6 Ways to Empower Employees

Team members are well-trained, and 88 percent of them are full-time employees. “Happy team members create happy customers, and happy customers create happy investors…. Make sure the people you work with are able to self-actualize themselves to the greatest degree possible so they can advance, make more money, learn and grow on the job.”

Employees vote every three years on benefits they want. “The benefits that they think are most important that fit within the budget we’ve established are the benefits that we’ll have for the next three years…. The team members are the best judges of what benefits they would most like to have.”

New hires require a two-thirds vote from their team to stay. “How can a team have true accountability if they can’t select or have a final say of who gets to be on the team? I really believe that empowerment requires having the team have veto power over new hires for the team to have psychological ownership over their workplace.”

Regional managers design brand-new stores instead of borrowing blueprints from corporate. “As much as possible, we decentralize back to the regions and the stores. They have a real sense of psychological ownership. It’s their store. It’s their region. We are allowing individual innovation and creativity to bubble up from the store level, and then the good ideas that get created get copied by other stores.”

Individual stores determine what items are stocked, based on local tastes and goods. “To fulfill our mission, our purpose and create value for our stakeholders, we are pretty decentralized. We are organized into 11 geographical regions, and the regions are fairly autonomous.”

Employees determine how to spend their paid time off and their store’s emergency fund. “If someone gets sick, a lot of times team members will donate hours from their own benefit banks [paid leave] so that person will be taken care of while they are ill and recuperating.”


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