Behind the Box with Ben George

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Ever wonder what’s “behind the box” that holds your favorite new armchair or table lamp? Our Behind the Box series lets you meet the leaders at Wayfair making Home possible.

In our inaugural issue of “Behind the Box,” we hear from Ben George, Site Director of our Port Wentworth Fulfillment Center & Head of Global Supply Chain Training & Employee Experience on how he creates a results-driven culture. Plus, we learn about how Ben spends his time outside of work!


Ben writes:

As a leader, one of our most significant responsibilities is to create an environment where teams thrive and results flourish. A results-driven culture is more than just driving productivity or meeting targets; it is a culture where our teams are aligned, engaged, and committed to delivering exceptional results for our customers. Throughout my leadership journey, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of a results-driven culture, and these experiences have helped me create an environment where individuals are empowered, collaboration thrives, and high achievements have become the norm.

The first question to ask is, “what is a leader’s role in creating a results-driven culture?"
Creating this type of culture, especially at Wayfair, hinges on helping others. Being personable, building relationships with your employees, and leading by example are essential. With large teams, like in our warehouses, it can be challenging to remember everyone's names (I get it; I can always improve in this area!), but it's simple and essential to a good employee experience at the end of the day. Building those relationships, getting to know employees on a deeper level, and understanding their goals helps energize employees and, therefore, perform better. That matters more to me than unloading a certain number of units during peak season. Our work isn’t always candy canes and chocolate fountains; it’s challenging. So it’s important for me to instill the fact that I have your best interest at heart because I know who you are, what you need, and I'm here to help you.

Second, how do you get employees energized around meeting their individual, team and company goals? 
Always start with the “why.” I think it’s important for people to understand why they (or the company) are doing something or where it is coming from. It helps to build trust and create respect when you explain why you are doing something rather than just telling employees to do something. From there, you can anchor on the reason, the purpose, and what we will get out of it when we are done.

Additionally, providing constructive feedback to employees is essential in helping them succeed in meeting their goals and, ultimately, the organization’s goals. There’s a particular training session I’ve used in my career, and part of it was preparing how to give and receive feedback properly. To give feedback, you have to first ask for feedback. It helps to build that trust and respect. If you ask an employee, “How can I improve?” or “What can I do differently in our relationship or to improve our team’s results?”, it puts employees in a position where they feel valued and respected. Over time, it can open the door to providing coachable moments for employees. Leaders can dive straight into a coachable moment without employees feeling defensive.

Our work isn’t always candy canes and chocolate fountains; it’s challenging. So it’s important for me to instill the fact that I have your best interest at heart because I know who you are, what you need, and I'm here to help you.
Ben George, Site Director

Finally, celebrate wins. 
Rewarding and celebrating wins is an area that I always work on. People can often be critical of themselves and their work. Leaders need to step in and look for opportunities to thank employees and celebrate successes. A simple “thank you,” or congratulating employees on a job well done, can have a significant impact. Be intentional about it, look for those opportunities to recognize one another, and be sincere.

A little bit more about Ben

How long have you been at Wayfair, and what was your career journey like before you joined us?
I have been at Wayfair for five years and have been in the Port Wentworth Fulfillment Center the entire time. In addition to the site, I also have taken on the Global Supply Chain Training and Engagement teams. Before joining Wayfair, I spent my time in various supply chain roles, including retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and .com.


Tell us about your life outside of work!
My family is my life! My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and we have two boys that we homeschooled until they were in 8th and 9th grade; they are now off to college. We also adopted a daughter six years ago from China. My hobbies revolve around my kids. My oldest son likes to golf, so I've taken up golf in the last 3-5 years (and now I'm losing fewer golf balls). My youngest son is more into chess, and I spend time with him playing (losing more often than winning, now), along with other games. My daughter is wide open and very different from my boys. I spend time with her while she learns the piano, roller skates, and plays with her dolls.

What is the best leadership advice you’ve received?
I try to treat people like I’d want others to treat my mom. Those we lead are someone else's sibling, child, mother, etc. If my mother was working for me, how would I want her boss to interact with her? I put a different lens on people, because they are someone’s loved one. Am I being a good steward of the time I have with them?