create a culture to embrace the opportunities

91% say that business culture is critical

Recent research supports previous research highlighting the importance of a strong, customer-focused business culture. One study found that 91% of managers consider a candidate’s alignment with the business culture to be critical.

The end of the pandemic lockdown seems as good a time as any to ensure that when you open your doors again, you do so with the best possible people in place. I would suggest that this is an excellent time to embrace the teachings of Jim Collins – and ‘get the right people on the bus’. If a business is to fully address the challenges ahead and capitalise on the potential opportunities, it will be important to employ, retain, and get the best out of the best people. Businesses that have let staff go have a unique opportunity. This is not the time to attract good staff – it is the time to employ the ‘right’ staff … or no-one.

Once you have employed the ‘right’ people, they can be encouraged to create the optimal culture, a culture that will enable the business to make the most of opportunities by consistently delivering the product and customer experience your primary target market wants, if not craves. It is time to become truly customer-focused and not just ‘pretend customer-focused’ like so many businesses. Putting the customer first and delivering a product and customer experience that exceeds customer expectations is more important than ever.

Woolworths recently retrenched 20,000 front-line staff. They started employing again just three weeks later. Most of the new employees were back-end staff, and many are now directly involved in online sales as Woolworths gears up to capitalise on this rapidly growing market. Woolworths reports that the e-commerce side of their business has grown more in just a month than in the previous year.  Rather than declining as retail opens up – Woolworths predicts that online sales will continue to grow. They view online sales as an increasingly important part of their business – and they are employing the people who can make it work.

Predictions are that online sales will contribute 50% of all retail revenue by 2030. Our recent experience, however, suggests that the 50% level may be achieved much sooner. People who have never shopped online before have tried it during the pandemic, liked it, and embraced its advantages and convenience. My prediction is that bricks and mortar retailing will find life more difficult than ever before – particularly if they fail to offer a unique customer experience.

RECOMMENDATION – get the ‘right’ people on board and ensure that you are positioned to create a culture that can extract full value from the opportunities about to open up.

OPPORTUNITY – Fully embrace e-commerce. Leverage its continuing growth and the new audiences now using it. Recognise the growing appeal of the convenience and the reduced fear.

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