In a recent article published by the International Speaker’s Bureau, author Michael Berghdahl referenced Sam Walton’s retail success, noting that Walton intuitively knew that retail marketing is all about the “4-P’s,” which are having the right products, price, placement, and promotion.
However, the article goes on to say that Sam Walton knew the “4 P’s” were not enough; that he was not satisfied to simply apply traditional methods, but rather always out to do more… to try new ideas.
“You might say he [Sam Walton] embraced change like a welcomed friend,” Berghahl wrote. “Never complacent, he sought ways to improve every aspect of the Walmart success formula each and every day.”
As part of this approach to continuous improvement, Walton figured out the key to creating a sustainable competitive advantage in the retail marketplace was by adding a “5th P” to his success formula: PEOPLE. Success required fully-engaged people working together as a high performing team, and serving his customers.
This perspective is consistent with the latest research on the critical importance and value of an engaged workforce.
But beware! Traditional efforts to engage employees have not been fruitful!! These unsuccessful attempts have been haphazard at best, and have largely focused on trying to make employees happy. Unfortunately, research and experience has proved that happy workers are not necessarily more productive workers.
Clearly a more strategic approach to engagement is needed, yet few retailers or organizations of any type have a formalized engagement strategy.
If you would like to create such a strategy, here are ten behaviors you might initiate, which are based on research and experience that shows productive employees tend to be engaged employees, not the other-way-around.