Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Home Depot - Building Family

A fellow employee (we'll call her Reaper - from the TV show) recently took on a part-time job at The Home Depot (THD). After a few days of hearing her talk to different people about her early experiences I thought, 'hey, this sounds like a place that cares'. So, I had to check it out. From what I found, I wish more companies would take a cue from THDs Values

The number one Value on a list of eight is Taking care of our people. The thing that really intrigued me is that this goes right along with the things that she's been describing. THD doesn't just talk it - they walk it. The description begins by saying, "The key to our success is treating people well." I'll say a million times over - if you treat your employees well, they WILL provide better customer service. Excellent customer service is number five on THDs list of Values. It can be that low because of the focus on their own people. Excellent customer service will come naturally.

The second part of Taking care of our people says, "We do this by encouraging associates to speak up and take risks, by recognizing and rewarding good performance and by leading and developing people so they may grow." I'm getting excited here. Encourage employees to be a part of the company, not just a warm (for most people) body to put on the sales floor. Allow them to develop. Reaper told me about the incentives they get for learning about the different areas of the store. The more areas they learn about, the more they get. In this case it's monetary, but incentives come in an abundant amount of possibilities. Check out Incentives Magazine

Another Value that caught my eye - actually made me go oooooo - is number seven, Entrepreneurial spirit. "The Home Depot associates are encouraged to initiate creative and innovative ways of serving our customers and improving the business and to spread best practices throughout the company." This is the epitome of employee empowerment. THD has specific overall guidelines, I'm sure. But to be able to do your job without the constant fear of being told 'you're wrong, it should have been done this way', employees can be more open and service oriented with customers.

The whole theme here is to make employees part of the company. With that comes happiness, dedication and sincere customer service.

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