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.
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
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.
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
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.
For more information on what HFA is doing to empower furniture
retailers for continued success, join the community at