Adding Value To Your Retail Organization

Adding Value To Your Retail Organization

Something that has become of a bit of a buzz-phrase in retail is “adding value”. However, this is actually kind of a big deal and something that great retail team members understand. From a leadership perspective: When we invite – by recruiting and sourcing talent – people onto our teams we are inviting them for a few reasons [or at least we should be]:

  • They would complement our company culture;
  • They would complement our team dynamic;
  • They display some/most of the critical success factors that define our top performers;
  • They would be a benefit and future leader in the organization;
  • They are seemingly aligned with the organization’s vision and values;
  • They are passionate about their career path and future direction

They are likely to add value to the business through being a high-potential and enthusiastic contributor,  innovative and driven team member/leader, a committed and ruthless truth-teller and solution-seeker, and supportive of the brand through being an active brand advocate.  After all – if they aren’t positioned to add value what is the point of having them on your team?

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From an employee perspective: When it comes to career advancement and career path planning, the biggest question has to do with your value to the organization [contrary to the longevity criteria too many retail organizations use]. Truly great places to work measure value and contribution. What are you doing to contribute to the bottom line? Remember, as an employee of a retail organization, you’re an investment and your career path is an investment. The organization pays you a salary, formulates a culture conducive to happiness and productivity, and expects results and performance consistency.

One of the signs of a great retail leader is one who can present a job description that is vivid and colorful…even though it may appear to be a simply a list of tasks, those tasks are designed to achieve specific, valuable outcomes for the company. Great leadership and high-potential employees can connect the dots of those “tasks” to the organization’s mission, values, and objectives. How well you complete the whole of these tasks is the amount of value the company receives—and thus, the level of value you’re contributing and any “great place to work” will recognize and reward your contributions that exceed expectation or “good enough” performance results.

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8 Ways To Add Value To Your Organization

  • Be A Part Of The Bottom Line: If you want to be valuable to your company, then you need to contribute to its bottom line. Simply put – you need to help it make money and achieve all targets. Otherwise, it’s not worth it to your company to keep you around. Make a concerted effort to connect to what it is that makes your company money, and focus on the talents and skills that you have that will contribute to those things. Look at your part inside the goals and objectives to determine if you are delivering top productivity and results. In today’s fast-paced, evolving, and shifting priority roller coaster of retail – none of us has time to do everything, so we are faced with the trade-off every day. Focus on those items that use your time and resources most effectively so that you connect back to the bottom line. Think what has the greatest impact on the customer experience.

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  • Always Remember That Time Is Money: In order to do this efficiently you have to understand the goals and objectives of your role and how…what you produce affects others. Great employees have a bias towards action and they “ship” which means they get their work done on-time or early to ensure they are not holding anyone else up and they are not delivering work that is sub-par. The most valuable commodity you have is your own time and how you spend it. Spend it wisely. Executive leadership wants to know that you can execute your plan, assess and reshape quickly – if necessary, and use plain words and actionable, but innovative, ideas to achieve the desired results. It speaks volumes about someone who gets their work done – and done extremely well – inside working hours. This shows dedication, commitment, and business savvy. This does not mean that anyone should be working 55 – or 60+ hours a week. What that communicates is that your time management and prioritization skills are soft.
  • Avoid Toxic Coworkers: Especially working inside retail, we are social beings. We like to be connected and know our colleagues that we are interacting with everyday and there is absolutely a value to workplace relationships. But getting work done and achieving excellent results must be the priority to add value. There are all types of coworkers and even the benign ones can be toxic if they suck time from your day. Time that you need to be focusing and concentrating on work. But to be truly productive you need to stay away from the gossips, the critics, and the pathologically negative influences at work. Being able to be aligned with things and people that are positive and forward thinking in your business will show your commitment to bringing value to your role and organization.

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  • Show Your Ability To Self-Develop: Most retail organizations have a finite amount of budget allocated to training and development programs, unfortunately. So showing that you are proactively willing and able to upskill and learn new competencies, stay up-to-date on our evolving industry, learning about the organizational and reporting structure of your company will silently show that you are a loyal and interested employee who is, likely, committed to the purpose of the brand/business – not just the paycheck. Taking this a step further – being able to build collaborative working relationships with your peers and sharing your gained knowledge will show your bosses that you are a great team player, which is hugely valuable.
  • Be A Confident – But Flexible – Innovator: In the retail workplace there are lots of followers, and innovative solution finders are difficult to come by. However, there is never a shortage of opinions in retail. So, being able to bring your ideas and thoughts to your senior leaders and/or colleagues and explain them clearly is a big value. But to be able to truly listen to different perspectives and points-of-view and incorporate any suggestions that are great and meaningful into your plan/program will show that you value and are open to collaboration and that you recognize others value.


  • Don’t Be Greedy: In other words, don’t ask for more than you deserve. This is possibly a provocative point-of-view to take but it’s true. There are so many retail employees that have a sense of entitlement [for example: they believe that because they have seniority in their position they should be promoted] inside their organizations but – it doesn’t [nor should it] work like that. Recognition and reward should be earned, not expected. Meeting the expectations and achieving “good enough” results…that’s what we are paid to do. Giving more than expected, achieving more than planned, being early with projects, supporting your team when they need help – these are value adding behaviors. If you work for a great leader they will articulate the value you bring [and recognize you for it] but you also need to stop on occasion and evaluate the value you deliver to your organization, your coworkers, your boss(es), and the culture and strategize how to deliver greater results.
  • Use Intuition As A Form Of Intelligence: In most retail organizations there is no shortage of data but, as mentioned earlier, great employees have a bias towards action. They use context, experience, intuition, and data to make smart business decisions that are aligned with the vision, values, and goals of the business. The ability to assess your plan of action while executing it to make changes or react to results is key to this being a value competency to your workplace. We can choose to get lost in the data analysis and “what if’s” – but people who bring value drive results and are committed to being successful by design – not by chance, and are determined to get started sooner rather than later.

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  • Collaborative & REAL Communication: Communicating with people is an opportunity not only to share relevant information, but also to build relationships with them at the same time. With all the forms of impersonal electronic communication available today, our interactive and engaging conversations are becoming extinct. Not only are texts and e-mails inefficient and sometimes carried to ridiculous extremes and used against coworkers, they are also costing us our personal relationships. Retailer organizations want employees who will interact and communicate openly with their coworkers and solve problems [that’s our job, after all]. If you can’t interact with people directly, your value is limited inside the business. Don’t let that be the case.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail. Published writer. Frequent Podcast Guest. Speaker. Twenty year [oy vey!] retailer. I am passionate about leadership development and workplace culture. 646 246 1380 | [No Sales Contact, please} But it you want to call just to say hello or have a question - that's awesome!

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