The Men’s Wearhouse

The Men’s Wearhouse (TMW) is a case of unexpected success in the men’s clothing industry during the 1990s, a time when other men’s retailers were seeing rapid declines in sales.  The question we are left with is can The Men’s Wearhouse sustain their success?

George Zimmer, founder and chairman of TMW, operates under the premise that his employees are his customers.  Thus, their culture and policies are formulated to emphasize that belief.  Zimmer asserts that taking care of the company’s employees, especially in retail, is critical to employees treating actual customers with extra care.  In order to take care of their employees, TMW offers a higher wage than other retail clothing stores, provides training/morale events, and provides a servant leadership management style.

TMW identifies five stakeholders (in order of importance to the company): employees, customers, vendors, the community, and then to its shareholders.  This is significant because it acknowledges the importance of ensuring the top line is taken care of for sustained growth for the bottom line.  Although the article does not go into detail about TMW’s shareholder, they are clearly the kind of long-term/forward thinking shareholders that anyone who owns a public company should dream about.

Although I like the philosophy behind TMW, I am curious how it is actually implemented.  Though teamwork is encouraged and people can and have been fired for sharking, incentive programs aimed at individuals seem to inherently promote competition.  Maybe having the rhetoric and visible repercussions in place for people who are not team players is enough if you find the right people.

If TMW is able to maintain its culture that values its employees, they will continue to thrive because those employees will go out of their way to make sure the company is a success.

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