Retail Observer

July 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM JULY 2021 46 Steven Morris On Brand A local handyman responded to a shout-out from the Next Door neighborhood connection app, then went above and beyond to help an elderly couple fix various items in their home. The original call was to fix a leaky faucet, but the handyman quickly saw that the couple needed a lot more. He ended up fixing some light fixtures, a plumbing issue, and a window that needed repair. He did the extra fixes without charge, just because he knew how to do them, and the elderly couple needed them. I think we're seeing a rising class of folks who are responding to the natural human instinct to help. And they aren't limited by industry, geography, age, gender, or race. I call them the Human Essential Service Sector (HESS). They make up a class of people who've been around forever – we've all met or heard about them. But it feels to me like they now deserve a special place in the limelight and a healthy round of applause. The common identifier of this special service sector is their focus on service to humanity. Writ large, these are the businesses that make up the backbone of our everyday lives. They're a class of people who are willing to go beyond in providing the services and products that allow our day-to-day world to thrive. The HESS sector tends to be about the most vital yet easily overlooked roles that provide the essentials for living. We tend to take many of these services for granted until we find ourselves in crisis. Could this be a silver lining of the COVID experience? Perhaps we're more aware than ever of the HESS sector because of the urgent need for essentials that showed up during these demanding times. I'm seeing the "go-beyond" attitude more and more, and I don't think it's just my imagination. WHO ARE THE HUMAN ESSENTIAL SERVICE SECTOR? • I think of the front-line workers during COVID – the folks in healthcare and the paramedics, social workers, police officers, and other law enforcement personnel. • Add the retail products and service sector tasked with making sure we have quality home appliances, plumbing, heating, functioning kitchens and baths, comfortable home furnishings, and professional services to support our lives. (Yes, that's you, Retail Observer readers!) • And let's not forget the grocery and other retail employees, restaurants, and the farmers, growers, and delivery-system workers that put food on our tables. • Add the public services sector of repair people, infrastructure employees, the energy sector, water and waste management, communications and IT, residential community managers, and manufacturers. Now, think of the people you know who define this class of people, and why they're important to you. I think we all share a feeling that this unique sector of our society deserves to be placed in the spotlight, and not just during the times when we needed them the most. Most HESS workers are unsung lower-wage employees, doing their best just to get by. A statistic shared by the Public Policy Institute noted that "People of color make up the majority of essential workers in food and agriculture (50%) and in industrial, commercial, residential facilities and services (53%)." Let's pause and think about how extraordinarily beautiful, necessary, and valuable the HESS Sector is. How have they made your life, your work, your family, and your everyday world better, simpler, safer, and easier? Perhaps it's time to thank them (and you) for their energy and sacrifices. Perhaps it's time to count our individual and collective blessings. Surely I'm not alone in believing that the long arc of time bends toward the essential goodness of our humanity. Sure, we've seen our fair share of selfishness and greed. But I'm hopeful that as we emerge from crisis mode, we won't forget our blessings and the people who deserve to be thanked for them. I see increasing evidence that the better angels of our nature are rising to meet the challenges of our humanity. I suspect you're contributing to the overall goodness in your own way, and for that, I thank you! RISE OF THE SERVICE TO HUMANITY A new class of service industry: Human Essential Service Sector (HESS) Steven Morris is a brand, culture and leadership advisor, author, and speaker. Over his 25+ years in business he's worked with 3,000+ business leaders at 250+ global and regional companies. Discover: RO

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