Case study p.224, Questions 1 & 2 p.225.
Part Five Video Case
Hot Topic: Employees with Passion
Hot Topic Incorporated, located in City of Industry, California, is a retailer that licenses various products, such as t-shirts, clothes, and accessories geared toward alternative and pop culture with an emphasis on modern music trends. The average age of the employees at Hot Topic is 25 years old. Hot Topic Incorporated reaches its customers through its two retail store lines—Hot Topic and its sister store, Torrid. Hot Topic offers a myriad of cultural items as well as accessories and clothing aimed at a younger market segment. Torrid is a fashion store offering modern, trendy clothing catering to plus-size women. This organization has been cited on the “Best Small Companies” and “Best Companies to Work For” lists many times over its 20-year history. Betsy McLaughlin is the CEO of Hot Topic Incorporated. McLaughlin believes that the culture at Hot Topic is based on a passion for a concept. For Hot Topic, that passion is music, and for Torrid, it is fashion. McLaughlin says that the passion for the products and the inspiration behind them is what makes her company different from many others, and the passion that drives the culture is shared across all levels and positions of the organization. In fact, McLaughlin claims that music inspires not only the products they sell, but also store design and even the people they hire. Hot Topic has a unique corporate culture but structurally does not differ tremendously from other organizations. Employees are fiercely loyal to the firm as a result of the great working environment where they feel they can “fit in” and be appreciated for what they contribute to the organization. One example of how Hot Topic encourages fitting in is its “concert reimbursement” program. Employees can attend a concert and bring someone with them, fill out an expense report, and be reimbursed for the cost of their tickets. The only requirement...
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