Free «Recognizing a Firm's Intellectual Assets» Essay Sample

Knowledge economy:

In order to increase their wealth, Ann Taylor has been balancing between developing an efficient control of their physical and financial assets and creating effective management of knowledge workers.  Indeed, Ann Taylor is a dominant industry leader due to its personnel, experience and financial strengths.

Intellectual capital:

Ann Taylor’s reputation is one of their strongest attributes; in fact, according to research made regarding their reputation, results shown that it has been known for a high quality, chic women’s clothing brand where employees are threated respectfully.  In addition, Ann Taylor believes in having an enthusiastic and energy work environment.

In term of their employee loyalty and commitment, employees are free to speak up and challenged to excel. Because of the strong involvement of employees in sides, corporation and retail, employees develop a high level of loyalty as well as commitment. According to the company website, ANN associates are committed to and driven by a simple but profound mission – ‘to inspire and connect with our clients to put their best selves forward every day’. This is evident in our great brands as well as in our commitment to operating our business responsibly and thoughtfully.”

As a result, Ann Taylor is devoted to satisfying its clientele’s wants and put a strong emphasis on customer relationships. Ann Taylor’s marketing and distribution strategies are reinforced by an emphasis on client service; for instance, their sales associates are trained to assist clients in merchandise selection and wardrobe coordination. Plus, in addition to their everyday retail stores customer service,

Ann Taylor offers a client contact center, 1-800-Dial-Ann, which is expected to help the specialty women’s retailer to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, Ann Taylor has developed significant company values from being passionate and committed to exceed client’s expectation, being driven to perform while ensuring overall integrity, to work as a team, embrace the diversity of their associates and their idea, and collaborate as well as communicate openly; last but not least significant company value is to constantly improving, stay ahead the industry, “instead of merely reacting to it.”  For the past years, Ann Taylor has worked on tailoring its brand name. Indeed, with the growing of Ann Taylor Loft, another brand of the group, Ann Taylor had to refine its target customers; in other words, “The Company’s marketing and merchandising teams have created an Ann Taylor persona, a richly articulated description of the prototypical Ann Taylor customer.”

Finally, Ann Taylor has been in the past criticized for monitoring too intensively experience and skills of their employees. Indeed, an article from the Wall Street Journal demonstrates how Ann Taylor is using computer monitoring to ensure that workers are aware of their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to selling, which can be related to codifying explicit knowledge.

Social Capital:

Within Ann Taylor, there exists a network of relationships between employees.  Ann Taylor put emphasis on having its employees working together and as teams. Indeed, besides having physical capital or developing the human capital, social capital can affect the productivity of individuals and groups within an organization. Moreover, Ann Taylor believes in involving its employees in decisions to increase their stake in the company. In addition, according to the book “In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work - Making Social Capital Work” by Don Cohen and Laurence Prusak, “Social capital is mainly created and strengthened (and sometimes damaged) in the context of real work. The conditions and durable connections that we experience day after day have vastly more influence on it than special events and team-building exercises. In other words, Ann Taylor has chosen the right path to strengthen its employees’ relationships and overall its social capital by concentrating on teamwork.

Diversity Within The Organization

By definition, diversity within an organization brings benefits in different levels from “cost argument” to “marketing argument” until “problem-solving argument.” In fact, having employees from different regions of the country or even of the world, with different perspectives and opinions, helps companies in solving problems, increase creativity, flexibility… From its mission statement, Ann Taylor clearly states that they work as a team and they embrace the diversity of their associates and their ideas, and they collaborate and communicate openly.

Attracting Human Capital

The first step in the building process of building superior human capital is input control: attracting and selecting the right person. Ann Taylor has moved away from competency –based models, because it felt that it would gain with a more individualized approach, by focusing on talent. Anne Taylor has chosen to utilize the Clifton Strengths Finder. The Clifton Strength Finder is an online assessment that reveals individual’s top talent themes. The assessment is another process within hiring, before the recruiting process that remove possible candidates who are not a match with the Ann Taylor employee standard. By going online and taking this assessment it basically filters the answer to the question based from the way in which you answered the questions, it then reveals competency themes such as Achiever, Strategic, and relator, as a tool for discovering talents.

Developing Human Capital

Once the Basic talents are established, the next step is to find the linkage between the talent concepts.  Since how certain talents may be more beneficial for Ann Taylor employees to acquire while other talents are less essential to obtain. This provides and affective way to allocate resource based where you can possible get the highest level of return. This method is used at the store and district manager levels were there is move of a level of correlation to sales productivity to place an emphasis on general knowledge and experience, social skills, values beliefs, and attitudes.

Retaining Human Capital

At Ann Taylor they strongly believe that employees are responsible for their outstanding success, so as a result of this they believe in rewarding employees.  The employees at Ann Taylor receive very competitive salaries, and they also offer a wide variety of benefit that reflects the appreciation of the hard work and dedication. They offer their associates receive an unlimited amount of full price items at 50% off at any division. They however, receive no additional discount on any sale items at the Ann Taylor division, but they receive 20% off of sale items at Ann Taylor Loft, Ann Taylor Factory and Loft Outlets. The also offer incentives such as paid time off, medical benefits, transportation reimbursement incentive programs, tuition assistance programs just to list few of the programs that they have put into place as an important source of financial stability.

Electronic Teams: Using Technology To Enhance Collaboration

Electronic teams are teams of individuals that completes taks primarily through e-mail communication. Therefore, there are challenges coming along with making e-teams effective. Ann Taylor retail stores teams are not much commnunicating through e-mails since they are working together in different locations and they ususally make phone calls to reach one another locations. Only the corporate level of the company communicates through emails but not too many challenges are faced since Ann Taylor is only situated in the United States. 


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