Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Does Inc. allow ink?

Last spring, I participated in a college to career conference that provided college students the chance to ask a panel of employers questions about the job world and any advice we wanted to give them regarding the job search as a whole. One of the most frequently asked questions was around the topic of tattoos in the workplace. Are they acceptable? Can they be visible? What’s considered too big?

The reason I believe this question has become a hot topic, is due to the overlap of parents/teachers and millennials coming from two completely different social views on tattoos. In today’s workplace, many contemporary companies are stressing commitments to diversity and inclusion, so tattoos are becoming increasingly unproblematic across the board.  Lax tattoo policies for blue-collar and art-related jobs aren’t shocking, but the increasingly tolerant outlook of frontrunners in corporate, educational and medical industries are more surprising.

For instance, according to Bank of America Spokeswoman Ferris Morrison, Bank of America has no written rules or restrictions when it comes to inked corporate employees.  “We have no formal policy about tattoos because we value our differences and recognize that diversity and inclusion are good for our business and make our company stronger,” she said.

Yet, that is not true for every company.  Tattoo policies vary from one office to another, the contra argument being that tattoos – like unconventional hairdos or bold garments – can distract coworkers and clients.  “Depending on if they are visible or offensive in nature, tattoos can have an impact on professionalism,” said Mark Brenner, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Apollo Group.

The employer panel came to the conclusion that if the tattoo can be covered during business hours, it is typically not a problem. On the other hand, we did suggest to the students that it is best to make sure and ask about it during the interview process or read the employer handbook that should state dress code or tattoo polices. This is important to understand before you “ink a deal” with a company.

For questions about ink, contact ashley.gonzales@mattressfirm.com
* http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2013/02/27/having-a-tattoo-and-a-job/

Monday, July 28, 2014

Intern Spotlight-Nicholas J.

This summer has been absolutely amazing and I have learned so much.  I have never had any formal sales training, so to have the opportunity to get that training from an industry leader has been a true blessing.  I have gone from not knowing what to say to guests in the beginning to feeling confident that I can sell beds.  I feel like I know what it takes to be a manager, and how to always have your store looking right.  I have learned that the little details that people tend to overlook are important.  I have also learned that selling is not necessarily product knowledge, but being able to build a relationship.  It is important to learn the guest and in the end make sure that their needs are your priority and completely met.  I have learned the importance of knowing your competition and also how you never know what they are going to say about you. 

Choosing an internship or a job is a big decision, so I have a few pieces of advice to those looking in sales.  First, I would advise them to choose a company who will provide you with the tools necessary to succeed.  Some companies will just throw you in with the sharks, while others will give you world-class training.  This is definitely important when choosing a company.  Another piece of advice I would give is to always look for the growth potential within a company.  I think Mattress Firm truly has unlimited growth potential and that is an important characteristic in my opinion. 

My internship has been a major learning experience and I am very excited to be able to apply my knowledge!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Avoiding Different

I’ve never been more proud! My son, Jonah, just graduated from Kindergarten. Give me “My Kid is a Kindergarten Graduate” bumper sticker and I’ll slap it to the back of my SUV!

