What Trader Joe’s Figured Out About Work Culture That My Other Past Employers Haven’t

Workplace | Employment | Leadership

By Hayley Benham-Archdeacon—Lattice | 09.13.17

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[Photo: ablokhin/iStock]

When I was hired by Trader Joe’s at 16, I wasn’t even legally able to run a register. I was told I was hired based on my personality, even if I was almost useless. By the time I left seven years later, I’d worked across six different stores. And I don’t know how they do it, but they have the best managers possible, consistently.

Trader Joe’s hierarchy is organized unlike anywhere else I’ve worked. Each store runs with one captain, and a team of eight to 12 mates. Everyone else is crew. And yes, they are thorough with the sailor-ship deck theme.

I thought that having so many middle managers would cause problems, but in fact it turns out to be good for everyone. Oversight of opening and closing shifts are distributed evenly, and tasks and assignments are rotated throughout the week, which means no one is stuck taking in the frozen truck at 4 a.m. every single morning, or closing out our computers every night until midnight. Maybe that’s why managers are able to stay so nice to us. And if you don’t feel comfortable going to one manager about a problem or personal event? No problem, you have 10 others to speak to.

At my last store, my coworker was having a rough time in his personal life and the frustration was beginning to show at work. We watched a manager take him out back, presumably for a stern talking to. In fact, the manager handed him a box of broken eggs from the spoils cart, taped a plastic pallet wrap up to the wall of our loading dock, and told him to throw eggs at the wall until he felt better. It worked.

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You’ve Got the Job, Now What? How to Stay Relevant at the Workplace

Career Advice | Mentoring | Employment |Professional development

By on February 22, 2017

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Do more, achieve more, stay relevant

You’ve made it through the first 18 months of your social-impact job! Give yourself a pat on the back. I know it wasn’t easy but you didn’t break, and now you’ve made a name for yourself.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, You’ve Got the Job…What’s Next?once you’ve been at your job for 12-18 months, you should be working toward “Superstar Status” by stepping outside of your role and establishing yourself as a leader. You’ll need to be more and do more in order to stay relevant.

Here’s how to stay relevant at the workplace by excelling at your work and stepping up for new challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities:

Be an advocate and an ambassador

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