LAS VEGAS — Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market encourages employees — as part of their basic training — to “choose their attitude” in dealing with difficult situations, Tim Mason, the chain’s chief executive officer, said here last week.
Speaking at the annual strategic conference of the California Grocers Association, Mason said the approach Fresh & Easy uses in its training is largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice.
“The main goals of the training are to give people the skills and tools to cope with stress, regulate emotions and improve their relationships with others,” he explained. “The training teaches people to balance their rational and emotional feelings and gives them better alternatives than feeling frustrated with the boss, upset about the fresh load that didn’t show up or even feeling like the wife and kids hate them at home.
“I have seen a middle-aged man cry in front of his course mates — crying with relief to realize everyone has a doubting voice in their heads, not just him.”
New employees get three hours of attitude training, while managers get a full week, Mason said. “What I tell the employees is, ‘You are our most precious resource, and I guarantee that you will never be managed by someone who hasn’t been trained to be a manager.’
“If you help your staff live their lives better, they will pay you back time and time again. It is a virtuous circle.” Fresh & Easy, based in El Segundo, Calif., is a division of U.K.-based Tesco .