Retail Career Obstacle: Unwilling To Self-Develop

Retail Career Obstacle: Unwilling To Self-Develop With the New Year quickly approaching I thought I would cover some topics that are opportunities in retail as professional resolutions for 2016. The first topic I wrote about was #Retail Career Obstacle: Defensiveness. Now I want to cover another growth hurdle I have encountered in my career: Self-Development. I am obsessed with self-development because retail, generally, doesn’t have a great track record with training and development or truly investing in the future growth of their employees. Typically, we are hired into roles because we possess the skills needed to positively impact the job description and the competencies that the company feels are relevant to the role. We receive operational training on compliance and policies and that’sRead More

Supporting and Inspiring Change In Retail

Supporting and Inspiring Change In Retail There is an adage that goes “Only three things are certain in life: Birth, Death, and Taxes”. Over the past many years I can, without reservation, add “constant evolution and change in retail” to this list. AND I think that those of us who have been in retail for a while actually enjoy that quality of the business. Change represents challenge and newness to strong leaders. Creative people, especially, enjoy change, it gives us the opportunity to positively communicate change to our teams, we also can, usually, find a fun way to support the team with dealing with the change. Unfortunately, not everyone in retail embraces change. Here is great infographic for why change fails at times.Read More

Scared of Feedback From Your Team? That’s a You Issue

Scared Of Feedback From Your #Retail Team? That’s a YOU Issue One of the biggest challenges I faced when I introduced the Stay Interview Program at work, which includes employee surveys and opportunity for feedback on the senior and executive leadership of the company, was the company leadership’s concern that the feedback would consist of kvetching about “the bosses”. My position was that that would give us the temperature of the team and at least a starting point for culture conversations and programs and where we needed to focus our efforts first. It was the start of this exciting #NewWayToWork – why wasn’t the leadership team more enthusiastic? After the first installment of the survey’s were returned, I compiled the feedback – categorizingRead More

Leadership Transparency In Retail

Leadership Transparency in #Retail I saw this cartoon clip the other day and actually laughed out loud. Then I realized how frequently this situation actually occurs and then it was a little less funny. I remember on a number of occasions joking with my VP of Stores or Company President that I needed a crystal ball to figure out what was happening and what coworkers were thinking. As a leader, I am a strong proponent of sharing. I share a lot with candidates and team members because I want them to feel empowered that they have the information and knowledge to make smart, educated decisions. Knowledge is power and clarity and transparency is paramount to success – both for individuals and collective teams.Read More

Secrets To Being Successful In Retail

Secrets To Being Successful In #Retail Merriam-Webster defines success as this: (a) the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame; (b) the correct or desired result of an attempt; and (c) someone or something that is successful; or a person or thing that succeeds Here are some core competencies of successful people in Retail -Opportunity-Seeking -Initiative -Persistence -Goal Setting -Communication -Fulfilling of Commitments -Calculated Risk Taking -Information Seeking/Self-Development -Persuasion -Influence -Independence -Teamwork -Listening -Concern for quality products -Efficiency -Systematic Planning -Self-Confidence -Assertiveness -Master Strategist -Compassion/Empathy -Decisive -Innovative -Passionate -Direct -Ownership of Results -Sense of Urgency -Self-Discipline I know this list probably seems a little intimidating but most successful people have these competencies hard-wired into their personalities. What I mean by “hard-wired”Read More

To Document or Not To Document

To Document Or Not To Document Retail Performance Issues I am a bit of a legal news nerd and recently, I read a very interesting article on the SHRM website about an offensive employee who is suing his company for a termination. In a nutshell, here is the case: The employee was rude, sarcastic, passive agressive, and just a really terrible communicator. BUT…the company never truly documented any of the issues. A supervisor claims to have spoken to this employee about becoming more “approachable” but there was never any written counseling to support this being a job-threatening performance issue. So then, one day the employee requests FMLA accommodation to care for his son who has a mental illness. The company responds, upon himRead More

Signs You Need To Put You Candidate On The “No” Pile

Retail Hiring – Signs That You Need To Put The Candidate On The “No” Pile Hiring, right?! It’s definitely not an exact science and, occasionally, terrible candidates slip past us and into great roles. Ask any retail person and we can probably tell you about our top 3 terrible hires (my top 3 are doozies)! As leaders, we must have missed something in the interview, we missed one critical question that would have told us that this candidate was a “dud”. Maybe…but quite often the candidate knows how to answer questions because they have researched “commonly asked interview questions”. They know what questions to ask in the “What questions do you have for me” phase, because they have also researched that. Interviewing isRead More

