Retail Competency: Listening

#Retail Competency: Listening Listening is one of the more important personal skills you can possess in retail and one of the most under-used and/or under-developed competencies. In 2015 we have made some major changes to the way we work in our company by ensuring that we are providing an open forum for our team members to communicate with us and we have made a commitment to them to actively listen and have dialogue around how we can all improve workplace culture. We have implemented programs such as the “Stay Interview” program, which has been a huge success for our business and our employees and our Peer-To-Peer Recognition Program which allows us to truly hear, react, and respond to their needs and ideas. ActiveRead More

Productivity In Retail

Productivity In Retail This is a topic I have been reading a lot about lately now that we are in the throes of the holiday season. This topic is important to me for a couple of reasons: (1) It’s the holidays and the expectation on the field is overwhelming in some companies with tasking, managing sales, providing customer experience, six-day work weeks, people having to sacrifice their holiday to work on Thanksgiving, Hanuakkah and Christmas; (2) If you are an “exempt” employee in retail, you are expected to work excessive hours regardless of how productive or unproductive they are and; (3) There is an abundance of information available to us that shows how unproductive and unhealthy extreme hours are – regardless of industry.Read More

Creativity In Retail

Creativity in Retail Aside from the obvious, that probably popped into you mind, creativity in retail is beneficial in all areas of the business. Clearly, those of us who love Visual Merchandising and creating moments and visual experiences for our customers understand the tangible “creativity”. It used to be that people were categorized in various compartments inside retail. Certainly people that were more “operationally” driven or analytical couldn’t be more creatively inclined and vice versa…the “creative” ones whose forte is visuals and building a beautiful display or a aesthetically perfect denim wall couldn’t possibly be strong in operations. Thankfully, that is not the case any longer (even though titles still exist) and people have found that there is a tremendous amount of creativityRead More

#RetailProblems on Twitter

#RetailProblems On Twitter Especially during this time of year I like to check out #RetailProblems on Twitter. It gives you a snapshot as to what is happening in the field in Retail and what the frustrations are for the employees who work directly in the stores and with customers. I do this so that I can proactively address any irritations that may exist in our business that can, potentially, pull focus away from business, harm employee engagement, and help support anything that we can improve upon that may have been missed in holiday planning. If you do a search on #retailproblems and #retaillife you will see some funny and relevant anecdotes (that we have all experienced) about issues that exist in retail andRead More

Retail Resolutions For The New Year

Retail Resolutions for the New Year New Year’s 2016 is only a few weeks away. For the next couple of weeks we are going to be extremely busy! The field teams will be busy creating amazing customer experiences, getting product in by the truck-load, getting that product on the floor, keeping pace with increased traffic in the stores. It is a very exciting time. Corporate teams are prepping for next year and post-holiday planning. However…once the holiday season comes to a conclusion and things get back to business as usual…it can be a challenge, for some, to go from such excitement back to the normal pace of non-holiday retail. It is always surprising how, post-holiday, everything comes to a, seemingly, screeching halt…the storesRead More

Successful Time Management

Retail Time Management We live in an amazing time. We have access to so much information to help us be better at almost everything. As I coach people in retail and mentor people I find that there is a consistent opportunity to work on a few basic competencies that are more challenging, but that are necessary, to build a foundation for successful retail leadership and one of the key competencies of successful retail leaders is high-productivity. There are a couple of key components to being highly-productive that are opportunity to a lot of new retail leaders: -Time Management -Planning -Delegation Here is the good news…they all impact one another in the workplace so if you choose one to start with – it willRead More

The Most Overused Word In Retail

The Most Overused Word In Retail I am wondering what word(s) popped into your head when you read the headline for this post. I am sure there are lots of retail buzzwords (that are overused and tragically misunderstood or used, but undefined, in your workplace) that are on the tip of your tongue. But…this is my post and it is the holidays in retail so this is about “STRESS”. I hear it every single day – at least 10 times from colleagues. For me it’s a frustrating word to hear so frequently. I have heard it from everyone in retail for my entire career. I feel as though retail employees think that saying they are “stressed” articulates an elevated level of productivity orRead More

Fundamentals for Building an Effective Training Program

Fundamentals For Building Effective #Retail Training Program When I speak to other Retail Culture or Training & Development leaders I can almost hear them (or see them) cringe when I explain that our Training Program is an 8-12 months investment in our new hires and our employees. But then, I am able to help them understand through our retention, profits, and employee engagement results how effective our program is. In 2012 when I created our training program I, literally, had to start from scratch. Even though I had worked in retail for 16 years, at that point, I’d never really experienced great training as a new hire and I had NEVER been developed (other than my personal passion to self-develop). Training, typically, revolvedRead More

