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The internet seems to be in an uproar of Abercrombie & Fitch’s newest insult, large people (specifically women) shouldn’t wear their clothes. At least the company is honest about their brand and expectations.
Communications expert, Tim Miles, author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It, and Being It wrote in his blog, the Daily Blur that A&F is the anti-Dove, anti-inclusive. He goes on to explain why this is good business and advertising for the A&F brand.
“I think public protests outside their stores would make CEO Jeffries squeal with glee,” Miles wrote. “He welcomes this publicity as a siren song to his shallow end of the pool.”
Miles is 100 percent right.
A&F seems to have the spotlight every few years whether it’s with their hiring practices (or firing practices), the outlandish and teen-coveted, sexualized magazine or a $50 T-shirt with an explicit message (see the entire product criticism on the A&F wikipedia page).
The main point is that the general public and media are talking about A&F and all those conversations just make the cool kids want to buy the clothes and others to see what they’re missing.
Exclusion is nothing new for A&F and it isn’t hurting the business bottom line. It may not be ethical, kind or bettering the world in any way, but is selling clothes, albeit skimpy, overly expensive clothes.
Vote with consumer dollars, if you don’t like their business practices, you don’t have to shop there. Just be wary of forbidding your teenagers from shopping at A&F, it will probably lead to them buying the clothes and telling you they’re borrowing it from their bestie. (Not that I ever did that myself…)
Full disclosure: I interviewed for a job at A&F in college. I made the mistake of not wearing a full, current season A&F outfit to the interview (apparently an A&F t-shirt and A&F jeans weren’t enough, I was supposed to wear the jewelry, perfume and flip-flops too) and ultimately wasn’t hired.
Two recent Harvard Business Review posts cited some interesting statistics from the September U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“As of January 2012, the median time that wage and salary workers in the U.S. had been with their current employers was just 4.6 years,” according to the first HBR post by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott. “Other recent data points are equally disturbing: The staffing company Randstad says that 40% of employees are planning to look for a new job within the next six months. Another survey notes that 69% of employees are already at least passively shopping for new job opportunities via social media today.”
Further, most of those looking fall into entry-level positions. The old saying, people accept a position for the company and leave because of management may ring true. However, the perspective of this follow up HBR post also by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott focused on how those managers can work to retain employees and convince them to stick with a company or organization for the long-term.
The authors suggest managers can retain employees by following the Five Rs of employee relationships, which is also a good list for a perspective employee to use to judge a perspective company.
Responsibility: How much responsibility will you have? Are you trusted to do your job? Are there ways for you to grow in the position or gain new skills?
Respect and Reward (these go together): How do supervisors in the company show they respect their employees? How are employees recognized or rewarded? How will I know you’re committed to me as an employee?
Revenue-sharing: What’s in it for me if the company does well this year? (Fair warning: it probably isn’t a good idea to ask the question exactly that way in an interview setting.)
Relaxation time: How is time off handled? Is it by department? What about sick time? In all businesses, there are busy times, what if you need time off then?
What else can you use to judge a potential employer?