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The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Kip Tindell, chairman/CEO of The Container Store, in which he discussed the company's compensation policies, ands the national discussion about raising the minimum wage.

Some excerpts:

• "One of our foundational principles is one equals three: one great person can easily do the business productivity of three good people. If you really believe that they can do three times the productivity then you can pay them 50% to 100% above industry average.

"The average salesperson makes $48,000 per year. [According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, median weekly earnings for retail sales people in 2013 was $598 or $31,096 per year.] We give big annual increases each year because we believe in keeping people mildly tickled about their rate of increase. We really and truly believe in paying according to contribution. So we want the 17th greatest contributor to get the 17th largest piece of the pie."

"Everybody loves to say that it’s not all about pay. But pay is more important than most people realize, particularly if you’re trying to attract and keep really great people. We have single-digit turnover in an industry that has triple-digit turnover."

"As incoming chairman of the National Retail Federation, my personal and my business’s position on the minimum-wage issue is different from that of the NRF. The NRF has of course just the traditional mass retailer’s attitude toward this. I’ll work to get the NRF to actually moderate and review that. I also think certain companies will soon come out in favor of raising the minimum wage because they’re going to have to politically. Better pay leads to better profitability."
KC's View:
One of the things that some folks will say is that the flaw in Tindell's philosophy has been exposed by the fact that The Container Store has had some rough going recently, but he actually addresses it in the interview, saying, "We’re very confident in the strategy. You don’t start changing your business model because comparable-store sales are a point and a half or so lower than you thought they would be."

Wow. An adult who doesn't change everything he believes in just because some analysts get over-excited.

There also will be some folks - and you know who you are - who will argue that The Container Store can afford to pay people well because it only hires great people and encourages them to be greater, and that companies like Walmart can't do that, because their employees are the dregs of retail employment. (I'm not making this up. This is the kind of email I get.) Well, I would argue that as an employer you get what you deserve … and if you think that the best way to be both efficient and effective is to have a lowest-common-denominator approach in your hiring, then that's exactly what you'll get.