A foundation principle at The Container Store is that one great person is equal to three good people, explains Amy Carobillano, vice president of logistics and distribution. “So, why would you ever hire good people when you could hire great people?”
When growth led The Container Store to consider an alternative to the three facilities it occupied in the Dallas metropolitan area, the company took care to involve its workers and to consider their needs. “As part of the site selection process, we took out a map of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and put a pin where every single employee lived,” Carobillano explains. Then the company looked for a site where it wouldn't lose its employee base.
“We talked to those who lived furthest away and would have the longest commutes,” Carobillano continues. “We asked, ‘Can we help you find a different way to get to work?' and we told them who else lives near them to make the commute easier.” The company didn't lose a single distribution center (DC) or office worker in its move.
Once the site was decided, the retailer went to work making the DC attractive to workers. Art and modern design elements in the office portion of the site were extended into the DC. But in the heat of a Dallas summer, it takes more than art to keep employees comfortable and happy.
Dallas-based companies typically don't air condition warehouses, says Carobillano (especially a 1.1 million-square-foot facility). However, The Container Store installed 42 twelve-foot-diameter fans in all of its open areas, notes Kevin Marlow, the retailer's DC systems operations analyst. “We have 62 exhaust fans that help turn the air in the whole DC four times an hour,” he says. “And we added truck cooling fans at each of the 75 dock doors to help move the air in and out while they're loading and unloading.” (The Container Store receives palletized truckloads but ships floor-loaded product.)
If, as Carobillano says, The Container Store prefers to hire “great” people and it places this much value on retaining them as employees, it should come as no surprise that it has appeared among the top three in Fortune magazine's Best Places to Work listing for five consecutive years.