Incu's Human Resources Manager Leanne Lusher offers ragtrader.com.au an insight into her role at the Australian fashion retailer.
What is an average day for you at Incu?
My day is dictated by what is happening in the business at that specific time. I cover a few areas being a one-person HR department, so I could be dealing with anything from employee relations to WHS to training and development and everything in between. I often meet with department heads, or the senior store operations team and I love to pop my head in store when I get the chance to say hi.
However, I can be really distracting, so I make sure never to out stay my welcome. If I bring treats, they let me hang around longer. I have been working at Incu for six years now and have become a bit of a go-to person in the office.
What powerful achievement have you attained this year in your role?
I would say this year's Manager's Conference. We have been trying to get the formula right for the last few years and I think this year we nailed it. I believe this year was successful as we wanted to focus primarily on our community, so we asked people, in which Incu had a relationship with, to come in and be a part of our conference.
When you involve people who actually care about your business, you can really see the difference in engagement and authenticity. They show up because Incu means something to them. Incu has always prided itself on supporting and being the biggest cheerleader of people in their community and it's not about getting ahead and wanting people to like us, it's truly about wanting to see others succeed.
What is a key challenge for you right now?
Protecting the house. I don't want Incu to ever lose it's DNA. I am so proud of Incu's culture and we all work very hard every day to protect it. Sometimes the fashion industry is given a bit of a bad wrap in regard to culture, and because of the clothing we sell at Incu, there is a preconceived idea of how we operate as a business. What I love is breaking that stereotype.
As companies grow, it can be really challenging to keep positive culture alive and consistent; however, the boys have always been adamant that we stay true to who we have always been regardless of size. There's not an over complicated strategy we have in place, it's just as simple as being decent and good people.
I always remind the team that every casual in this business is just as important as a department head - there is no room for egos here. I also remind them that our casual employees or interns may be hiring us one day.
What is a key opportunity for you now?
For Incu, a key opportunity for us is up-skilling our leadership team. We need to find a way to keep our leaders engaged and feeling valued so we can build a company of progress and promotion which will hopefully filter down to the rest of the business.
When I started, we didn't have a lot of senior people in the business, so we didn't put emphasis on training and development like we do now. Looking back, we can easily identify that we could have done better and helped our team develop and progress more.
Retail use to be such a transient industry, but what we're finding is more people are starting to realise that if you want it, there are amazing careers to be had. I mean, most of the team in the office started on a shop floor somewhere. I believe we need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to give people the opportunity to have a successful and long career in retail, whether with us or in another business who can offer then a better opportunity that we can't.
What plans do you have in your role for the future?
As I mentioned before, a big area we are concentrating on for Incu is 'community'. We are always discussing ways in which we can do more for our community. Most of us in the head office in some form or another had to do an internship when we were finishing our studies or trying to get out first roles in the big bad world. We often sit around the lunch table and share horror stories of what we were made to do during our internships, and we all have a chuckle, but behind those laughs we are deeply traumatised and triggered from our experiences.
So, with this in mind, we decided to look at different ways we could share our wisdom and guidance to the next generation, knowing we don't have the capacity to conduct lots of internships. And so we thought: Why not do Incu Open Office Days? We kicked off our first employee open house this year in March and it was a huge success, so now we are looking at partnering with fashion colleges to open up our office and team to them. We put on a nice lunch, we make sure our whole office team is available for groups talks and one-on-ones and most importantly we have a great time.
I can't wait to roll this one out.