Will its ‘culture of recognition’ be a game winner for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

Discussion
Photo: Dick's Sporting Goods
Dec 02, 2019
Tom Ryan

Dick’s Sporting Goods is crediting its recent performance improvements, in part, to increased investments in employees, including the launch of an associate training program earlier this year and a heightened focus on employee recognition.

The training, Lauren Hobart, president, said last week on Dick’s third-quarter conference call, is “focused on how our team should engage every athlete [customer] every time, use the power of their opinion to create confidence and excitement, and execute the basics to create a hassle-free shopping experience.”

At the same time, Dick’s is working to build a “culture of recognition” that extends beyond the store level and rewards employees for exemplary service under an “Extra One Percent” mantra.

“It can be everything from small awards; we have a High-Five award that goes out for a quick moments when somebody does something special during the day,” said Ms. Hobart. “And then we have larger rewards, leading up to President’s awards and big, full-store celebrations. And the stores obviously participate in our compensation and incentive plans as well. So, it’s all over the place, but it’s coming through in ways that are everyday activities where we’re rewarding people for their efforts.”

A “real focus on recognition of great results and performance” combined with performance factors such as better in-stock positions and stronger marketing creates a “very virtuous cycle,” said Ms. Hobart.

“Momentum breeds momentum,” she added. 

Surveys show most workers across industries don’t feel they get enough praise for their work.

WorldatWork and Maritz Motivation’s “2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey” found that, while human resource managers saw their recognition programs doing a fairly good job of meeting goals, only 18 percent said they are definitely meeting their goals.

A recent survey of 16,000 professionals across a variety of industries from Deloitte found:

  • Three-quarters of employees are satisfied with a “thank you” for their everyday efforts.
  • Most people prefer recognition that is either shared with a few people or delivered privately, rather than widely shared.
  • The most valued type of recognition is a new growth opportunity.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is retail any better or worse than other industries at recognizing strong performance by employees? Is the frequency of recognition, the type of reward or some other factor the biggest hurdle to successfully recognizing employees working on selling floors?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"When praise and rewards have a high profile, it not only affects those getting the recognition, but those who see that the company appreciates people and good contributions."
"Hats off to their focus on the employee to make moments that matter. They are a textbook example of how to compete with the online bandits..."
"This is the future. The mantra among operations leaders last year was “customer engagement” but now “associate engagement” defines the retail experience."

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12 Comments on "Will its ‘culture of recognition’ be a game winner for Dick’s Sporting Goods?"


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Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

I don’t know if retail is any better or worse than other industries at recognition. I do know that it is necessary, important, critical, imperative that good performance be recognized and rewarded. The Instagram/Facebook world that we live in creates and then magnifies the opportunity to give that recognition. And I do not mean gold stars for participation. It’s not hard to know when somebody has done a little extra or knocked it out of the park. The level of competition in today’s market is intense. Broadcasting success stories is both a morale builder and a brand builder.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The key comment in the article is “momentum breeds momentum.” And it should should be noted that it works in both directions. When praise and rewards have a high profile, it not only affects those getting the recognition, but those who see that the company appreciates people and good contributions.

Similarly, when a company ignores contributions, even by the lowest level employees, it sends a message to every employee that they are regarded only as robots here to do a job. Unfortunately, too many retail operations see those working in the stores as those robots and not as long term contributors to the success of the company.

Heidi Sax
BrainTrust

The retail (and hospitality) industries have an outsized reliance on part-time employees. For example, 50 percent of Walmart’s employees are part-time, and estimates suggest the number increases to up to 70 percent in other retail settings. Employees working limited hours have less access to benefits and make less on average per hour than those doing similar jobs working full time. It makes sense that retail employees don’t feel recognized.

At the same time, recognition is earned through strong performance, which is achieved as a result of ongoing, effective, engaging training. So baking training into a culture of recognition makes complete sense in retail. Thanks goes a long way, but I like that they’re tying it into compensation and incentives as well.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

Retailers have had a cavalier attitude towards associates in investing, educating and appreciating them. It’s good to see Dick’s take a holistic approach to recognizing and rewarding excellence.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust

Agreed Patricia – and unfortunately inconsistencies in the execution of employee education and appreciation often lead to a widely varying CX for a store’s patrons (especially from location to location).

Another huge and related problem for retail employers is actually understanding what motivates their employees – for some direct accolades from the customer might be enough, but others crave the top down recognition from management.

A holistic approach which (incoming sports pun in honor of Dick’s) “covers the bases” is critical for successfully engaging such a diverse employee pool.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

This is the future. The mantra among operations leaders last year was “customer engagement” but now “associate engagement” defines the retail experience. Let’s see how creative other companies can be in retaining the best associates.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

Dick’s Is executing on many fronts brilliantly. That coupled with their firm social stance on guns has made them a go-to choice for many shoppers. Hats off to their focus on the employee to make moments that matter. They are a textbook example of how to compete with the online bandits – by creating a better shopping experience.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

If Dick’s can get its managers to focus on positive recognition they can hit the ball out of the park. If you take the time to think about it you will see that recognition is actually one of the motivators, if not the only one, that every manager has 100 percent control over and in most cases it costs no money.

A Gallup poll showed that over 60 percent of all workers said they received no recognition at work in the last year. Isn’t it also interesting that another Gallup poll shows that over 60 percent of workers are either not engaged or totally disengaged at work?

In every program I do I ask attendees how many have ever received a written letter of recognition. I never get more then 10 percent of the hands to go up. When asked how long ago and where the letter is almost everyone of the people who raise their hands still have the letter and know where it is. WOW. Recognition is powerful.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

Investing in people pays off every time. Creating a culture that develops team members gives them a path towards meaningful growth and connection beyond just collecting a paycheck. The best part is there’s no hurdle beyond breaking the existing status quo and empowering associates. It’s not a surprise that this translates into better service and better sales.

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

Folks in retail are facing more challenges than other industries, especially workers that are on the front line facing many customer demands. In those types of conditions, managers have plenty of examples and situations to identify good and great performance actions. Recognition programs need to be central to building morale and retaining retail employees. Recognition programs can be old news, so I think that the hardest challenge of any store leader is to create, manage and execute a plan that is both authentic and that is valued by the employees.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Retail is chronically bad about recognizing and rewarding strong performers. It is also very bad in its basic performance level compensation, training and promotion. Workers at the largest retailers are poorly paid and poorly treated. There is no incentive to reach for higher levels, or even well-defined career paths, from the retailer. However this is finally changing. McDonald’s, Amazon, and even Walmart are finally changing their benefits, compensation and reward packages to incentivize their employees from the start.

Bill Hanifin
BrainTrust

Most people agree that creating better in-store experiences is a mandatory step that retailers need to take to press an advantage over online competition. Involving store associates in the experience is not only important, it might be the first thing that should be addressed.

If retailers are to put a stake in the ground to protect their turf, they should start with increased focus on training and recognition of their valuable employees.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"When praise and rewards have a high profile, it not only affects those getting the recognition, but those who see that the company appreciates people and good contributions."
"Hats off to their focus on the employee to make moments that matter. They are a textbook example of how to compete with the online bandits..."
"This is the future. The mantra among operations leaders last year was “customer engagement” but now “associate engagement” defines the retail experience."

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