Managing Conflict In Retail

Managing Conflict In #Retail Managing conflict is probably one of the more important competencies to possess, as a leader, in retail. Conflict regularly rears it’s ugly head in retail and it comes from, and is directed toward, a lot of people and places within an organization. It exists between leaders and their teams, peers, employees and their boss(es), and/or employees and senior/executive leadership. It’s something as leaders, we deal with, in some form or fashion, at least on a weekly basis. Conflict in retail can revolve around personalities, policies, who assisted a specific customer, scheduling, unspoken perceptions, workload balance…literally, I have seen conflict brew over nothing. There are few things that I have seen fail, miserably, for leaders when trying to deal withRead More

Retail Meetings: How To Make Them Efficient & Effective

Meetings In Retail – How To Make Them Efficient and Effective Meetings…UGH!! Am I right?!? Meetings and conference calls are , frequently, met with a very exaggerated eye roll in retail! They, often, lack inspiration and substance. It’s time to reinvent and structure meetings in a different way in retail. Earlier today I read a great quote from the great Megan Biro of TalentCulture about meetings: “Meetings are certainly the canary in the coalmine; in an authentically transparent company, they reflect everything about that company, including its message and mission.” Everything, all business practices, need to relate back to the company values and mission/vision. Ask yourself – Is the time spent on this meeting and in the meeting going to produce positive, effective,Read More

Celebrating Top Performers In Retail

Top Performers In #Retail I recently read a blog post by Jon Ingham of the “Strategic HCM Blog” regarding a Harvard Business Review article by Ram Charan that stated “2% of people drive 98% impact”. Here is the link to that blog post: Ram Charan’s 2% of the People Drive 98% Impact The accuracy of the statistic is definitely questionable but there is no doubt there are certainly those who are top performers and extremely important to the business. In retail this typically means: that they are top contributors to the business levers that their department is measured on; they are skilled at recruiting talent and filling open positions quickly with right fit people; that they’re on-time (or frequently early) with their projects/deliverables;Read More

70% of Employees Quit Their Jobs Everyday

70% of Retail Employees Quit Their Jobs Everyday (But They Still Keep Showing Up For Work) According to Gallup – 70% of your employees can become disengaged on any given day for a number of reasons. If, according to Harvard Business Review, at Best Buy the value of a 0.1% increase in Employee Engagement in a particular store is $100,000…just think of how employee dis-engagement effects productivity and profitability. In my post “Why Good People Quit In #Retail (And What Compels Them To Stay)” I cover some of the main reasons that people actually leave their jobs. In this post I want to cover a little more about how to keep the teams engaged at work. (A) Employees can become critically disengaged whenRead More

Why Good People Quit Their Retail Company (And What Compels Them To Stay)

Why Good People Quit Their Retail Company (And What Compels Them To Stay) The workplace has all different ways of measuring and assessing “human capital” facts to plan for a variety of expected business changes and to forecast future changes. For example, according to this story from HBR, At Best Buy the value of a 0.1% increase in employee engagement at a particular store is $100,000! Additionally, the article states: Employee attrition can be less of a problem when managers see it coming. Sprint has identified the factors that best foretell which employees will leave after a relatively short time. (Hint: Don’t expect a long tenure from someone who hasn’t signed up for the retirement program.) Interesting, right? I have written several postsRead More

Fostering A Culture of Employee Advocacy

Fostering A Culture Of Employee Advocacy In Retail One white whale of opportunity that I see in much of Retail is to allow employees the freedom (and guidelines) to advocate on a brand’s behalf. I recently read this amazing article by Ben Donkor on LinkHumans – “A Kickstart Guide To Employee Advocacy In Social Media”. This, literally, gives the reader the steps and policies for building a program that manages and supports your team using Social Media to advocate for and help grow your brand and brand loyalty! Employees want to support the growth of the brand but are tentative to share information for a number of reasons: -There is no formal policy around it -They have been told that they aren’t allowedRead More

Hire Innovators and Let Them Innovate

Hire Innovators And Then Let Them Innovate One of my favorite questions when I am interviewing candidates is, “Which is more important – creativity or following policy to the letter?”. I like this question because I really enjoy working with smart, creative, confident thought leaders. The people that answer “creativity” frequently go on to tell me how they made a process or situation better using common sense or innovation to devise the tools they needed. These people are, typically, strong in self-development, asking for stretch assignments and for being highly-productive and proactive with their metric accountability, staffing and people issues, and their time-management. In my experience, the people that answer “following policy” are the people that say they can execute their essential jobRead More