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

Interviewing For Emotional Intelligence & Maturity

#Retail Interviewing For #JobFit & #CulturalFit Creating a culture that is based on Core Values and Workplace Happiness is a responsibility of the company to their employees. Providing a culture as has that focus on values is definitely conducive to higher engagement, higher productivity, and higher profits. However…the employees must meet the company in their work ethic and quality of work. They need to bring self-motivation and the desire to be developed. They need to embrace the company values and work, also, to create their own happiness at work. Not everyone will fit into the company culture nor is every candidate able to meet the basic needs of a job. Ensuring that you are publishing a thorough and honest job description will absolutelyRead More

How To Make It Through Tough Retail Moments

How To Make It Through Tough Retail Moments So we work in Retail…and though we would like it to be – it’s not always a positive and fun environment. There are tough times or rough patches on occasion and it’s not so much about the cause of the rough patches but in how they are dealt with by each individual that will define our retail mettle. Over the course of the last few days I have had conversations with past team members regarding the challenges they are having at work. Business challenges have resulted in desperate measures and rash directions from Home Office for the field team. The culture – which was always a bit challenging – has become more chaotic and franticRead More

Work/Life Balance

Work-Life Balance In #Retail I have been in retail for approximately 18 (sigh) years. I have worked in large, very-organized, and structured companies. I have also worked in smaller, start-up like organizations. Even though these businesses were extremely different in many ways – they did have some significant similarities. Two of these similarities are a tremendously heavy workload and lack work-life balance . WHY? Why do exorbitant hours worked really = someone who is considered a productive or loyal team member? Why isn’t high-quality of work the sign of a highly-productive, loyal, engaged team member? Or retention? Or metric performance? Or team happiness? Or efficiency? Or the ability to be a top performer and support others with their responsibilities? Remember the movie “TheRead More

Peer-To-Peer Recognition Programs

Peer-To-Peer Recognition Program in Retail One of the most effective programs I have introduced into my business in the past nine months has been a formal Peer-To-Peer Recognition Program. As discussed in previous posts, work relationships are a huge factor in workplace happiness for employees. A big part of cultivating a culture that supports healthy work relationships is to allow the employees to recognize each other for what they bring to the business, how they epitomize the company values, or how they support their co-workers. What is Peer-To-Peer Recognition? According to Baudville it is the “genuine expression of appreciation exchanged between co-workers“. What does Peer-To-Peer Recognition do? It increases visibility for employee achievements (both individual & collectively), it connects employees across locations, andRead More

Stay Interviews

In previous posts I have mentioned “Stay Interviews” and what a great tool they are as it relates to company culture. I thought I would take this opportunity to expand on this program and how powerful it can be to Workplace Happiness and Career Growth for employees. As far as the traditional annual performance review goes, you can see in the graphic to the left that a good majority of employees don’t believe this to be a true indicator of their performance. According to an SHRM survey even “90% of HR professionals do not believe their companies performance appraisals provide accurate information”. It is clearly a time for change and reinvention of the process. Transitioning to a “Stay Interview” model in many retailRead More