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World Retail Congress: Building a positive culture is 'paramount'

Company culture is paramount to driving performance, panellists agreed at the World Retail Congress in Rome today (September 9).

Genevieve Kunst, managing director of Shopstyle, said the company’s motto is ‘Power your happy’ and the upbeat culture allows individuals to thrive and form their own identity. Kunst explained: “People’s priorities at work have changed and they now want to fulfil an inner purpose.”

Ahmed Galal Ismail, chief executive at Majid Al Futtaim Ventures, a Dubai-based business founded in 2006 to bring together Emirati businessman Majid Al Futtaim’s leisure, entertainment and business ventures on one platform, agreed, saying: “Individuals are looking for authenticity in a job and a business must be open about its ambitions and challenges.”

He said internal communication methods must change in the same way communication to customers has, making everything a two-way conversation. He cited platforms such as Yammer as a way to communicate internally.

Also speaking on the panel was Julie Hamilton from Coca Cola, which is now a 129-year-old business. She said retailers must embrace a culture of continual change and call on customers to encourage this: “Stay close to customer needs and what’s important to them. They will push you to make the change.”

Ismail also highlighted the necessity of good relationships with suppliers, employees and customers alike. He said: “Take care of employees and they will take care of your customers. Take care of suppliers and you will become their favourite customer. It’s easier to do well in business when people are conspiring to assist you.”

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