How do you keep employees engaged to deliver great customer experiences (CX)? There are many answers to this question, of which creating a company culture where everyone feels included, valued, and appreciated are significant factors. You can see what “Doing CX Right” means by visiting Trader Joe’s, known for transforming grocery shopping since 1967.
Employees consistently go out of their way to deliver amazing customer service and experiences for each other. I believe that’s the secret sauce. There’s a clear commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and shoppers can feel it. I encourage you to go to any location and watch people’s interactions, as you will learn so much about humanizing business as a brand differentiator.
Besides observations, I’ve gained insights from talking to Trader Joe’s staff at all levels of the organization, especially in June, known as Pride Month in the United States. (It’s when festivities, parades, and events occur to honor LGBTQ voices and experiences and raise attention to issues community members face.)
My conversations with store staff validate my beliefs about the connection of employee experiences impacting customer satisfaction. They go hand in hand. Employee appreciation isn’t just a nice to do. It’s essential for retention, brand advocacy, and long-term business growth (see stats and chart below).
A View From The Inside Of Trader Joe’s
Interview with Heidi Leindecker, Assistant Manager at Trader Joe’s, La Quinta, California
Stacy: What’s the significance of Pride Month? Why shall businesses care?
Heidi: Pride month is about equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time to reflect on how far we’ve come, dating back from the 1969 Stonewall Riots to where we are today and unequivocally how much more there is to achieve with gay rights. It’s a time to spread awareness, as well as a time to celebrate the freedom to be ourselves. It’s about being proud of who you are no matter who you love.
Stacy: Is Trader Joe’s supporting the LGBTQ+ community?
Heidi: Trader Joe’s is a role model for hiring diversity and practicing inclusion. The company cultivates a positive image when it comes to inclusion and its brand amongst employees and consumers. Trader Joe’s puts the employee first and makes sure that everyone is treated with integrity and respect. Employees are treated equally in the same manner as customers are treated equally. As employees are treated well, the feeling naturally overflows to the customers’ positive shopping experience.
Stacy: How has Trader Joe’s supported the LGBTQ+ community?
Heidi: Prior to same-sex marriage, Trader Joe’s supported domestic partnership by giving the employee’s partner equal benefits, including medical, dental, and vision. They also extended the benefit of 10% off of all store purchases to their partners. The company continues to recognize the partners of the employees by giving them an open invitation to all company parties and events. Trader Joe’s has a Zero Tolerance Policy for sexual harassment and their training material is updated annually. For example, recently there was a video training that management and crew members viewed that included the importance of gender pronouns.
Stacy: Is Trader Joe’s doing anything to recognize Pride Month?
Heidi: One of the ways that come to mind how Trader Joe’s recognized Pride Month is that all stores received in June really nice cut and potted rainbow roses. These flowers have been very popular with our customers and were also advertised in Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer.
Stacy: What can other company leaders learn from Trader Joe’s for their own employees?
Heidi: Trader Joe’s invests largely in their diverse employees and creates a happy atmosphere where workers want to help customers with a smile. Employees are appreciated, valued, and free to be themselves. They are encouraged to go above and beyond and they have the freedom to find unique ways to help customers. The friendly vibe of Trader Joe’s comes from the personalities of the individual employees, in addition to the company culture. Trader Joe’s encourages their employees to have fun at work and trusts them to give customers an experience that they can’t get anywhere else. The company believes in the importance of sending a clear message that they stand for equality and acceptance, not just during Pride month, but every day of the year.
Thank you Heidi for sharing your social views and business perspective. You are an admirable woman leader and wonderful spouse to my sister❣️
By the way….for data lovers
Global consultancy McKinsey & Co published an extensive report that reveals companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies in the fourth quartile. That number was up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014. Also interesting, when it comes to staffing, companies that have higher degrees of racially and ethnically diverse employees have a 35% performance advantage over companies relying on a “culture fit” that tends to trend white and monocultural.”