On With His Head! Employee Action Saves the CEO

If you live outside of New England, you’ve probably never heard of Market Basket. But last week, something amazing happened in this family-owned regional supermarket chain with stores throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  In a way, they had a reverse “Arab Spring”, okay, well maybe not that significant, but you get what I mean – employees used social media to band together, engage their customers and communities, and save their CEO from the corporate guillotine.

Save Market Basket Facebook Page with nearly 12,500 likes

Save Market Basket Facebook Page with nearly 12,500 likes

After employees got word that several board members were proposing the ouster of CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, they took to social media in outrage at the thought.  They started an online petition which has reached almost 45,000 signatures, the Twitter hashtag #SaveArthurT, and a Facebook page that has grown to nearly 12,500 likes.  They used Facebook to organize rallies at stores throughout the region and they’ve attracted significant attention from the media and support from politicians, like US Rep Niki Tsongas (D-MA). For now anyway, their approach seems to have worked.  The board has made no further moves to remove Demoulas from his position.

What is it that caused employees to raise their pricing guns and dust mops in protest?  Was it a deep love for the CEO who grew up in this business?  Was it fear of losing their jobs?  Was it the ugly gray and maroon deli smocks?  No!  It was a business decision. 

Market Basket used their "Specials" board to thank their customers and employees

Market Basket used their “Specials” board to thank their customers and employees

You see, while competitors focused on replacing staff with self-checkouts, tracking purchases through key-chain cards, and raising prices, Market Basket has been experiencing unprecedented growth by building new stores, keeping customer costs low, and focusing on customer service.  Taken aback that the board would even consider removing Demoulas, after so much success under his leadership, employees stood up against a potential business decision that they believe will take the company in the wrong direction, resulting in higher costs for consumers.

As an HR guy, these are my favorite takeaways from this story:

  • Talk about engagement!  One of the most surprising parts of this story is the extent to which these employees went to have their voices heard within this company.
  • Employees instinctively want what’s best for the business!  The actions taken by Market Basket’s employees were fueled by their beliefs about how to operate the business and satisfy their customers, not how much they stood to personally gain.
  • Social media strikes again!  Once again, social media demonstrates that you can’t keep it out of the workplace.  Resistance is futile!

What would you do if your employees took this approach to raising opposition to a change in your organization?

Advertisements

Social Networking Occurs Offline Too

There’s no question that social media has changed the way we all communicate.  Be it Twitter or Facebook; Yammer or Reddit;  LinkedIn or Pinterest.  We are all using these tools on a daily basis to share information, learn something new, have a laugh, and most importantly, connect with others.  As we use social media to build our personal brands online, we often forget how important it can be to do so offline.

Last week, I attended the Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA.  I’ve been attending these conferences for five years, and over the last three – social media has made these conferences even more enriching.  How so?  Well, I use Twitter and LinkedIn as an HR professional.  Over time, I’ve virtually connected with other people in the field – whether practitioners, thought leaders, or academics – and when I arrived at the conference, I already had a network of people to interact with.  But meeting these people in person, having a drink together and sharing an idea and a laugh, has helped solidify these relationships.  Now these people know me a lot better.  They’ve shaken my hand, seen the sincerity in my eyes.  Meeting in person takes your relationship to a different level.  Besides that – I was introduced to tons of people and made lots of new connections as well.  I’ve added over 60 new followers to Twitter in the four days of the conference.

Sure online networking is easier; it’s less time consuming and you can do it any time – but the value added by connecting to people offline cannot be surpassed.  When it really comes time to draw upon your network – people will be more comfortable working with or recommending you if they’ve met you offline.

 

This post original appeared on the Personal Branding Blog (www.personalbrandingblog.com)

Guest Post: Dear Recruiters – Help Me, Help You! (by Mark Campanale)

I love LinkedIn. There are so many powerful tools in this one community that can help you meet new people, reconnect with business contacts, and get questions answered by people you’ve never met who are willing to help you, even earn new business and find a job.

What LinkedIn is not for is – unsolicited spamming. I’ll explain:

Earlier this month, I put myself back on the job market.  I changed my contact settings to include ‘interested in career opportunities’.  My friends and connections were more than happy to help me in my search and gave me some fantastic referrals.  However, this also opened the door for phone calls like this:

Recruiter:“HI Mark! Your resume just came across my desk, and I have the perfect opportunity for you.”

q
 
Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name and who you are with.”

Recruiter: “This is (doesn’t matter) and I’m from So-and-So Recruitment.”

Me: “Hmm. I didn’t send your firm a resume.  Can you tell me how you found it?”

Recruiter: “I saw your status on LinkedIn that you were looking and we have lots of jobs that you may be interested in.”

The biggest issue here is that the job(s) this person was calling me for had nothing to do with my experience.  My profile clearly defines me as a social media and marketing professional and NOT someone interested in entry-level insurance sales with no experience necessary.  This particular recruiter could have benefited if they had tried to get to know me by:

  • Viewing my profile for ‘fit’
  • Seeing if we had any contacts in common, and asked for a referral
  • Sending me an InMail with an introduction to warm up their cold call

And even if I wasn’t a fit, maybe I know someone who is!  LinkedIn is about building solid, professional relationships. As of this posting, I have 496 connections which equal approximately 6.5 million professionals in my network. I am far more inclined to take an appointment when someone is referred by one of my trusted contacts. It happens all the time – it’s why LinkedIn is so powerful and has been around for so long because it PRODUCES ROI!

There are some AMAZING recruiters on the web (Tim Walsh, David Graziano) who truly get that personal branding and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor are the best ways to earn business.

The take away is, don’t lurk; don’t think the answer to somebody’s question is your services. Find a way to connect with prospects through your contacts. You’ll earn more than new business; you’ll earn trust, which, in business, is the most valuable tool you can use.

This is my profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markcampanale

Feel free to see whom we have in common or who you may know that can introduce us. I’m always willing to help other’s succeed in business.

Your comments are greatly appreciated.

This guest blog is from Mark Campanale of the Ultimate Customer Experience blog

%d bloggers like this: