In the 2022 TISE Edition of the Premier Flooring Retailer magazine, Scott Humphrey challenged us to consider and apply three words to our year – Reset, Reconnect, and Renew. There’s another word that I’d like you to consider – Reimagine.
The pandemic has undoubtedly had a profound impact on people and businesses, with many now considering what they want from work and life. We are all rethinking everything. This pandemic has fueled the “Great Reshuffle” or the “Great Resignation” as some call it, as people rethink where they work, how they work, and, importantly, why they work. It has created an environment where people are looking for opportunities that give them more purpose, more flexibility, and more empathy. And this tightening labor market will continue to put employees in the driver's seat. The past two years have presented new challenges for business leaders, but they have also presented opportunities.
LinkedIn's 10th annual Global Talent Trends Report identified culture as one of the essential elements’ organizations should embrace to attract, retain, and grow talent in the upcoming year. While the pandemic is playing a big part in the reinvention of company culture, the rise of millennials and Gen Z is also reshaping the workplace.
Culture is the heartbeat and personality of a company. A good company culture leads to higher productivity, better morale, higher sales and creativity, and low turnover. Culture is not a new idea, but companies have to fine-tune — or reimagine — their culture in this tight, competitive job market to meet the expectations of professionals to be seen as human beings first.
And the good news is that it doesn’t require a large budget, just a shift in mindset.
Employee engagement and the changing workplace
For the first time in more than a decade, Gallup's annual workplace engagement study found that the overall engagement rate in the U.S. fell in 2021. This is because the demands and desires of today's employees have changed. People are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to be known for what makes them unique. And they want relationships, particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next level.
What are customer expectations?
Customer expectations are defined by how your customers believe each interaction with your company should go. This holds true for any part of the customer journey, from how long they wait to what channels they can use to communicate. Customers want (and expect!) the absolute best, and if you do not give it to them, they are happy to look elsewhere.
What customers want and what they get do not always align, but the stakes are getting higher for any business that falls short of meeting customer expectations. According to the 2022 Customer Experience Trends Report, 61 percent of consumers will switch to a company’s competitor after just one negative experience—a 22 percent increase from the previous year. On the flip side, 91 percent of buyers are willing to spend more with companies that provide good experiences. Those are numbers that should have most companies paying attention. Why? Because those numbers highlight a significant shift in customer demand.
This is a continuation of a trend, an extension of a market reality accelerated by technology. It started with Amazon when they transformed retail through their e-commerce platform and set the bar for delivering convenience, speed, and selection. Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix are other great examples of companies that created on-demand businesses based on what consumers wanted. In response to a global pandemic, customers have grown accustomed to on-demand customer service. Like it or not, your business will be judged by the service they received elsewhere. When businesses take innovative leaps forward, they drive new (higher) expectations among customers.
What caused the shift in customer expectations this last year? The global pandemic accelerated technology and highlighted values consumers already had—convenience, ease, and personalization. As a result, customers had to adjust their buying habits, and businesses had to adapt and evolve, reexamining the systems and strategies that have shaped the industry for years—almost overnight. In many ways, these challenges have opened the door for a long-overdue great retail reset which can help move many retailers into more stable — and potentially more profitable — positions than ever.
How do you adapt your customer experience to these evolving expectations?
The importance of communication to a great customer experience is rooted in technological advances. Investing in technology and digital platforms will be critical to addressing consumer demands for flexibility, timeliness, and convenience. That means 'always being open' and communicating with customers how they want to be talked to, whether via email, text, chat, phone call, or even on our social media channels.
Look to personalize the experience throughout the customer journey, whether pre, during, or post-purchase. Focus the service experience on the customer's unique needs. Ask how they like to be communicated with. Be clear about the many ways they can reach you. Meet your promises of availability. This could be as simple as using the customer's name in conversation or targeted discounts tailored to their buying preferences.
Customers want to buy from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities and workplaces. They also want to buy from companies that are socially responsible.
The customer experience has always set the independent retailer apart from its competitors, but it is a new world with new expectations. So, take notice and take action to stay ahead of the market and always have a happy customer.
Family businesses are known for their strong, distinctive cultures — cultures that are often heavily influenced by the founder's vision, style, and values and carefully maintained throughout the generations. These cultures bind employees to a common cause and foster loyal and stable workforces. A strong culture can be a significant competitive advantage for a family business seeking to attract and retain the best talent to achieve sustainable long-term goals.
A strong culture can also be a liability. Every family business must examine whether its culture will survive in an environment of digital transformation and business model disruption.
A new KPMG study, The regenerative power of family businesses, explores the factors behind the resilience and enduring performance of family businesses, and how companies manage both tradition and change successfully. How do family businesses keep their founders' entrepreneurial spirit alive and continue to grow from decade to decade and generation to generation? What's the secret to their staying power and ability to stay ahead of competitors?
The survey found there are three characteristics that help sustain a family business’ success, including a strong entrepreneurial orientation across generations, family connection and attachment to the business, and ambitious, next-generation leadership.
The report concludes with factors to consider that influence the regenerative power and future performance of your family business:
- The strength of a firm’s entrepreneurial orientation is one of the most important keys for unlocking the ability of a family business to continuously adapt, innovate, and grow. How would you score your company’s current level of entrepreneurialism? Is your company investing in research and development? Are you looking for opportunities to create innovative products, services, and processes? Are you exploring untapped markets to develop new revenue streams?
- What impact are next-gen family members having on the direction of your business? Are they given opportunities to take risks and make judgments on their own?
- There is evidence that next-gen leaders, particularly young women, are digitally savvy. Have you recognized that capability in your company, and are you actively leveraging it to help drive technological innovations in your operations?
- A second critical component of transgenerational entrepreneurship and the regenerative power of family businesses is the family's socioemotional wealth. Are family members well-connected with the business? Are there new ways to keep them engaged in the business, through formal or informal roles or activities such as family events?
- Are your family members growing up in a stewardship climate to impart the purpose and values of the business and help each succeeding generation keep the business revitalized?
- How strong are their identification and emotional attachment with the legacy of the business and is its value as a family asset being encouraged? Are they motivated to contribute?
- Is it time to revitalize the leadership approach in your business? New leadership capabilities are emerging among Millennials and increasing numbers of female family members. Has their potential been recognized in your business? Are you taking steps to prepare them for future leadership roles? Is the value of increased diversity a factor in the long-term outlook for your company?
Family business owners want, above all, to create a company that makes a positive impact and ensures a legacy for future generations. They have earned a reputation for prioritizing their employees and the communities they serve. However, thriving in today's world will require a change of mindset; a rethinking of their priorities and behaviors, including heightened investment in the digital tools needed for economic resilience; and a new definition of legacy. The world is changing, and so is the formula for lasting family business success.
Having a clearly defined and positive company culture can help you attract competitive candidates, streamline processes, reduce employee turnover, and boost overall productivity. But how do you know that your culture needs to improve unless you understand its current state? So, where to begin? A good starting point is a company culture survey. While a full company culture assessment can’t be done without a significantly more detailed process, this quick assessment can help you gauge awareness of company values and employee experience. Make sure to emphasize that the survey is completely anonymous! These insights will form the foundation for developing both immediate and long-term action steps for taking your culture from where it is today to where it needs to be--collaborative, supportive, participative, and productive.
Try this short culture assessment, a simple approach for evaluating culture so you can enhance the way employees work together. Try it now.