At West Elm, we're committed to building the strongest team in retail through strong communication and an open exchange of ideas. We even encourage differences of opinion, as long as both parties are respectful and kind in their disagreements. Have you ever disagreed with a decision that your supervisor has made? How did you approach that situation?
"A few years ago when I was working at a small, privately-owned boutique, our owner/manager decided to change our return policy. We had very reliable customers who appreciated how open and easy our initial return policy was, and all of the sales associates were concerned that the change would deter our customers from being as consistent. A lot of my coworkers were complaining about the change without talking to my manager directly, and the environment was getting really toxic. Instead of contributing to the toxicity, I asked my manager if we could talk and then I told her all of the reasons I was worried about the change. She listened to and answered my concerns, and we had a really respectful, open exchange about it. I understood her perspective much better after we talked, and I was able to help explain the change to my coworkers as well."
"About a year ago at my current store, my manager promoted a very new, seasonal sales associate to a display coordinator position, which is a position that reports directly to the store manager. All of my coworkers and I were really stunned by the promotion because many of us had been working in the store for several years longer than the employee who received the promotion. I was really upset about it, personally, because I had been at the store for over two years at that point and felt like I had put in the time and work to be in line for a promotion. I took a few days to process and organize my thoughts, then I scheduled a meeting with the store manager. I told her how the promotion looked to me and to my coworkers, and that I felt like my contributions weren't being appreciated. She was really kind about it but held her ground about her decision. I was disappointed, but ultimately I know that she's the boss and knows what she's doing. I'm glad that I took the initiative to talk to her about the impact of her decision, though."