We’ve been back from the ICFA Educational Conference and our minds are still reeling from the incredible insights we received at the many seminars and break-out sessions. The hot topic for this conference? Everything. By the end of February 16, no stone was left unturned in the scenic Scottsdale landscape. Leaders came, saw, and conquered.
Didn’t get a chance to attend?
We’ve got the scoop on the 4 BIGGEST educational impacts of the ICFA Educational Conference.
Generations Are Everything
From David Stillman’s session on “Selling Across Generations” to Ed Tashjian’s “How to Sell to Millennials and Boomers”, we earned our degrees in generational understanding.
On Millennials: Technology is the center of their universe while customization is the space that fills it. Millennials want to feel that you know their needs and can meet those needs without any effort on the Millennials part. While other generations call the Millennials “lazy” and “entitled”, generational gurus like David Stillman say it’s wrong.
This tech-focus, Boomer-raised generation revolves around collaboration and a sense of community. They experienced the technology boom in a very social way. This makes the Millennial a great advocate when your brand offers valuable items to post (because they post everything) and a frightening mouthpiece if your brand falls short of its promises–a trait they learned at the Boomers’ knee.
How do you sell furniture to millennials?
Show them the meaning. If you’re different, show them how you’re different.
Read more about how to market your furniture to millennial shoppers.
Company Culture Cultivates Competition
Retailers and manufacturers in the home furnishings industry are only as strong as their weakest employees. While our industry grows year after year, the turnover across the board on employment is staggering.
According to Dr. Denise Federer’s session, “Building Team Synergy”, U.S. companies lose $11B annually on employee turnover.
If you’re wondering why it’s harder to find success in your company, take a look at the culture instead of the cost-analysis.
The people are the keys to a successful, thriving organization. To that end, another thing we learned from Dr. Federer was the makeup of your company’s employees.
3 Types of Employees
>> Not Engaged
>> Actively Disengaged
Only 30% of your employees are fully engaged. While all companies can’t operate like Google, there are ways your company can scale employee culture improvements.
>> Create a clear career path for each department
Your employees want to feel that there is room to grow in their position. Outline a basic roadmap for different positions and tailor each to the needs and skills of the employee. When your team sees that the company encourages professional growth, they’re more satisfied with their job and stay engaged for longer.
>> Encourage professional growth
If your company has the resources available, develop a program that helps employees become proficient at their skillset. This may be offering an educational incentive where the company pays a percentage of continuing education classes based on employee performance and relation to the job. It may be as small as partnering with industry or professional organizations that provide networking and professional growth opportunities. The home furnishings industry is lucky to have some incredible organizations that match these criteria. Read more about organizations that empower women and young leaders in our industry.
>> Communicate often
This doesn’t mean having a meeting every other day to evaluate your staff but it does mean that you should have an “open door” policy in the workplace. Encourage your employees through consistent, concise meetings. Make sure they’re on task while also encouraging their personal development through a mentorship. As your employees’ direct leaders, you make the most effective form of a mentor. Find ways to teach your team through one-on-one sessions. An employee who continues to learn also continues to grow and engage.
We’re only scratching the surface of all we absorbed at #ICFA2017. If you attended, let us know what you learned and loved!