Happy Employees, Happy Customers: Retailers’ Path to Success

This year, the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, held in New York City, featured as speakers the leaders of some of the largest companies in the United States, such as Walmart, Petco, Pepsi, Kroger, Target, and Chobani. The most relevant topics presented by this prominent group of speakers focused on the management of employees, the shopping experience, the importance of customer retention, and new and emerging technologies, which are necessary for an environment with many organizational challenges.

In this article, we will focus on the theme developed by several speakers regarding people and the benefits of concentrating the organization’s management on the principle of happy employees, happy customers.

Shameek Konar of Pilot Company mentioned that the customer experience begins with the team member experience. “If our employees, our team members, feel good about where they work and what they do, we automatically get a much better customer experience.”

Konar calls the “cycle of excellence” at the company “putting the team experience first and the customer experience second so that it translates into financial results, which allows you to continue to fund the team experience.”

Related Article: Are Grocers Focusing Enough on the Customer Experience?

Other companies like Petco offer external customers, “buyers,” a vital pet care program, and a program for internal customers, “employees,” that allows them to attend a veterinary technology school. Two goals aligned with their business purpose: “Working with pets and making a positive impact gives us meaning at Petco.”

Kelly Pedersen, head of US retail at PwC, also mentioned how they invest in the well-being of their employees, supporting them to improve their skills and seeking to automate front-line processes to decrease transactional workload and make their lives more fulfilling and exciting.

For his part, PepsiCo Foods North America CEO Steven Williams commented that management is committed to developing its people by allowing them to advance in life, develop professionally and improve themselves for personal fulfillment.

To this end, PepsiCo North America offers employees free education, from vocational/technical training to community technical colleges and four-year university studies. Since 2015, the company has set a goal of 50/50 women in management positions, and by now, they are achieving it.

Hamdi Ulukaya, president of Chobani, spoke of the benefit of hiring refugees as a strategy to achieve an engaged workforce. He noted that this group does not give up. They are always looking for ways to survive and adapt and are eager to return to work. Ulukaya considers it a winning relationship because his companies impact the lives of refugees by giving them the opportunity to make relationships, learn more about life, and be part of the community and the country.

As Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette commented, the theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion remained present as in previous years because organizations must represent the society in which we live.

He made the analogy with a sports team in which each member has what they need to contribute to their fulfillment. In return, they should be offered mentoring, training, motivation, or sponsorships.

A Target store executive mentioned how they are developing their teams to help them grow professionally and personally with a program they call “Dream to be.” She shared her experience with the leadership immersion meetings they organize, including Latino and women’s leadership sessions where they share testimonials with employees showing how the Target culture comes alive in the stores.    

What stood out most among the presentations were the leadership lessons shared by Ron Coughlin, CEO of Petco, when he referred to a reflection by Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft: “There are people who take away and others who give energy to the organization,” and related it to the triangle of physical, spiritual and intellectual health that must be in balance for a person to be able to give energy.

Hence, exercising, sharing with the family, and eating healthy are important. 

In general, all executives shared the vision of a more human organization and the importance of management to direct efforts to improve the customer and associate experience, seeking well-being and the support of new technologies to simplify their tasks.

One of Competitive Commerce’s purposes is to support store management in developing an organizational culture centered on their employees with a “mindset” belief system that reinforces service values such as kindness, respect, and compassion.

We offer technology solutions ranging from recruiting staff to match management, measuring internal and external customer satisfaction, identifying opportunities for improvement, and mapping out an internal development plan to make stores the best place to work and shop.

We also have store applications to make your staff more productive by automating store management, improving compliance with SOP standards, providing greater visibility of the operation, centralized task dispatching, defining responsibilities and response time for follow-up, reporting incidents to streamline, and resolving them, ensuring communication with all your employees quickly and effectively, and obtaining real-time traceability and feedback. For more information, contact us at [email protected].

Article courtesy of Comercio Competitivo.