Trader Joe’s Company’s Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is central to any organization as it defines values. To maintain the corporate culture, employees need motivation. Other times, it becomes necessary to change the corporate culture to be in line with the vision and goals of an organization. In so doing, managers have to adopt several strategies to keep employees motivated. This paper examines corporate culture and motivation through discussing several questions.

Q1. Based on what you have read and researched in our class, how would you describe the corporate culture at Trader Joe’s? What motivational technique has Trader Joe’s use to gain a competitive advantage over other companies in the grocery or specialty industry?

The corporate culture at Trader Joe’s is one of valuing employees. Trader Joe’s , in prioritizing employee’s needs, suppose that if they handle workers similar to how they want these workers to treat clients, employees will endeavor to offer an exclusive shopping experience for customers, when they enter the store. Typically, Trader Joe’s store workers make efforts to engage customers in dialogue and, in a nice this way, they are able to introduce new products to them. Most traditional supermarkets do not give customers much attention and this makes them marvel at services provided by Trader Joe’s. Such supermarkets have high turnover, no customer service and workers usually spend more time lamenting about their jobs than doing them.

Trader Joe’s uses compensation technique to motivate employees. This technique involves use of money as well as other non-monetary benefits to reward employees (Hale, 1998). Trader Joe’s offers a wage and benefits package that is higher than that of most rival companies in the supermarket business. Trader Joe’s has fashioned a culture of success. In this culture, rotations of jobs occur to see that everybody does the same job at one time or another. Besides, this culture values people’s opinions and nurtures employees’ talents. The retailer also gives opportunities to both young workers who work a few hours a month to help pay for college and old store managers.

Q2. Would changing the corporate culture at Trader Joe’s be difficult or easy? What could be a reason why the company might choose to change in the future? Please explain and support your rationale.

Changing the corporate culture at Trader Joe’s would be very difficult. The company has low turnover and this implies employees at the company have been there for a long time (Abbasi & Hollman, 2000). Apparently, people who are used to doing things in a certain way are likely to resist change when new ways are introduced, as this interferes with their comfort. Besides, they may fear that doing things differently will not be as fruitful as the accustomed way. In addition, people fear organizational changes as they lead to a loss in the sense of control among employees.

Trader Joe’s may decide to change its organizational culture due to change in management. A new chief executive officer may be appointed due to death or retirement of the current officer and he decides to change the vision, or culture of the organization.

Q3. Evaluate why you think the culture at Trader Joe’s continues to work for the organization despite the many changes in the company over the years. Did the company culture seem to adapt at the company as it grew over time? Why or why not?

The culture at Trader Joe’s continues to work for the organization due to in-service training programs that it offers. The company offers training to its employees whenever there is change and promotes members from within to serve in newly entered markets. Besides, new recruits receive training to accustom them to the company’s culture. The training offers directions to workers so that they know their responsibilities.

The company culture did not seem to adapt at the company as it grew over time. Much of the company’s principles derive from its parent in Germany called Aldi, and thus, the company had a clearly defined culture from the word go.

Q4. From what you have read in this excerpt, what are some of the employee motivational strategies/theories that Trader Joe’s implements in its culture? Would these strategies be effective and support your needs as an employee? Why or why not?

Trader Joe’s implements equity theory and job characteristics model in its culture. Equity theory states that employees are keen to compare the rewards that they receive for their efforts with what their colleges get. They compare salary levels with input in terms of education, experience and proficiency. If people recognize a disparity in their outcome-input share proportionate to others, tension forms. Such tension stirs motivation, since people seek to attain equity and justice.

The other motivation technique is job characteristic model. This theory proposes a group of aspects that jobs should incorporate so that they can be fulfilling and motivating. The theory holds that a worker will feel internally motivated by her/his job if the job creates three different psychological states (Holzer, 1990). To start with, the worker must feel individually accountable for the results of the job. Second, the employee must recognize the job as being meaningful. This implies that the employee must feel that his contribution is central to the organization. Last, the employee should know how efficient he is transferring ring his efforts into performance. As found in Trader Joe’s case study, employees engage customers because they feel individually responsible and perceive the job as meaningful. Thus, they engage customers in different manners in an effort to transfer their efforts into performance

As an employee, these strategies are effective and they support my needs. I would feel comfortable in an organization that remunerates employees depending on the quantity of their inputs rather than other means. Besides, I would be more confident with a job that I perceive as being meaningful and whereby I am individually accountable for my activities.

Q5. What additional ideas or recommendations would you suggest Trader Joe’s offer their employees to continue to be a trendsetter in corporate culture and organizational motivation techniques?

First, I would suggest that the management should come up with more ways of rewarding employees such as offering employees phased retirement options. For instance, an employee may continue working in the organization for up to two years after retirement, but at a reduced level. Usually, most employees prefer to work at a reduced capacity ahead of retirement and continue to work the same way for several years after retirement.

Second, managers should offer incentives like flex time, working from home and job-sharing to attract more workers that are proficient. Most employees need flexible schedules as they have families and other personal interests that they have to take care of even as they work.

In conclusion, Trade Joe’s holds a corporate culture of valuing employees. When employees are happy, they extend their happiness to customers, who make more purchases and visit the stores more. Trader Joe’s has low employee turnover and this makes it difficult to make internal changes. The company practices equity theory and job characteristics model in ensuring that employees remain motivated.


Abbasi, S., & Hollman, K. (2000). Turnover: The Real Bottom-line. Public Personnel Management, 29(3).

Hale, J. (1998). Strategic Rewards: Keeping your best talent from walking out the door. Compensation & Benefits Management, 14(3), 39-50.

Holzer, H. (1990). The determinants of employee productivity and earnings. Industrial Relations, 29(3), 403-422.

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