After, reading “Capitalizing on Capabilities,” by David Ulrich and Norm Small. I had to chuckle when the first line mentioned an old employer I use to work for Nordstrom. Before, entering graduate school I worked at Nordstrom part-time for three years. Honestly, if I was not attending CMU as of right now I would still be at Nordstrom. I have even thought about trying to get a position in their corporate headquarters after I graduate.
I would be lying to say that every day was so great. Nordstrom is still retail. But I will say that I learned a lot of vital skills and most importantly I was able to see their organizational management and strategy in practice.
When, I first started working at Nordstrom I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. One of the things I didn’t realize when I first started working at Nordstrom is that my part-time hours would be more like full-time hours. Later, I learned that if they thought you were a good sales associate they scheduled you a lot. I didn’t realize my value at Nordstrom because I always thought I could do better because of the healthy competition and the managers encouraging and pushing us to improve on the sale goals and objectives for the department and store. I appreciated being able to see results and knowing what areas we needed to improve.
Secondly, I didn’t realize that I would be in charge of my own business. My first day of training the organizational chart was shown to us. They had the customers first then the sales associates. I was not a believer at first. I figure that’s what all employers say, that the employees are the most important. However, Nordstrom definitely tried to put the sales associates first so that we could give excellent service to our customers. Why would that be important? Nordstrom believes in repeat business because of excellent service. Nordstrom doesn’t advertise and they don’t have to spend millions of dollars on commercials. Think, back have you ever seen a Nordstrom commercial.
The whole store is commission based. The commission is the biggest reason why I believe Nordstrom will always stay on top as one of the industry leaders. Before, working at Nordstrom I had never worked at a commission base store and at first I was nervous. But once I got the hang of things I could easily make $200 dollars or more in one day. The commission is where you get sucked into the culture of Nordstrom. Some sales associate’s that worked at Nordstrom for years would not take a managerial job because they made more money as a sales associate because of the commission. Nordstrom has sales associates that make 6 figures.
Nordstrom not only valued their sales associate. They of course do lots of things so that the most important people on their organizational chart are satisfied their CUSTOMERS. Nordstrom has a liberal return policy which, means they will take back pretty much anything. The Nordstrom stores have restaurants and cafés. They began using mobile devices to make the shopping experience quicker and less hassle. Nordstrom offers personal shoppers, concierge service to their top customers, and they have a holiday party that is a real treat for the customers.
A book was written by a Nordstrom employee who worked at Nordstrom for twenty years called “Retail Hell: How I sold my soul to the store.” This book is about the Nordstrom experience. Overall, my Nordstrom experience was worthwhile. I still keep in touch with my Nordstrom family and have even helped two of my friends get hired at Nordstrom.
Something that Nordstrom did every year that kept the employees in the loop was by having a State of the Company address given by the CEO of Nordstrom, Blake Nordstrom. He traveled to every store to speak about where the company is headed, how the company did, and to let us know we are important to the success of the company by giving us a bonus if the company met its yearly goals.
In the article “Capitalizing on Capabilities,” it was wise that they used Nordstrom as a model company to follow. Nordstrom capitalizes on all possible ways to be strategic and innovative to reach their bottom line. But the most important value that Nordstrom teaches is to let employees have stake in the organization and company. To believe that this billion dollar company started as just a small family shoe store in Seattle.
Would you call this store Retail Hell are just plain smart?