There are too many old adages that still ring true in business today. “Information Is Power” is one of the biggest myths still around.
Managers hold information hostage because if they have it and no one else does, then it’s their job protection. Company execs hold information close to the vest because it’s no one else’s business. Neither of these could be further from the truth.
Employees crave information and want nothing more than to be included and up to speed on what’s going on with the company they’re toiling for, eight+ hours a day.
At a company I’m doing some work for, we’re about to have our first state of the business meeting. This will be a one-hour meeting where the management team will present the financial state of the business (mainly tied to sales and profitability growth), big account wins and upcoming opportunities, future direction and development of the company including business objectives for the next year, etc. We’re having the meeting in the spirit of openness, in sharing more information with employees because informed employees make happy employees.
Toward that spirit of openness, we asked each employee to think about what they would want to get out of the meeting — what was their one burning question about the business they wanted answered. And then a week later, we asked for their question. Three people didn’t bother thinking about it. And most, it was evident, hadn’t thought about it but came up with an answer on the fly. Only one person had thought it through and came up with a great question.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Some people don’t care enough to want to know. Or maybe they’re just not used to being held accountable.
Employees really do want to know what’s going on. In retail, some questions your employees might be thinking are what’s the sales goal for the day? What’s the average transaction goal for the day/week/month? What’s the conversion rate and what’s the goal that you’re looking to achieve today? Start with basic information that’s tied to sales as a means to bring employees in the loop and get them motivated to sell (most people still respond to goal setting because it gives them something to shoot for).
Have a weekly meeting. Share how last week went from a sales perspective. Did you meet the company sales goal? What other priorities is the company focusing on? What new lines are you considering or are you bringing in? What did you learn at the big trade show you went to last week? What are the trends you’re focusing on?
Not only can you download information to employees, but you can make them part of the process as well. Ask them to pick a trend they’re seeing and have them bring it to the next weekly meeting. Then share those trends and as a group, decide which one you’re going to capitalize on and then let that employee lead the charge to bring the trend into your store.