David Green: Valuing People Over Profits (Part 1)

by Amber Middleton

Historically, Hobby Lobby has always chosen to emphasize people over profits.  Is this a sound business strategy?  Apparently, yes.  From the company’s humble beginnings in 300 square feet of retail space, Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green now oversees close to 20,000 employees and 514 stores.  Forbes estimates his net worth at over four billion dollars, but Green’s primary focus is on his employees and customers, not the bottom line.

Current and former Hobby Lobby employees give the company a 4 out of 5 star rating on employment site Indeed.com.  One former employee wrote: “This company is on the right track!  Hobby Lobby puts the customer first. Everyone worked together as a team and this company enjoyed seeing their employees happy too! That is why it is fun to shop there; customers can sense a good attitude and relax.” 

To give employees family time, stores close all day on Sundays and at 8 p.m. other days. Green believes that raising wages is a way to reward employees for the company’s success.  Although his competition is open much more than 66 hours per week, Green says the shorter work week benefits Hobby Lobby’s bottom line by attracting quality employees.  Hobby Lobby’s full-time employees benefit from a minimum wage of $13 per hour, which also has worked to the company’s advantage. “It hasn’t been a cost…. You don’t have to retrain, which is very costly. They don’t come and go. If they are making $7.25 an hour working for you, they can go down the street and make $7.25 an hour, so they are more likely to leave.”

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