Last week, I met Carol at the Coles checkout. I asked her (while she was serving another customer) whether they sold cool bags. She did not respond – not because she was ignoring me – but she didn’t hear me. That was when I saw that she had a hearing aid (in fact a cochlear implant as I learned). When she realised I was talking to her she was most apologetic. I didn’t mind at all and it was my turn to be served by her. She noticed my daughter’s hearing aid and started to sign to her. My daughter doesn’t know how to sign but Carol made her feel very special with their shared gift of hearing loss.
Carol then went on to pack our shopping with skill, speed, consideration and care. All the cold items were placed into the cool bag without me having to ask. It turned out she had been with Coles for thirty years – she proudly showed her 30 year badge to prove it.
So why have Coles found employee gold?
- Low levels of absenteeism – Carol is highly likely to have very low levels of absenteeism as she was bubbling with enthusiasm, obviously loving her job
- Reliable – Carol is likely to be acutely aware of how difficult it is to find a role, as a person with a disability, and as a result is very grateful for the role and opportunity
- Pride – her pride in her job and her length of service was obvious
Customer Service – her interaction with us as a family was fantastic and the whole family got something from the experience. She was also well known amongst the locals
- ROI – Carol’s tenure has meant that Coles has both retained her knowledge and not had to go through the expensive process of replacement. She has potentially saved them thousands of dollars in training, recruitment, mentoring, non-absenteeism and her delivery of an enhanced customer service experience.
If Australia is to increase our productivity levels back to where we used to be – at a minimum, we need to use all of our potential workforce. Having a diverse workforce has proven very beneficial for the employee, other employees and colleagues and to the financial results of the company. Happy recruiting!