Retail: Move over Jack And Jill?
Gone are the days where corporate benefited from low skill sets running a retail outlet. Likewise, it is injudicious to impose multi-faceted dexterity upon a workforce to eventuate the effective operation of a modern brand.
Retail relies on increased productivity accomplished by the specialist with their vested interest and passion for what they do. In turn, they attract and empower complementary accomplices creating a culture of logical succession and innovative development that instils consistency. Attainable at a fraction of the cost of current hi-tech expenditure with a return on investment second to none, resulting in loyalty and an incomparable competitive edge.
Conversely, the perplexing practice of training entire teams in all disciplines alludes to passive management with a deficient understanding of human endeavour. Purposeful teamwork embraces individuality with a mutual goal and shouldn’t be confused with the pack mentality of frustrated low skilled personnel often infused with poor accountability and bully tactics. Eventuating an environment where the lowest common denominator endures, diversity is curtailed and micromanagement proliferates.
The very notion of compelling employees to engage in activities against their intuitive resolve or in rendering them uncomfortable is counterproductive and detrimental to all concerned. A status quo glaringly obvious to a clientele in pursuit of retail theatre.
There is the inevitable cost of prolific consumerism with an inbuilt obsolescence and it is the obligation of every retailer to ensure its feasibility via a comprehensive approach to conscious capitalism.
Encapsulating four pillars:
- Purpose before profit – the public is awakening to sustainability with a realisation their biggest influence is in the way they consume. Underestimate this burgeoning phenomenon and risk an inescapable backlash.
- The simultaneous benefit of all stakeholders – an industry where emotional intelligence, empathy and the support of purposeful life adds value to animals, humans and environments alike.
- Consequential leadership – retail is about participation where character, charisma and candour ought to prevail for relevant leadership to flourish.
- Meaningful inclusion – it is time for the sector, of which there are many who pay lip service, to review the ambivalence towards inclusivity. To formulate a strategy of proactive change before the enforcement of legislative compliance.
The Jack or Jill of all trades is bygone. Summon the courage to mentor the individual and the due diligence to develop the collective without fear. Failure is but a perception of the narrow-minded and weak of heart for through effort and the investment of time success is assured.
Retail brands who ignore or suppress human temperament do so at their own peril while the rest are forever mindful that retail is about people, for people, by the people.
The rest will take care of itself.
Dave Farrell is a retailer and writer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at Freelance Alliance NZ on [email protected].