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Engaging Employees at International Retail


A leading international retailer once asked their customer service employees what they were getting paid for. Their answer: to protect the assets of the company. In another question on how much profit they thought the company made on every dollar of sales, the reply was 45 cents (correct answer: 2 cents). Clearly, employees felt the company was rolling in money, when in reality it was barely afloat.


The retailer, shocked with the responses, embarked on a project to engage its employees on the ‘the big picture’. They were told about retail sector, customer service, value creation and several other concepts.  However, these lessons, which the employees nick-named ‘MBA stuff’, failed to have much impact. 


The retailer decided to take another approach. They designed a program of business literacy for their storefront employees using stories as the medium. They made the employees aware of business in general and the retail business in particular. Interest and engagement follows awareness. As employees became more and more aware of thier business, they naturally became interested and engaged. 

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