How Enabling Your Employees Will Improve Your Retail Execution

Jan 23, 2013 in Retail

A little while back, I wrote a blog post on Empowering Your Workforce with BYOD. Throughout our blog, we often talk about enabling your employee as if they are your best customer.  I was reminded of this while watching some of the keynote speeches from the NRF’s Big Show 2013.

Kip Tendell, Chairman and CEO of The Container Store, co-headlined the keynote speech on conscious leadership.  During his speech he focused on something that The Container Store does very well, which is  summarized on their blog as follows:

“Businesses are comprised of an interdependent set of stakeholders – employees, customers, vendors, the community and shareholders. At The Container Store, we firmly believe our employee is the #1 stakeholder.”

The employee?!? I thought the customer comes first? I thought, the customer is always right? I thought ___ (insert generic, customer-centric phrase)?

This is an idea that is lost at many major retailers. By putting the employee first, you are STILL putting the customer first.  As Kip puts it, “If you really put the employee first, and take care of her more than anybody else, she will take care of the customer better than anybody else.”

He also mentioned something very important about employee motivations. “The first 25% of an employee’s productivity is mandatory, but the next 75% is voluntary. They only give that in accordance with how they feel about the product, their boss, and the company.” Putting your employee first is the key to unlocking that 75%. He continues by saying, “This causes a fanatical loyalty to the company. That really does lead to customers who feel the same way.”

You can find thousands of retail articles each day that focus on activating your customers through their mobile device.  What about activating your employees through mobile?  What about improving your communications through mobile? What about improving your retail insights through mobile? It is time to start having these conversations within retail operations.

You can checkout the full keynote at the NRF Big Show site here.  Obviously, I think it is well worth a look.