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Trader Joe’s Stores’ Teamwork and Motivation


“Trader Joe’s has become a multi-billion dollar national chain partly through its ability to find cheap real estate, skip name brands, and smartly manage its supply chain” (Sheeran, Harris & Epton, 2014, p. 511). The employees of Trader Joe’s are very friendly. They are ready to go to all extent just to make sure their customers are well served. They engage the customers in friendly talk. The type of service customers receive in the stores is very different from what they receive from other conventional supermarkets. The conventional supermarkets are experiencing high turnover, never ending complaints from the staff, and poor customer service.

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The products offered in Trader Joe’s stores are unique and have high quality. The stores have a variety of products, and this provides a fun shopping environment for customers. Apart from its products, the business maintains a cordial relationship with its suppliers (Nuttin, 2014).

Elements from Trader Joe’s motivational plan

Most of the employees within the business are satisfied with their positions. This has been made possible using various motivational plans. The motivational plans are characterized by the following significant elements:


Operation within Trader Joe’s is informal. The employees are not only fixed to one job description, but they are free to multitask. The employees are allowed to make their decisions regarding the operations in the stores. This element encourages productivity of the staff.


Trader Joe’s provides a thorough extensive training to its employees. The employees are not only trained in one area, but in many. This training enables them to provide quality work and multitask without any difficulty.


The company believes that the key to its success lies within their employees. “The attitude within the corporate office is that the people it hires, trains, and promotes are just as important as the lower prices and products it carries” (Hwang, Kettinge & Yi, 2013, p. 177). The employees are valued and respected. This motivational plan reduces employee turnover.

Motivational theory

The motivational theory being applied in the company is Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Fredrick Herzberg coined the theory, which offers an understanding on the implication of motivation in the workplace. In his theory, Fredrick provides two factors that play a big role in determining the motivation of employees (Nuttin, 2014). The two factors are:

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  • Hygiene factors – absence of hygiene factors can make the employees be dissatisfied with their jobs. Examples of these factors are job security, salary, organizational policies, quality of supervision, and working conditions.
  • Satisfiers or motivators – these are the major factors to job motivation and satisfaction. Examples of this factor are achievement, responsibility, recognition, and growth opportunities. Managers can make improvements in the company while observing the needs of employees.

Ways of motivating minimum wage service worker

Managing employees who are earning low wages is difficult because they have low motivation. However, there are various ways that can be used by employers to motivate these employees. The ways are:

  1. “Rewards – the efforts of employees can be recognized through rewarding them with things such as shoes, trousers or T-shirts” (Hwang, Kettinge & Yi, 2013, p. 178). The rewards fall under Herzberg two-factor theory, especially in the hygiene factor.
  2. “Positive work environment – the work environment should encourage employees to work hard” (Hwang, Kettinge & Yi, 2013, p. 179). It should be designed to make the staff have fun. This condition will increase employee-customer relation. This motivational plan it categorized under Herzberg two-factor theory (Sheeran et al, 2014).
  3. Career advancement opportunities – a low wage employee can be motivated through the possibility of career advancement. The management can achieve this by training and helping the employees climb the ladder. This plan falls under the Alderfer’s ERG theory.
  4. Good communication with the workers – good communication and regular meeting with the employees will enable the staff to know what is to be done at all time. This will make employees feel important. Good communication relates to relatedness need, which falls under the Alderfer’s ERG theory.

Team performance

“Understanding interpersonal dynamics in teams can help managers identify the optimal arrangement of individuals to ensure team success and high performance” (Bradley, Klotz, Postlethwaite & Brown, 2013, p. 385). However, a number of factors affect team performance. Examples are:

  1. Communication – poor communication will hinder a group from achieving its goal because group members will not understand the scope of a goal.
  2. Attitude – negative attitude hinders group cooperation. It will be hard to interact with a person having a negative attitude.
  3. Behaviors – undesirable behavior will cause a rift in a group. Group members will group themselves according to their behaviors, and this will reduce group productivity.
  4. Culture – according to a number of researches done, it has been proved that groups with individuals from different cultural diversity are likely to perform well.

Leading a work team

It is essential for a team leader to develop a guide for leading his/her group. The guide will propel a group towards achieving its goals (Dyer, Dyer & Dyer, 2013). The following vital skills are necessary for leading a group:

  • The team leader should establish clarity in every task.
  • Team connection should be properly built.
  • Be able to resolve issues.
  • The group needs to focus on team action.
  • Increasing the strength of group capabilities.
  • Improve and increase team performance.


Bradley, B. H., Klotz, A. C., Postlethwaite, B. E., & Brown, K. G. (2013). Ready to rumble: How team personality composition and task conflict interact to improve performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 385-410.

Dyer, W. G., Dyer, J. H., & Dyer, W. G. (2013). Team building: Proven strategies for improving team performance. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Hwang, Y., Kettinger, W. J., & Yi, M. Y. (2013). A study on the motivational aspects of information management practice. International Journal of Information Management, 33(1), 177-184.

Nuttin, J. (2014). Future time perspective and motivation: Theory and research method. London, UK: Psychology Press.

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Sheeran, P., Harris, P. R., & Epton, T. (2014). Does heightening risk appraisals change people’s intentions and behavior? A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Psychological bulletin, 140(2), 511-570.

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