Amazon has been under the microscope this past week following an investigation by the New York Times that exposed unhappy workers, bruising working conditions and an oppressive culture.

It prompted founder Jeff Bezos to state it wasn’t the Amazon he knew, calling on anyone who experienced such conditions to contact him directly.

This is in stark contrast to three examples of a great workplace culture in the convenience industry that I’ve come across this week.

In this week’s issue, RN features editor Tom GK pays a visit to Batleys Bellevue depot in Edinburgh and sees first-hand the importance of staff to a business’s success.

One employee, Chris Goldie, who looks after fruit and veg, has grown weekly sales to £16,000 after being given autonomy to set prices, control margins and choose suppliers.

Depot manager David Howe says the model works because of the expertise of the people working for him.

Demonstrating what a great employer you are will attract brilliant people to your business

Similarly, Sukhi Sidhu from Simply Fresh in Kenilworth has hired the former chef from Kenilworth castle and utilises their skills by turning food waste into tasty and profitable meals.

Aberdeen retailer Leanne McGowan, meanwhile, wants to pay her staff the current living wage but has calculated it would cost her an extra £20,000 a year to raise wages by 30p. She can’t do this yet, so instead she has invested in a creative perks package, which costs her £2,000 a year but makes her staff feel really valued.

Demonstrating what a great employer you are will attract brilliant people to your business. Developing, motivating and retaining them will play a significant part in its success.

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