Alright, I may be exaggerating a bit as it relates to the “never been more proud” statement. While it’s a pretty exciting accomplishment as it relates to the life of a kindergartner, what I’ll be more proud is if we can get Jonah through all the camps we have him registered for this summer. My goodness!
For those of you who have kids and have experienced the journey through summer camps, you’ll probably understand me when I tell you the choices are overwhelming. (For those of you who haven’t hit this phase in life… just wait).  There are so many choices! Zoo camp, basketball camp, fencing camp (yes, for 6 year olds!), Spanish camp, chemistry camp… you name it, there’s a camp for it. And while I was overwhelmed as I read the options out loud and secretly hoped he would want to do Zoo camp every week to make my life easier, Jonah grew more and more excited about the prospect of doing something different every week of the summer.
As I reluctantly registered him for a new camp each week, I couldn’t help but reflect on how incredible a child’s curiosity and thirst for learning is. He was seeking out the opportunity to try something different, meet new people and learn new things every single week this summer.
It makes me wonder… 
At what point in our lives do we start taking the same route to work day after day? At what point in our lives do we settle into our job and do the same thing day after day? At what point do we find comfort in avoiding different?
When this happens, we have (likely unintentionally) closed ourselves off to learning and growing. We hamper our curiosity. We enter into a life of boredom, monotony and mundaneness…
Alright, I might be getting a bit dark.
The good news is it’s quite easy to change! While there are likely over a million Internet search results on how to change or how to be more curious, I found this list on the Live Bold and Bloom site to be quite entertaining and thought they had some really great suggestions.
So whether it’s driving a new route home tonight, reading an article about something you didn’t know or taking up a new hobby, I hope this sparked some small reminder to dig deep inside yourself to find an ounce of that curiosity that you had when you were a child.
I know for me, I’m going to do my best to be more like Jonah and find excitement in what each new week brings. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get online and search for a fencing course.
Looking for a new route to work? Reach out to abby.ludens@mattressfirm.com


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Intern Spotlight - Siham H.

“I never thought I would end up selling mattresses”, is what you would hear from just about every employee at Mattress Firm. Why stay? How come out of all the different companies to choose from, you chose Mattress Firm? “Because of the culture, it just feels like a family.” At first, I did not quite understand what the fuss was about when it came to ‘company culture’… until I started my internship, that is. 

I am Siham and I began this summer as an intern at Mattress Firm knowing as much about mattresses as almost every other guest – nothing. After a vigorous two-day pre-Memorial Day training, I felt like a mattress expert! However, when I showed up to work Memorial Day weekend, I quickly realized there was much more for me to learn about sales and the mattress industry. The best part is, no matter what level of training I have or who I am working with that day, I know for a fact that I would be treated not like the “new intern” but like every other employee. I am even given the chance to attend district and vendor meetings and am included in the community service Mattress Firm is a part of to raise money for pancreatic cancer through the Mattress Firm Foundation. Each individual I have had the pleasure to work with in my district has taught me something new and because of that I am able to not only grow and learn but also meet new people that have become great friends!

Mattress Firm is a company that knows how to work together as a synergistic team. This is something I was able to experience in just the three weeks I have been with the company so far. Everyone keeps in contact with each other during the day to make sure things are going smoothly and to ask for help with certain criteria they may not know about. There is always someone who will know more than you – here at Mattress Firm that someone is your friend who will guide you, train you, and most of all support and encourage you even if you mess up. One of Mattress Firm's core values is trust and without it the company would not be able to be as strong and as caring for each other and their guests. Mattress Firm employees know how to work hard and have fun doing it! There is always something new happening such as a competition to see who can sell the most mattress protectors or pillows that day to win Astros tickets. They also have regular conference calls where the managers encourage the employees to speak their minds for the good of the team. They even have a district-wide email thread where everyone can post and cheer on the sells for the day.

At this point I understand the company culture. Mattress Firm employees have so much passion for what they do, that they could not bear to think about spending their days somewhere else.  These characteristic are things I will be sure to look for in potential future employers. Mattress Firm is truly a family and I am pleased to be a part of it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Intern Spotlight - Shensen G.

My name is Shensen, and I attend Kennesaw State University as a business management major. My internship here at Mattress Firm has marked one of the defining moments in my life. As I stepped into the corporate world, I became more mature as a person and learned to create strong bond with the guests and colleagues, in order to make myself a helpful salesperson to the guests and an asset to our company.
We have some of the best salespeople on the planet here at Mattress Firm. We can effectively guide our guests all the way through the process! As a result, every salesperson in our company touches on the key points while maintaining his or her selling style.

