People First at Costco

Posted on April 17, 2019 by Nate Regier / 2 comments
Share via

Despite the domination of mega-retailers like Amazon and Walmart, Costco wholesale club is thriving. They’ve posted seven percent growth the past year, e-commerce is growing, and worker satisfaction is off the charts.

How do they do it? A smart, emotionally intelligent approach, says Justin Bariso, who studied Costco’s success and wrote about it in this article. 

People First

From pay raises, to flexible work hours, to paid parental leave, a people-centered culture is priority number one.

Customer Centered

Giving customers what they want is Costco’s obsession. Whether it’s the carefully chosen but limited selection of just the most desired items, or their liberal return policy, keeping customers happy is what matters.

This isn’t rocket science. Yet it’s refreshing to see examples of successful large companies doing the right thing.

What is your secret to business success? Can you narrow it down to one or two things? I’d love to hear your answer.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019

Book Your Next Keynote Speaker

Dr. Nate Regier

Author and Co-founder of Next Element, Dr. Nate Regier is available to speak at your upcoming event.

Submit a Speaker Request

Podcast: Listen to Nate "On Compassion"

On Compassion with Dr. Nate Listen to the Podcast

Join Our Community

Want To Republish Our Posts?


Photo of Phil Fagan
Phil Fagan
Posted on April 17, 2019

FIRST – Listen empathically to your staff and market (in that order)
SECOND – In response, articulate what Management stands for and exactly what it PLANS to do & WHY

Leave comment for this reply

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Photo of Riesah Prock
Riesah Prock
Posted on April 18, 2019

Thanks Nate, for this very good testimonial for Costco. Things must be different in the States from what I experienced here in Alberta. Yesterday many people who came out early to shop for Easter and who had full carts with their items were waiting in long lines going into the store’s aisles. After waiting for quite some time to reach the cashier, i saw she had no one helping her load the cart and it was this that held up the smooth flow of people into and out of the store.

When I was done I went to the member desk and asked to speak to someone about this. First I was advised to send in a note written to Costco managers. I’ve done this a number of times, but have never received a response to my questions about food items, etc. Instead, I asked to speak to someone “in charge” the fellow who came out began by giving me the usual talk, but with no actionable steps he would take to ameliorate the situation, which he clearly could see for himself.

What he seemed to be missing is that Costco is a member run operation and at the time customers were not only paying their club dues, buying the food, but also paying the highest price: their time.
Over the years time is the only resource we are given and I personally dislike having mine wasted. In
addition the person at the cash was having to work double duty and taking the flak from others who
also shared my view.

When pressed he said he’d speak to the front of store manager, would look to see how many hours they’d logged for Thursday, which would be even crazier than Wednesday and if sufficient people were set to work then. To me he appeared a bit prickly, as if I’d somehow insulted him with my query
and his responses to me were clipped and didn’t’ seem to come from a place of wanting to be of
service. Belatedly, he offered an apology, to me who had the nerve to question his management.

It’s this kind of response not only to me, a customer/member, but also to many of the story personnel who, I learned, had spoken up about such things a number of times, only to be rebuffed and treated like “who are you to question my authority?” I can’t say if this is the condition in all stores, but I do shop in a number of them in my travels and I can say I encounter this attitude from time to time.

Photo of Nate Regier
Nate Regier
Posted on April 18, 2019

Riesah, thank you for your comments. I bet Costco would not be happy about this.

Leave comment for this reply

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Leave comment for this reply

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.