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HFA Reports: Perspectives at HFA

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Building a Retail Culture of Accountability and Performance

High-performing retail teams and organizations don’t just happen. They result from dedicated leadership efforts that articulate a clear mission, have a vision, and include a value statement that resonates with staff members. Once in place, this information can be communicated to employee teams in a way that allows them to see how their efforts will directly impact organizational success through their collective efforts. This requires accountability.

Retail Accountability

Accountability can, and should, be a shared tool to help move an organization from where it is to where it wants to go. However, holding people accountable is often viewed as a means to punish them. This need not be the case if company leaders hold people accountable in a positive way.

While it is important for employees to understand the effects their behaviors have on company performance, it is even more important for them to see a direct correlation between their actions and how they impact their careers. For instance, if an employee is told that advancement will be the result of their actions that contribute to company success, they will see accountability in a positive light.

In contrast, if the employee is told not to repeat certain undesirable behaviors, that criticism will taint their focus. Punitive approaches, in the name of accountability, act as a detriment to otherwise motivated employees, leading to feelings of deflation and defeat. A much better approach is to encourage employees to perform better as a way to align their behaviors with the organization’s collective success.

Leadership

Before retail team members can become truly accountable, they must trust their employers. There is no downside to helping employees feel safe when addressing their development needs; secure in the knowledge that shared information will not be used to hold them back. Mistakes should be viewed as opportunities to embrace new approaches. Adequate opportunities to correct behaviors and develop skills and abilities in specified time frames are necessary.

It’s in the best interest of employers to provide tools, training and mentoring to set them up for success.

This puts the ball in the employee’s court. It becomes their choice to accept corrective feedback or reject the opportunity and face the consequences.

Execution

All this requires that retail leaders share and model organizational values. Those who can inspire and motivate are best suited to building a culture of accountability. People who bring a high level of emotional intelligence to this task, communicate well and demonstrate respect for others are best at creating and nurturing a cohesive and thriving retail team. The bottom line is that having a high degree of accountability requires showing care and concern and the acknowledgment that errors are expected along the path to success.


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A  feature about Home Furnishings Association's retail members, legislation affecting the furniture industry and other retail news from HFA.