How Nordstrom’s culture and values support career and company growth

Instagram Takeover

Nordstrom took over our Instagram feed for an entire week to share career stories from its Galleria Dallas store. Check out @this_is_retail on Instagram to go behind the scenes at this top retail company.

An interview with Nordstrom Director of Talent Acquisition Mary Porter

The first part of our interview with Nordstrom Director of Talent Acquisition Mary Porter explored how the company attracts talented employees. In this follow-up conversation, we look at how the brand’s culture and values support career and company growth.

Mary Porter, Nordstrom director of talent acquisition

Mary Porter, Nordstrom director of talent acquisition

How would you describe Nordstrom’s company culture?

Since we first opened our doors in 1901, we’ve been committed to providing our customers with the best possible service. Every Nordstrom employee (whether they work on the sales floor or in a support position) is focused on making people feel good, and our culture is centered on creating an environment where our people feel supported and empowered to do just that. We encourage our employees to work as though it’s their name on the door — to build their own business and do what they feel is right to build lasting relationships with their customers.

A photo posted by This Is Retail (@this_is_retail) on Sep 21, 2015 at 11:00am PDT

Jamie Nordstrom told students last year at the Shop.org Summit that they should “join a company whose values align with yours.” What are Nordstrom’s values, and how do they make a job at Nordstrom unique?

We know that great service starts with our people, which is why we look for people who value hard work, creativity, entrepreneurialism, collaboration and competition. We find that these qualities each enable our people and our business to achieve success. We also place a strong emphasis on recognition, finding lots of creative and meaningful ways to celebrate and thank our employees when they work hard and succeed.

A photo posted by This Is Retail (@this_is_retail) on Sep 24, 2015 at 11:01am PDT

What’s a typical career path at Nordstrom? (Is there a typical career path?)

While there are some areas that have a more typical career path, we place a significant value on experiences and will work with each employee to develop the path that best aligns with their capabilities and interests. By allowing employees to work across teams and in different areas throughout their career, they are often better positioned for larger assignments because of their expanded knowledge and experience.

In our stores, a typical career path is to start as a selling employee or intern and from there move into an assistant manager position; a department manager role is next and then a divisional retail merchandiser role. This is where employees usually make a choice about moving into the merchant division to participate in buying roles or to go the route of store leadership which would move them into a Rack store manager role. The options start to open up at this point in an employee’s career and the path becomes less defined and more focused on the individual employee’s desire and strengths.

A photo posted by This Is Retail (@this_is_retail) on Sep 23, 2015 at 5:00pm PDT

What about your own career in retail? 

I’m probably a good example of someone who has benefited from a non-traditional career path because of all the diverse opportunities retail can offer! Throughout my career, I’ve worked in a number of different areas, including e-commerce, business information, technology and human resources.

A photo posted by This Is Retail (@this_is_retail) on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:59pm PDT

See more photos from the #NordstromTakeover and explore retail’s impact on careers, community and innovation: Follow @this_is_retail on Instagram.