Unstoppable Workplace Culture is Built on Authenticity
By Gail E. Amsterdam, Founder, CEO, and Chief Talent Curator, Amsterdam Associates
Another jewel that was front and center at multiple panels during the NRF’s 2023 Big Show was putting each organization’s unique workplace culture on display. Many speakers emphasized the importance of their businesses existing in a healthy space; a space where its employees, leaders, and customers have the opportunity to thrive. Incorporating these sentiments into your mix will result in your teams and customers being exhilarated and inspired.
PETCO reported the company has re-engineered its culture dramatically with technology. Ron Coughlin, PETCO’s CEO, shared how the retailer changed their designation of stores to “Pet Care Centers,” creating a platform to serve the many diversified needs of its Pet Parents. They transformed the business into PETCO being more than a retailer, but as a health and wellness company serving their 25 million pet parents.
To achieve its goals, the company focused on accessing valuable information. Like, what its customer needs were and how to better service them. Soon after, management realized its associates in the Pet Care Centers needed more help from their corporate partners. PETCO made sure the executive team acted much more as a support vehicle to them in this circumstance.
“It’s not enough to just keep your employees safe, you have to also be concerned with their overall well-being,” said Steven Williams, CEO of Pepsi. “Healthy, motivated, well-trained, and diverse associates are vital.”
PETCO uses its loyalty programs and one-stop shopping for food, training, grooming, and medical care. These services are available after developing valuable business partners, including partnering with over 200 Vets system-wide to serve its Pet Parents and their pets better.
Target’s senior leadership stressed how the company’s key strategy around culture, not only adds to the success of their employees, as Ambassadors to their customers, but repeatedly leads to their competitive advantage.
Their SVP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Kiera Fernandez, stated how they model culture on their value statement, “Care, grow, win together.” Essentially, when you care for your team first, they will care for your guests down the line.
Well known in retail as one of the top servant leaders, Marvin Ellison, Chairman and CEO of Lowe’s, values hard work, humble beginnings, and his faith. As he held almost every position in operations while at Lowe’s, Home Depot, JCPenney, and Target, he has always stood for creating a company culture today that would have inspired him earlier in his career in retrospect.
Ellison stressed how important it is to hear what the stores say and to reward employees for their contributions. Which then, paves the way for others. He went on to say, “Whenever you see something unique and differentiated, you know it took an incredible team effort and that builds the foundation of your culture”.
Simone Biles also shared valuable insight into success at the NRF Retail Show. She explained that rigorous commitment to the team’s influence on results through perseverance, power, and passion, always leads to momentum.
“If everyone does their part, it comes together,” she said, whether in gymnastics or business. Partnering with a reliable team speaks to your incredible power and a workplace culture that is unstoppable. Executives from a collection of retailers agreed, it’s crucial that your team needs to be interconnected and emotionally bound. Relying on one another integrally assures success and deep, committed devotion to lead to continued successes.
Workplace culture is here to stay.
As retail continues to experience a technological transformation with data and analytics; company workplace culture still reigns at the top of the list of key priorities.
For more information about the NRF’s Big Show, read our piece 2023 NRF Retail Big Show: Top 5 Takeaways highlighting the most salient points retail leaders emphasized and everyone should know.