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?

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7 Things Confidential Job Postings Say About Your Company

I always snicker and shake my head when I see a job posting listed as “Company Confidential“.  “Don’t these people get it?” I say to myself.

A job posting is one of the most frequent forms of advertising your company – and perhaps the number one way to represent your employment brand – you know -the image you project as to whether your company is a good place to work or not?  By publishing your job postings confidentially, you not only miss the opportunity to spread your employment brand, but you actually hurt it!  Plus, you’ll just delay the time it takes you to fill with your really bad version of grown up Hide and Seek.  Here’s what posting your open jobs confidentially  says about you:

  1. You don’t get talent! Candidates are leery about applying for confidential postings.  You’ll potentially miss out on the one by hiding who you are.
  2. You’re sneaky!  Do you already have someone in this role and you want to try and back fill them before they are out the door?  Would you post my job without talking to me someday? Are you conducting interviews in dark alleys?
  3. You’re ashamed! What are you hiding?  Shouldn’t the name of your company draw in applicants?
  4. You’re cowardly! Are you trying to avoid internal applications and the difficult conversations associated with having to let someone down?
  5. You’re old school! You think people should be lucky to work for you and have no other options.
  6. You’re not resourceful! You’re missing out on referrals from your employees and network.
  7. You’re lazy! You don’t want to “waste your time” wading through so many resumes so why not limit the amount you receive?

Sure, we can think of benefits to posting jobs confidentially…I’m talking to you staffing agencies who can’t hunt us down and blow up our phones…but the benefits nowhere near outweigh the detriment to your employment brand and your talent acquisition strategy in the global fight for talent.  Post confidentially, and you’ll enjoy less resumes, less talent,  and longer time to fill.  Enjoy!

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