What are we to think when companies don’t practice what they preach on a business level?
Part of Petsmart’s messaging to their customers is to bring your dog to the store as an extension of your experience. I have gone into the store and seen staff who have brought their dog(s) to work. In a New Jersey store, an operations manager, who was a former military dog handler, was doing his store manager a favor by picking up an extra overnight shift. Within two weeks he was fired for bringing his dog to work. I really think companies and managers need to think about what the implications are when you say one thing and do another from a brand perspective.
What message are you sending to your employees who are also your customers? They are your brand cheerleaders. After media outlets began to ask questions the man was re-hired by Petsmart, but decided to take a position with a different company shortly after.
I get that it’s tough to run a business and to keep a structure with your employees. I wish Petsmart’s brand messaging extended through the ranks to a store manager level though. Any break in that chain will damage the brand in ways that will take much longer to recover. Not only did it hurt employee morale, but it also generated bad press nationally. I hope that going forward Petsmart will instill better training and management support for store managers to help them deal with employees and communicate better. Everyone will benefit from it in the long run.