
 
Even with that confidence, Charles Holly, EVP and CFO of Wal-Mart Stores, noted, “Operating profit will be pressured for the remainder of the year, due to continued investments in store associate wages and additional hours, as well as headwinds from pharmacy reimbursements and ongoing shrink, primarily in Walmart U.S.”
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