Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 27

ON a bitter winter's day in Timmins, Ontario, a driver looked back

to see his car window shatter. Seeking help, he pulled into a Home
Depot. A cashier and a lot associate gathered plastic and tape, and
spent an hour in -35 degree weather crafting a makeshift window.
Soon enough, the grateful driver returned to the road.
Some 3,300 km away, at another Home Depot in Grande Prairie, Alberta, an elderly couple came in after their freezer broke.
They needed a replacement quickly, or their food would spoil. An
appliance associate found a freezer, but deliveries were finished
for the day. No worries. A seasonal associate and a lumber associate got a rental van. They not only drove the new freezer to
the couple's home, they also unpacked the broken freezer, transferred the food, and hauled the old freezer away.
"That's our DNA," says Aliana Rozenek, vice president, HR,
communications and sustainability at Home Depot Canada.
Efforts like those underscore the primary mission of any retailer: create extraordinary customer experiences. But that doesn't
just happen. It comes from a corporate culture that emphasizes
service and nurtures the talent to deliver it.
Working together

In retail, companies must "Everything is about
do many things to capture
supporting associates,
the consumer's attention and
outdo the competition. At the and making sure they
core is the need for staff who have what they need to
can engage and support cusservice the customer."
tomers and colleagues. But
- ALIANA ROZENEK,
what exactly do leading retailHome Depot Canada
ers look for from their talent,
and how do they create the teams to move forward?
It starts with having clear values and hiring staff who embody them. Stephen Bobko, human resource manager at IKEA
Canada, says the company has a favourite Swedish term: tillsammans. That means togetherness, and it's embedded in the
IKEA approach.
"While every co-worker has a different job or role, at the end
of the day we share common goals and work together to reach
them," says Bobko. "We also foster the idea of interdependent
leadership. We're all responsible for making things happen, but
become better as we build on each other's strengths."

Considering this, who is the ideal Loblaw employee? Someone who shares the values they
espouse around care, ownership, respect and
excellence. "We're looking for people who are
authentic, and who can build trust through that
authenticity," Hansen says.
How do you unearth that? When interviewing,
Home Depot uses a series of behavioural questions. For example, they'll ask job candidates
about something they're proud of. In their answers, do applicants say "I" or "we"? Is their
focus on helping others? Home Depot looks at
both the examples and the language used.
Defining the organization

Values are the fabric of the company. In fact,
they're literally stitched into that fabric. Printed
on the aprons that store associates wear (above
the heart) are principals like doing the right
thing, excellent customer service, and entrepreneurial spirit.
That's what translates into customer experiences like those enjoyed at Home Depot locations in Timmins and Grande Prairie. However,
creating a team that offers such experiences
also hinges on an organization's structure and
role definitions, Rozenek suggests.
How retailers refer to headquarters, for instance, reveals something about their culture.
Home Depot calls its head office a "store support centre". IKEA uses "service office". The
terms make a statement.
Home Depot also uses an inverted pyramid
that represents its organizational structure.
Normally the CEO is at the top. At Home Depot,
the CEO is at the bottom. The customer is the
pinnacle, and under that are the associates and
"associates" describes every employee, not just
those in store.
"Everything is about supporting associates,
and making sure they have what they need to
service the customer," says Rozenek.

Finding the right fit

IKEA recruits talent based on values, and prizes potential as
well as competence. They want people who are down-to-earth,
straightforward and passionate about home furnishings.
The company talks about building a better everyday life at
home. That's a starting point with customers. The ideal can extend to what IKEA expects from staff. A focus on supporting
each other creates a better everyday work life and is part of a
service culture. That culture results when values align with talent at every level.
Fran Hansen, vice president, talent at Loblaw Companies Ltd.
agrees. "A lot of the customer experience comes to life with frontline employees. But we need to be customer-centric in all areas."
www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Turning jobs into careers

To cultivate a strong culture, organizations
must continually find ways to identify, develop
and test high-potential talent. Is that challenge
any different in the retail sector? Perhaps.
Talent doesn't always see the "power of our
proposition" in retail, says Hansen. People have
to get past the first hurdle, and understand what
the sector offers for a career. Her prior experience was in telecommunications. Since coming
to retail in 2012, "I've been amazed at what an
incredible art and science it is," she says.

WINTER 2016 | CANADIAN RETAILER

| 27


http://www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016

PUBLISHER'S DESK
RETAIL CURRENTS
UNDER THE BANNER
EXPANDED OFFERING
RCC APPOINTS NEW BOARD CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
AT ISSUE
COFFEE, EGGS AND IKEA
CONTENT-RICH CONFERENCES INSPIRE RETAILERS IN VANCOUVER AND QUEBEC
THE SUBMISSIONS ARE IN
INDUSTRY RESEARCH
FREEDOM OF IDENTITY
TALENT SHOWS
WINNING THE WAR OF FIT
ADVERTISER'S INDEX
CONSULTING ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - ebelly1
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - ebelly2
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover1
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover2
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 3
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - PUBLISHER'S DESK
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 5
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - RETAIL CURRENTS
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 7
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - UNDER THE BANNER
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - EXPANDED OFFERING
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - RCC APPOINTS NEW BOARD CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 11
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - AT ISSUE
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - COFFEE, EGGS AND IKEA
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - CONTENT-RICH CONFERENCES INSPIRE RETAILERS IN VANCOUVER AND QUEBEC
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 15
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - THE SUBMISSIONS ARE IN
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 17
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - INDUSTRY RESEARCH
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 19
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - FREEDOM OF IDENTITY
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 21
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 22
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 23
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 24
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 25
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - TALENT SHOWS
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 27
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 28
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 29
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - WINNING THE WAR OF FIT
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 31
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 32
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 33
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - ADVERTISER'S INDEX
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 35
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - CONSULTING ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 37
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 38
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover3
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover4
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 43
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