Tag: staff satisfaction

Every business needs a Heather

Heather is a first year degree student working part time at stationery shop Staples, in Redditch, Worcestershire.

Heather is in love with stationery and absolutely adores her job. Her passion for her product and utter joy at the bargains available in store, pours from her heart. Every business needs a Heather.

Now… I also love stationery so I’m a pretty easy-sell. But last Friday I had the best in-store shopping experience I’ve had in a long, long time.

Staples logo
Staples, Redditch. The best in-store shopping experience I’ve had in a long, long time.

I went to Staples to look at the Arc range (which I’ve been admiring online for a while). Arc is essentially a choice of notebook exteriors and customisable inserts. I sat on the floor of the Arc aisle while I flipped through the leather covered book and the poly one, debating the merits of both. Eventually I went to the tills to ask for help.

That’s when I met Heather.

I started the conversation by asking if the poly notebook was flimsy. Heather’s face lit up. “I’ve got one for uni. Shall I go and get mine to show you? It’s amazing. I love it. It’s sooooooo good…”

So off she went to the staff room to fetch her pride and joy.

And boy was she proud.

“I’ve got these little place markers and I use colour coded stickers and pens for each subject. I’ve got the the top tabbed dividers and the side tabbed dividers and I use the small notes pages for to-do lists….”

Heather went on and on…but in a good way. She was so excited about the product and even asked if she could show me where her favourite pens were in store.

Cartoon girl with call out saying I love my job
Do your Heathers love their jobs?

I came away equally enthused. Even though Heather assured me that the poly cover was as good as the leather one (and that if I wasn’t sure I could always buy the bigger rings for more support), I bought the leather cover, lined paper, side tabbed dividers and some plastic wallets.

I had only gone to Staples to look but Heather in her innocent, uncomplicated, authentically personal way, convinced me that the Arc was perfect; that it would somehow improve my life.

So has your business got a Heather? Do your staff evangelise about your products? Does the love they have for their job shine through?

If not, what will you do to find your Heather?


How brand values translate into profit

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Open the brand-values-profit model here

We all know that happy staff means happy customers but how do we get our employees to engage with the brand and ‘live it’ so it translates into profits for the organisation?

Firstly an organisation needs to decide what its brand values are and then stick to them. Your values tell your customers what your organisation is about; “what it’s like around here”; what you do and how you do it.  Consistency is key and continually reinforcing your brand values will permeate your colleagues’ minds more effectively than a one-off poster campaign.

Brand values should be strong enough to recruit and retain the right people in the first place.  If a job candidate doesn’t demonstrate a passion for the brand then don’t let them pass through the interview stage.  Once they’re in, if the values ‘fit’ then you have a captive audience.  It’s when the values do not represent the truth that you have a problem on your hands.  Staff won’t engage with posters saying “we value our customers” if they know it’s not true.  

When your values are ‘truth’ you need to communicate, communicate, communicate.  You need succinct, timely, regular, appropriate messages that speak to your staff in a meaningful way.  Keep communication about values short and simple. Be creative but not for creativity’s sake- choose the message first and not the medium.   

Effective internal communications is all about opening a dialogue with people, in this case, your internal customers.  Encourage your staff to challenge the values if that is what they feel they need to do in order to engage.  At least they are thinking about the organisation’s values and as long as you embrace openness and transparency you can effect change, eventually embedding the values in your colleagues’ actions.

When communicating the values you should segment your audience and target and position messages using the same expert skills you would with external stakeholders.  Don’t ignore the feedback and remember that the grapevine can yield more fruitful insights than any formal reporting mechanisms. 

Measure the effectiveness of any values communications so that you can find alternative routes if messages are not getting through.  Act on your evaluation otherwise staff won’t feel listened to.

Fundamentally if staff feel connected with the organisation they’ll be able to make the right decisions that enable them to deliver quality services. This is then self motivating and satisfying which becomes a perpetual cycle leading to happy, loyal customers and ultimately profits.

How do we get employees to live the brand? Involve them in its development, communicate, encourage difficult conversations, listen to feedback and act on your evaluations.  Colleagues will feel engaged and motivated which for business leaders means profitability.