Retailers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from Insights 2018. Your employees will, too.
WHAT: Insights 2018
WHEN: Sept. 14-15
8 Learning Labs – 11 Topics – 5 Networking Opportunities – 17 Events
Cory Poirier likes to tell the story about the day he was eating lunch with a client at a restaurant. So impressed was Poirier with the waiter’s attentiveness and hustle, that when it came time to leave, Poirier pulled out one of his trademark business cards and left it on the table:
Thanks for serving with excellence!
You are making a difference!
After the lunch Poirier and his client were in the restaurant’s parking lot. Even though the client had already paid the bill, Poirier likes to leave his own, separate tip. He forgot to that day, so he went back inside. The waiter was almost in tears. “He told me this was by far the best tip he’d gotten in the two years he’d been working there,” Poirier recalls. “Think about that for a minute. The waiter’s best tip in two years didn’t even involve money. It was all about being recognized and praised for a job well done.”
Getting employees to be more engaged and buy in to your culture—sales to delivery—is the message Poirier hopes to impart to attendees of next month’s Insights 2018 conference in Minneapolis. Poirier points to a survey from HR consult Ceridian that says just 23 percent of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. “That means three quarters of us are showing up for a paycheck and nothing else,” says Poirier. “That’s three-quarters of your workforce who might be sabotaging your store’s mission.”
Poirier says there are two ways to engage employees and make them feel valued. The first is to provide them with as much training as they can take. “We’ve all heard the saying, ‘When people stop growing they stop living,’” says Poirier. “That’s especially true in business. Your store should be providing learning opportunities before the sale and after—and not just with sales. Every department can benefit from training.”
Poirier says it’s important to offer the training even if the employee decides to one day leave and take that knowledge elsewhere. “It’s telling that employee you are doing this for them, not for the business,” says Poirier. “That’s a powerful message to send to employees and sometimes that’s incentive enough to stay.”
The second way to engage employees and make them feel valued is to empower them to make decisions on behalf of the company. Poirier says many companies known for their customer service and customer experience—United Airlines and Disney, for example—are also companies that have empowered their employees with more responsibilities.
“If a Disney cast member sees someone at one of their parks drop an ice cream cone, the first thing that cast member does is go clean it up,” he says. “But the second thing they do is scoop another ice cream without charging for it.”
Last year, United Airlines announced, with much fanfare, that it was granting its boarding agents more authority to better compensate travelers who were inconvenienced or bumped from a flight.
Again, says Poirier, two people are served here. “First, the customer is taken care of immediately, but the employee gets an important message, too,” says Poirier. “Now the employee has a bigger stake in the company. Now they feel invested in the bigger picture of your business.”
Poirier says a lot of smaller companies are quick to rationalize they can’t manage the added expenses that can come with training and empowering a small staff. “That’s where they’re wrong,” he says. “The training pays for itself 10 to 100 times over with repeat customers who enjoyed their experience.”
Poirier is one of several speakers who will help retailers improve the customer experience in their stores at Insights in Minneapolis, Sept. 14-15. But Poirier and the other marquee speakers aren’t the only ones ready to teach and inspire.
One of the unique qualities to HFA’s conferences is the willingness of attendees to help one another out.
“You’re not just learning from our panel of experts,” says Sharron Bradley, CEO of the Home Furnishings Association, “you’re going to be learning from your peers. There’s no better group of experts than the members of our association.”
Best of all, says Bradley, Insights attendees will take in all this learning and sharing over a weekend.
“Retailers will want to be back in their stores first thing Monday to start implementing what they learn,” says Bradley.