Unleashing the Power of Employees for Retention of Workers and Customers with Disabilities
Best Buy attracts employees and customers of all types and from very diverse backgrounds. As the number one consumer electronic retailer in the U.S., an important company goal is to make Best Buy a great place to work by having fun while being the best. The nature of the business allows for this in grand ways. Because employee retention is key to their business, they look for best practices in the areas of employee loyalty and respect. Through a variety of teams including Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Acquisition, Performance Management and our Employee Business Networks, they strive to meet the needs of the diversity of their employees. This includes cultural, religious or physical accommodations. This case study presents one example of how Best Buy unleashes the power of their people.
Founded in 1966, Best Buy, headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota, started out as a stand-alone Sound of Music (now known as Best Buy) store in Roseville, Minnesota and has grown to over 1000 U.S. and global Best Buy stores. The Company also has several subsidiary brands. The company mission is, “Our formula is simple: we’re a growth company focused on better solving the unmet needs of our customers and we rely on our employees to solve those puzzles. Thanks for stopping.”
Individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) were finding it to be challenging to gain and then retain employment with Best Buy due to social differences that ASD poses. Through several of our retail employees and individuals contacting FACE (Facing Autism in a Caring Environment a Best Buy affinity group) members, management knew the issue needed to be addressed.
In January 2011, they developed a collaborative approach with the Autism Society of Minnesota and members of their corporate training team to develop a comprehensive eLearning that would educate their employees on the characteristics of ASD and how best to work with an employee (or customer) on the spectrum.
Both Best Buy retail and corporate staff served on the eLearning development team including cashiers, finance team members, and services agents as they were primarily those impacted by the issue. Also serving on the training team were the co-chair of the Best Buy disability affinity group, INCLUDE, and two training eLearning developers. The team developed an eLearning software application at a cost of approximately $10,000.
Best Buy considers this initiative yielded a tremendous return on investment. The majority of employees who completed this eLearning module commented that they now “get it” and that they realize that their co-workers or customers who exhibit behaviors presented in the training may have ASD and they now know how to work with them more effectively. It is also one of the highest rated eLearnings among thousands in Best Buy’s Learning Lounge program. As a result of this success, Best Buy packaged the eLearning, making it customizable, and it is now available to any organization through the Autism Society of Minnesota. For Best Buy, the lesson learned is that when you educate and create awareness, you dispel myths and therefore lessen the fears people have in addressing people who are different.