Engaging employees at Expert Deurne
2014 – Expert is an international chain of cooperating, independent entrepreneurs in white and brown goods on the European market. In the Netherlands Expert has 160 stores. Expert at Deurne in the province or North Brabant, has about 20 employees working in sales or as a mechanic/delivery man headed by a ‘director sales’ and a ‘director technical service’.
The workplace innovation
Expert Deurne has grown from about 5 to 20 employees in short time. This gave the store manager increasing organizational responsibilities and employers’ duties and he hardly had time for customer contacts. A consultancy firm was contracted to spread responsibilities in the organization. A better planning and coordination between sales and delivery was an additional issue in this process.
There were individual talks about mutual expectations and perceptions of each other with the director and a number of staff. It became obvious that some people wanted to become more involved with the company but had felt inhibited to show these ambitions hitherto. Based on these talks bottlenecks and improvement actions were inventoried. Also about the cooperation and coordination of activities within departments and between the departments sales and delivery/repair appointments were made. The mission was: “keep your promise and do a little too much." This has to do with service and after sales. One concrete action is that every morning during fifteen minutes the staff discuss the ins and outs of the day and determine the division of labor.
At Expert the work is done more systematically. The director has more control over the organization and sees more quickly when something needs to be done. It is more easily for him to prioritize for customers and /or organization. In spite of the crisis, the store has achieved more sales and has been able realize more profit. The store has a high level of service. In 2010 the Expert shop in Deurne was proclaimed the best Dutch Expert shop for the second time. Criteria were: consumer opinion about the store, store and team performance. So far, the most was achieved for the group sales. It was decided to follow a similar path for the technical service/delivery.
It is important that employees come up with ideas and ask questions. Employees should be made aware of what is happening in the organization. It is also important that staff and especially the delivery personnel and mechanics know that they are ambassadors of the store. Listening to employees and encouraging initiative, creates space and a positive climate. Employees must be given the opportunity to develop. Showing results and offering space for informal moments, is important.
Themes: Dynamic management, SME