“What unites us is far greater than what divides us.” Given recent events, those words – first uttered by President Kennedy in 1961 – have perhaps never been more appropriate.Diversity courses deeply through the veins of retail. If Donald Trump were a retailer, he’d no doubt have very different views on inclusiveness.
Even for those who operate in a single country, the one thing all retailers have in common is there is no one defining definition of who works in a store. Age, gender, language, culture, interests, base-level knowledge and skills – even the driver for being in a store at all – retail has one of most diverse working populations in industry. This presents a major challenge for retailers when it comes to rallying team members around a goal.
Whoever has responsibility for implementing change programs at store level, they have a huge job on their hands. A diverse team will inherently create a working environment where ideas and approaches will be challenged. At the right level this can lead to the most efficient and creative solutions to the biggest problems. But at a store implementation level, it can have quite the opposite effect – leading to an inconsistent brand experience and, worse still, a negative and costly impact on operational productivity. It is a recognised fact that a one-size-fits-all has had its day. So why do so few retailer transformation programs reflect this? For stores to thrive that needs to change.
Only by supporting store teams with flexible retail and VM training – delivered using a variety of channels that take into account differences in knowledge, skills and learning needs – will retailers be able to positively influence the “collective mood” but also ensure retail policy, VM guidelines, and expectations are clearly communicated and universally understood.