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Many (many, many, many) years ago I worked at Nordstrom. Working there in it's prime taught be amazing lessons about compensation, culture and success. Among them.
1. Pay your employees for the job you expect them to do.
2. Reward them if they outperform expectations.
3. Customers come first. They are the reason for existence.
4. Your front line employees are the only direct link to your customers. Therefore they come second. Treat them as if they are almost as important as your reason for existence.
5. Managers are there to make sure that employees can do their job (keeping customers happy).
6. Executives are there to ensure that everything runs smooth enough for the rest of the people in this cycle to be successful.

They had this simple inverted pyramid that has been re-used many times. The key was that everyone in the pyramid acted as if the pyramid drove their actions.

I also loved the "employee handbook" that I was given upon hire. It was a 5x7 glossy card that simply said: "Always Use Your Best Judgment". They hired people they felt had good judgment. They expected you to use it to be successful.

(google search the pyramid here. https://www.google.com/search?q=nordstrom+inverted+pyramid&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=2y2rUrXyKczYoAT7zoCQAg&sqi=2&ved=0CCkQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=950#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=tVK3-U9wi-bHPM%3A%3B9BRcmMdaXh0wyM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.covalentmarketing.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F12%252FNordstrom-Inverted-Pyramid.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcovalentmarketing.com%252Fblog%252F2012%252F12%252F11%252Fnordstrom-quality-customer-service-for-over-100-years%252F%3B560%3B370)

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