Also, through my experience in competitive shopping and S.W.O.T. analysis on Mattress Firm and our competitors, I learned of each company's strengths and weaknesses. It is crucial for us to adopt their strong points to reinforce our existing strengths, meanwhile taking advantage of their weaknesses to utilize them as an opportunity for us to grow as a company. Just like ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said: "Knowing thyself and thy enemy, one need not fear the results of a hundred battles."

Furthermore, I'm impressed by our vendors’ presentations and have concentrated on learning the specs about each our products. On the top of that, I've witnessed our salespeople effectively selling these products and improving our guests' sleep experience. From Protect-A-Bed to Tempur-Pedic, I continue to familiarize myself with our products!

For students and job seekers looking into the sales, retail or bedding industry, let me tell you this: selling is one of the most valuable skills you can carry on throughout your life time. Mattress Firm teaches you how to build deep, emotional connections with your guests and overcome possible objections. On the top of that, selling is not just about how much money you can make, but will benefit you in every other aspect of life, such as reading, fitness and self-development. For example, there is a 10-page essay that you have no interested in starting, as it is our human tendency to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to begin. With a selling mindset, however, it will force you to do the right thing at the right time, simply because your indecision, hesitation, or slow reaction will cause you to “lose a sale”. As a result, it pushes you to persist to the finish line instead of succumbing to the easy way out, and ultimately you start to develop that mental muscle and become a “closer” for life. Once again, if you are interested in retail or the bedding industry, and would like to uncover more about advanced selling techniques and rapport building with your guests, Mattress Firm is the place to start (email
intern@mattressfirm.com today!).

Overall, I have deep faith in the Mattress Firm company to continue being the national buying power and offering best-in-class service in the industry; meanwhile, I will give the best of my ability to excel at this internship, and help this great organization in acquiring and maintaining guests for a lifetime!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

School's out for Summer

I remember my college roommate and I running around our apartment screaming this song at the top of our lungs just minutes after we completed our last final exam of our college career!! We were very excited to be done with school but then we stopped and looked at each other and thought “What’s next?” This can be an exciting but also a very eye opening experience for some of us when we think about that next step in life and have that fear of the unknown! A common worry when beginning the next phase in your life can be “What if I interview for this position and I don’t get it because I don’t have all the experience that my competition does?” This is definitely an understandable worry. However, if you come into an interview prepared to speak to all of your experiences from college and are able to relate them to the job you are seeking, this will demonstrate a higher level of thinking and will show that you did a lot more in college than just study and party!

Here are a few tips to help you build that collegiate resume:

1)      Get involved on campus - Join a club, student government, or even joining a Greek Chapter to show that you are willing to go above and beyond. Doing this shows you are able to work in a team environment and balance school and extracurriculars. Make sure to speak to the roles you held to show your future employer that you can lead a team or a sell an idea, thought or theme!
2)      Seek a summer internship – a lot of companies offer internship positions to rising juniors and seniors. This can provide you two summers to have the opportunity to get a glimpse of a real life career. Take advantage of it and get out to those career fairs at an early phase in your college career to see what employers are out there and what they have to offer.
3)      Involved on a sports team? – speak to your experiences from being on a college sports team. On a sports team you act as a unit and go through wins and losses, just as you would in the real world. You also learn a lot about your team members, so make sure to speak to what you learned from these experiences. Being a member of a sports team demonstrates you are likely to accept coaching or even be able to coach yourself to get better in your career.
4)      Head up a community service project/fundraiser – Getting involved in community service is something a lot of employers and even students are doing these days. To make yourself stand out, find out if this is something an employer values. If so, make sure you are able to speak to how you’ve been involved in an organization that you are passionate about!

Once you have done one or all of these things jot down some notes to relate it to the real world! If it is on your resume and you don’t speak to it then it will not help you. Use your experiences to your advantage by taking credit for what you did and showing what you learned from each experience.  Enjoy your summer and start building that resume as soon as you get back in the fall!

For help in seeking a summer internship email angela.hubbard@mattressfirm.com