The retail industry is evolving like never before. Thanks to advancements in digital technology and innovations in delivery and data, retailers can predict and understand what their customers want, successfully meeting their demands. Apparel brands set themselves apart from their competition by implementing smart business strategies that meet their consumer’s demands in terms of sustainability, personalization, customization, e-commerce, and quality.
However, several brands stand out in the retail landscape. They represent the embodiment of brands that continuously leverage the power of the information era, to produce products of top-notch quality that customers keep coming back for.
It’s important to note that quality is more than making a good product. According to Forbes, a Gallup study on employee engagement found that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competition by 147% in earning per share. Therefore, good quality stems from the way an organization is run and it boils down to employee performance, employee experience, and organizational culture. An apparel brand that exudes quality sets the benchmark for high performance across quality, sustainability, employee rewards & benefits, leadership, culture and working environment.
In this blog post, we’ll take a more unconventional approach, examining how fashion brands continuously achieve stellar quality by exploring 4 ways that some might not realize are directly related. Our information is derived from an article by The Business of Fashion stating the best fashion companies to work for in 2017.
1. Employee Experience & Cultural Development
Luxury Spanish fashion house Loewe sees to it that cultural development plays a vital part in their company’s employee experience. Directors at Loewe listens to employees by supporting their various arts and cultural, craft-based initiatives across poetry, architecture, photography, dance, craftsmanship, and design. The brand also fosters a more profound understanding of brand identity by allowing team members from different countries to partake in cultural training which embraces leather working heritage, factories, museum visits, etc. The brand also has excellent internal and external communication channels which result in enhanced productivity and managerial feedback. Loewe’s employees often go beyond their basic expectations of their job roles due to the great working environment.
2. It’s all about Balance
Tommy Hilfiger promotes a work environment in which employees can balance their work and personal life effectively. The brand genuinely believes in the importance of employee satisfaction and supports their employees’ personal ambitions too. To reduce their lead-times significantly and to get their products to market faster, Tommy Hilfiger successfully directed its 17,000 strong cohesive teams into one productive entity, focusing on improving working environments and establishing team bonding through various events and training courses.
The brand’s strategy is to implement an open, collaborative work environment in which employees are free to pursue some of their personal aspirations while remaining accountable for various projects seems to be working. It has boosted productivity rather than diminish it, and leads to an organizational culture in which employees love what they do. This sheds a positive light on the brand’s reputation and performance as a whole.
3. Learning and Development Programmes are Essential
While the importance of learning and development programmes may be known, it’s the way that they are enforced which needs to be discussed. Global sports brand Adidas is known for their manager’s ability to develop existing talent using clear and open communication, zero micro-management and always providing ample opportunities for learning. Adidas encourages employees to build diverse careers by exploring the brand’s numerous departments within its local and global operations. Adidas’ work environment is youthful and never lacks motivation, enjoyment, and efficiency. The brand successfully gives their employees the right tools and information to do their jobs effectively to be the best at what they do. Moreover, Adidas’ employees enjoy benefits such as health insurance, travel allowances, pension and wellness services which has favorable effects on the brand’s overall performance.
4. The Importance of Motivational Leadership & Incentives
Since the arrival of Gucci’s new CEO in 2015, Marco Bizzarri, the business' organizational culture has improved significantly, increasing the brand’s revenue growth by 21 percent in 2016. This is due to the new CEO’s leadership which focuses on clear, concise and efficient communication to communicate change throughout the organization effectively, and leads to high work motivation all around.
Moreover, hugely successful French brand Galeries Lafayette uses a simple strategy which links individual output to business as a way of motivating their employees. Their international growth comes back full circle to their motivated, highly engaged workforce. Employees continue to push for success because they can clearly see the brand impact they have on a day-to-day basis and their skills are developed in a way that aligns with their personal career goals. Galeries Lafayette's employees are also continuously pushed to new professional directions to increase their level of expertise, and as a result, the brand’s overall quality and performance. Additionally, the brand implements a remuneration system which encourages their employees to work hard and go beyond expectations.
Levi Strauss & Co. is an example of another brand that reaps the benefits of financial incentive programmes. At Levi Strauss & Co. employees’ salary packages are designed in a way that promotes productivity by providing employees with sufficient financial means based on the city they live in. This way, employees are more focused on producing high-quality work, rather than worrying about their financial situations. The retailer also includes a 10 percent bonus on salary for the year when employees achieve economic targets. Furthermore, the brand uses rewards, prizes, and friendly competitions to acknowledge employees who work hard which builds a culture of high-performance and pride. Employees always try their best to leave no stone unturned.
While there are more obvious reasons as to how brands continue to succeed by maintaining high levels of performance and quality, we can certainly learn that an organization’s success is directly related to its workforce. Here’s what we can learn:
- Employee experience and cultural development play an essential role in establishing a positive work environment and brand identity.
- Employees should be able to balance their career goals with their personal ambitions.
- Learning and development programmes are crucial for establishing a high-performing workforce that meets and maintains company performance and quality goals.
- Motivational leadership and employee incentives go a long way in fostering productivity.
Investing in one's people is vital to the success of any and all apparel brands. A brand and its quality is not just about the product, but about the people who help make it that much better!
Do you have any questions regarding the apparel industry? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!