Dynamics Of Highly Productive Teams

Dynamics Of Highly Productive #Retail Teams In a previous post I have written about Celebrating Top Performers In #Retail and about how we need to recognize and appreciate the “A” players on our teams. I have been very lucky and honored to work with some teams where everyone was a contributing “A” player and wanted to share some of those team qualities that make a successful and highly productive (and profitable) team. The individuals who made up these amazing teams all understood a few things: (1) where we were going, (2) wanted to join each other on the journey, (3) were committed to perservering when there were obstacles, and (4) were kind and supportive of each other along the way – always! (1)Read More

Developing Talent In Retail

Developing Talent In Retail Very often I am asked to define my current role of “Director of Culture and Organizational Development”. It is not a role that is found very often in Retail and the going assumption is that it is a Human Resources function. It is not a compliance role (which HR typically is) – it is a creative role that is designed to improve workplace happiness, elevate employee engagement, and ensure employees are challenged and intrigued by their work. My job is almost exclusively to serve the employees of the company and ensure their growth. Unfortunately, in most retail organizations, even though it is not, inherently a HR function…HR takes the reins on coordinating employee hiring and training. In my opinion,Read More

Things Your District Manager Wants To Tell You (But Won’t)

Things Your District Manager Wants To Tell You (But Won’t) If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I have worked in retail for reeeaaalllyyy long time. I have worked in Corporate Office roles and I have worked in field leadership, mostly as a District Manager. The DM role is one of the most critical in the company. They are the liaisons between Corporate, field, and customer. They ensure that all directives from all departments, company wide, are executed. They make sure that between 8 and 20 stores are staffed adequately and that the employees in the stores understand their roles. Some additional things that DM’s do every day: -Recruitment -Hiring -Interviewing -Training -Growth Development -Visual Merchandising -OperationalRead More

Employee Referral Program

  The Importance Of A #Retail Employee Referral Program Things you may not know about Employee Referrals: -The #1 source for quality new hires -Retention of referrals is higher than any other source -Referrals that are hired produce more profit -Referrals are more likely to be a “cultural fit” than other hires -One out of every five referrals gets hired (saving time & $ on recruitment) Great refers great to a great place to work! It is an absolute that Employee Referral Programs produce higher-caliber candidates. There are several ways to institute a program at your workplace: -Internal communication methods (emails,newsletters,call-to-action meetings) -Social Media platforms -Contests -Make your workplace great and the referrals will follow The most effective way to find right-fit candidatesRead More

Poor Performing Teams (And How To Make Them Stronger)

Poor Performing Teams In #Retail (and How To Make Them Stronger) In my work experience I have stepped into roles that were considered very business challenged. Results were soft, teams were incredibly underdeveloped and disengaged, deliverables were consistently late, service levels were sub-par. In one instance I stepped into a business that was ranked 138 out of 141 in performance. The team was of the mindset that they just worked in a challenging market and were unable to do any better. My predecessor had been in the role for 24 years and admitted that, for the last two years of employment, they had “checked out”. It was definitely one of the biggest challenges I faced. The team wasn’t used to coaching, feedback, accountability,Read More

Time To Fill In Retail…And How To Shorten It

Time To Fill In #Retail…And How To Shorten It In a previous post I have discussed my strategy for Retail Interviewing For Job Fit And Cultural Fit which has allowed me to keep my turn extremely low (around 7%-11% compared to an industry median turnover of 67%). Hiring people who are aligned with my professional standards and values, who are innovative, strategic, solution-focused, smart, unique, funny, and business savvy are standards that I will not compromise on. When I meet or find people who I connect with on a professional level, I cultivate that relationship and maintain it so that, when there is an opportunity to work with someone who is aligned with my brand image and cultural standard, they are interested andRead More

Strategies For Becoming A Top Performer

Strategies For Becoming a Top PerfoRmer in #Retail As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have worked in the retail industry for approximately 18 years. In that period of time I have worked for many inspiring (and some not so inspiring) people in a variety of roles. I have aspired, in my career, to be an inspirational leader to my team members based on the qualities of the leaders I most admire. Even some of my less inspiring leaders have taught me a lot about what “not” to do to ensure I was the most effective and engaging leader possible. In my career I have also had some amazing team members that I have been fortunate to work with who were openRead More

Deadly Sins Of Communication

Deadly Sins of Communication in Retail I recently read an article on HBR.com titled “The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders“. According to the article “91% of employees say communications issues can drag executives down“. The article cited that there is a “clear lack of #emotionalintelligence among business leaders” that culminates in the following leadership traits: bullying, narcissism, micromanaging, etc. Here are a couple of the statistics that really stood out to me -Not recognizing employee achievements (63%) -Not giving clear directions (57%) -Not having time to meet with employees (52%) -Refusing to talk to subordinates (51%) -Not knowing employees names (36%) Some additional communication faux pas’ I have witnessed: -Using excessive profanity in verbal communication -Gossiping about subordinates or co-workers toRead More