HR Retail 2021

June 14 - 15, 2021

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, CA

Here's How Lowes is Boosting Moral for Better Business

Brought to you by WBR Insights



Staff morale is one of those factors which can easily fly under the radar. However, a workforce with depleted morale can have a direct effect on your bottom line as they tend to be less productive and not so well meshed as a team.

A massive 61 percent of employees feel burnt out on the job. Gone are the days when it was considered noble to work all hours, as we now understand the very real consequences stress can have on the body and mind. Fatigue, aches and pains, and weight gain, as well as mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can all be caused by prolonged periods of stress.

Needless to say, this can cause employees to become disengaged from their employer and their work. Disengaged employees are estimated to cost US businesses around $550 billion per year through a lack of productivity and motivation.

Home improvement retailer, Lowe's found it was having its own issues with staff morale following a recent restructuring and wanted to revamp its employee engagement to pull staff out of their funk and drive the business forward.

Lowe's

The famous DIY brand has been reshuffling its positions over the last year, moving people from loss prevention to human resources and overhauling scheduling.

While these changes have been made with the overall strength and health of the brand in mind, the speed and significance of the restructure have left a lot of employees feeling disconnected and frustrated, with morale in the organization somewhat lacking. The changes were received well on Wall Street - especially the news that Lowe's is planning a brand-new hub in Charlotte's South End, which will provide 2,000 new jobs and bolster the company's ecommerce and technology capabilities. However, CEO Marvin Ellison knew he had to do something about the engagement issue.

"In the past year, we've undergone tremendous change and growth to position us toward becoming the leading home improvement retailer," said Ellison. "Although change is never easy, because of [our people's] hard work our sales performance in first and second quarter has outperformed our closest US competitor for the first time in over a decade."

To try and address the concerns and flagging morale of its staff, Lowe's is renaming and renovating its annual employee survey to try and reconnect and reengage with its people and lift spirits.

Employee Engagement

Lowe's has discovered an undeniable connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. The company has also learned that the combination of those two factors have a predictive effect on financial performance.

Stores in which employees are highly engaged perform better. This pattern still rings true even in those busier stores where higher than average sales volume would normally bring down average customer satisfaction rates - highly engaged staff can slow or even halt this effect. Lowe's fully understands this connection and the power of employee engagement, which is why it knew it needed to address the issues which had arisen out of its recent restructuring.

Lowe's achieves this through a very simple method - it listens to its employees. Through its annual survey, it can gather enormous amounts of information regarding how its people see the organization, their position within it, and how the leadership is perceived. Lowe's then applies powerful analytics to turn this raw data into actionable insights that can be applied to improve the business. Finally, and perhaps most crucially, these insights are applied to effect change within the organization. Employees need to know that they are listened to, or they are likely to start searching for greener - and more receptive - pastures.

Gone are the days of the psychological contract between employee and employer. People don't tend to start a new job these days with the view that it will be a career for life. Instead, they are constantly searching for - or are at least open to the idea of - a bigger better deal. Unengaged employees are significantly more likely to look for alternative employment, so Lowe's strategy of regularly engaging with its people and putting the insights gleaned into action not only helps boost customer satisfaction but keeps employees with the brand.

Lowe's is also engaging with its employees with virtual reality technology. Its Holoroom How-To feature was originally designed to guide customers through a range of DIY tasks, but now the home improvement brand is using it to help store associates better understand the industry in which they work. More than 90 percent of employees have engaged with the system and have stated that they feel it helps them better serve customers.

Final Thoughts

Employee engagement is crucial to raising the satisfaction of customers and keeping your staff happy and healthy in their roles. More brands should follow the example set by Lowe's and carry out regular employee surveys - and act on the results - so staff feel like they are listened to and respected.


You can hear Lowe's' Director of Employee Relations for the US, Stephanie Miller speak at HR Retail 2020 being held in April at the Hilton Austin, TX.

Please download the agenda today for more information and insights.