“ASK FRONT-LINE EMPLOYEES WHAT THE BRAND MEANS TO
THEM – AND WHAT IT SHOULD MEAN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.”
Could Lululemon be suffering from bad culture?
MG: In any corporate hierarchy, it is important that each level
of management embrace the values passed down from above.
Internal resources must then exist to support this. For example,
adequate staffing and inventory control. At that point, training
comes naturally because all staff have already bought into the culture.
They are just being taught how to translate that into action.
We don’t know what the company culture of Lululemon really is.
Based on their marketing, it seems to be about yoga, relationships,
happiness and a healthy lifestyle. But based on the two stories, it
seems more about looking good in a size 4.
So can Lululemon and other companies in similar situations use
culture to improve training?
MG: Without knowing what their company culture is, I would
start at the bottom. Ask front-line employees what the brand
means to them – and what it should mean to their customers.
Then report back to upper management. If there is synergy, then
you know it’s likely a training issue. If the responses are all over the
place, then there is clearly a company culture issue. If so, the next
question would be, “What’s the message from the top and why is it
not making it to those who deal with the customer?”
What would be your suggestion be to an organization regarding
social media backlashes that come with negative situations
MG: There are two options. First, publicly apologize, reiterate
the company culture and terminate the employees involved.
Second, do nothing. If not done right, going on the defensive can
sometimes be viewed as an admission of guilt, opening you up to
more scorn. Also, getting into a shouting match never ends well
for the company. In most cases, I tell management to view this as
a wake up call. Get their act together, earn the affection of their
customers and let one bad story fall off the first page of Google. n
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ AUGUST 2017 ❚ 23