RTO what, how, and why.

NOT Return to Office (yet) - Return to Origin. RTO is used in e-commerce when a parcel cannot be delivered to the customer for any reason. It’s marked ‘RTO’ and sent back to where it came from. The seller has to pay both forward AND reverse logistic expenses. eTailers lose up to 30% of their revenue to returns and exchanges.

This can be a costly obstacle to profitability.

Bitespeed cites 5 reasons why packages don’t reach their final destination:

  1. Incorrect User Information (often linked to data entry/misspellings)

  2. Customer Unavailable.

  3. Fraudulent Order.

  4. Wrong Product Delivered.

  5. Damage.

All pretty relatable and straightforward. So how would we avoid RTO if we were in eCommerce?

Bitespeed’s suggestions:

  1. Share accurate product Information. In other words, be very intentional and informative about your product. Be sure your customer knows what they’re getting.

  2. Update your customers about the order status. Tracking updates are essential to customer satisfaction and substantially reduces anxiety among impatient customers awaiting their orders.

  3. Cross-check and verify. Make sure the information is accurate BEFORE sending status updates.

  4. Reduce COD orders. Wait, that’s still a thing?

  5. Improve product packaging. Not only is it important to protect the contents from damage, but it’s equally important to bring a brand experience to your customer’s doorstep.

  6. Offer customer support. Many times, eTailers can avoid an RTO simply by offering their customers access to the order information.

So the cause is usually bad data, out-of-reach customers, trust, dissatisfaction, or flawed product.

The solution is to AVOID these mistakes by sharing information, updating status, verifying the accuracy, reducing damage, and improving support to deliver an exceptional brand experience to your customer’s door.

“Treat your customers great. Treat your employees better than your customers”

Let’s shift RTO’s and talk about the ‘other’ one. Return to Office - the mandate version that’s forcing employees back into the office.

Personal research, 1:1 discussions with some of the world’s largest occupiers, and crowdsourcing the LinkedIn community of global workplace professionals have resulted in 5 reasons why employers require their employees to return.

  1. Increased Collaboration

  2. Productivity

  3. Serendipity

  4. Knowledge Transfer

  5. Upward Mobility

At Orion Growth, we have seen a crazy contrast between our clients, and size matters. Our small businesses are not struggling (with workplace issues). They’re not luring. They’re not mandating. They’re focused on their customers and meeting their employees' needs by granting them choice. As a result, the vast majority have or are shedding their offices and investing in their people by rethinking HOW they work. They’re focused on how they can support modern work.

Meanwhile, most of our corporate clients are in various stages of RTO. Three have failed twice, and one is about to fail for the third time if their numbers continue this month. We were just informed that yet another is planning to roll out their RTO announcement in the coming days - once summer break is over.

Perhaps the most visible RTO fail(s) is JP Morgan Chase & Co. What started as “something that would blow over by October (2020)” has now failed three times for Mr. Dimon’s operating committee. The first was an RTO mandate on September 21, 2020 whereby Dimon publically stated, “We want people back to work. And everyone is going to be happy with it, and yes, the commute, you know people don’t like commuting, but so what.” In April of ‘21 (after their official return to office in February) JPMC conceded about 10% of their employees could work remotely, half had to return full-time, and 40% could split their time. Consequentially, they reduced their NYC footprint by 300,000 square feet in 2020 and 400,000 square feet in 2021. Quit rates by company are very hard to find. If anyone has specific numbers for this example, I will gladly update the article and note it as such.

So why doesn’t CRE handle their RTO like eCommerce handles theirs?

Indulge me.

Let’s SAY our GOAL was to get employees back into the office…just like the eTailers goal is to reduce packages from being labeled Returned to Origin.

  1. What if we shared the information that our culture / founders / shareholders and customers respected our history of connectedness & camaraderie?

  2. What if we informed our employees of all the positive changes we made or will be making to accommodate a new flexible schedule? What if we then enable them with new workplace tools to help them become better at what they do?

  3. What if we cross-checked and verified the messaging between the Board of Directors, HR, CRE, and the facilities people BEFORE we made a global announcement? What if we included the people who’s shoulders this will really fall on for feedback?

  4. What if we improved our product packaging? Imagine if we better equipped our employees for flexibility with improvements to tech and platform? What if we looked at remote work as a product? What if we didn’t stop there but we offered to train them so they could feel more effective at what they do? What if we recognized the change and empowered them to rebrand their own team ‘packaging’?

  5. What if we offered them more support? Life has changed, people have died, and employees have moved. What if we added grace and compassion to the balance sheet?

In 2021 alone, 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their job. Some people who are ‘returning’ have never stepped inside their office….and others will vow to never do it again.

If we truly believe our most valuable resource is our people….

If we are truly concerned about attracting and retaining talent….

If we’re honest about the impact our personal and collective habits have on the economy…..

…then don’t you think avoiding the true cost of sending and returning our precious packages back and forth is worth pursuing?!

This isn’t one way or the other - it’s both.

Parting thought for the employee performance people:

From Gallup - "Leaders need to ask if poor remote work performance or poor hybrid work performance is a location problem or a management problem. No location can *fix* poor management, and the office alone has no magic to create a great organizational culture."

unLEARN and reTHINK as Adam Grant so eloquently wrote.

#TotalTenancy™ | #OrionGrowth | #WAGMI

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