Best Buy has always embraced innovation. We take a lot of pride in transforming the way people buy technology — and that transformation has only accelerated in recent years.
We’ve undergone a total digital transformation and shifted to agile ways of working. While that approach is deeply rooted within our Digital & Technology team, our broader commitment to innovation has extended across our entire company, including our retail operations, social impact work, and inclusion and diversity efforts.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Fast Company just named us to its 2021 list of the 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators.
“We know Best Buy is one of the best places to work, and the culture of innovation we’ve built here is a big reason why,” said Brian Tilzer, chief digital and technology officer. “This award recognizes the steps we’ve taken to embrace new ways of working and innovative talent strategies throughout the company.”
This is our first time on the list, which recognizes companies that created cultures of innovation despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. We’re one of only two retailers among the 100 companies on the list.
More than 900 companies applied, each providing an example of internal innovation and information about investment, companywide programs and processes, and workplace culture with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Fast Company collaborated with Accenture to score every application and select the winners.
Fostering an innovative culture
Best Buy is continually redefining the norms of how our business operates. Here are just a few recent examples of the ways we’ve innovated as a company to achieve that.
Tech innovation during the pandemic
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was incredibly important for us to quickly understand how our customers’ needs for technology were changing, especially as people across the country had to immediately begin working and learning from home. We also needed to quickly figure out how to engage with them safely and reliably, in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment.
Within just a couple of days we implemented new technology that allowed our stores to continue supporting our customers’ essential tech needs in the safest ways possible, both for them and our employees. That included offering contactless curbside pickup and the ability for store employees to conduct virtual consultations with our customers. We also quickly built out capabilities within our employee app that allowed for COVID-19 health screenings prior to employees’ shifts.
We’ve seen how crucial it is for us to quickly adapt to our customer’s pressing technology needs, and we’ve shifted to a “digital-first” mindset. Our teams are helping us figure out where we can leverage tech and data science, so we can quickly create breakthrough experiences, enable better ways to help our customers and speed up how we test, learn and solve complex problems.
Unleashing the power of our people
Our people are at the heart of innovation, and we’re finding creative ways to include more of them in that process. In fact, we’ve created a program called Field Infiltrator that brings in Geek Squad Agents and other field employees to serve as consultants for our corporate Digital & Technology team.
It’s a win-win. These employees get great experience and the opportunity to explore new career paths, and they provide valuable front-line insights into how our employees and customers are shopping and using our different tech platforms.
One example of a project that benefitted from input from Field Infiltrators is the technology platform that enables our Total Tech Support membership program, which gives customers unlimited support for all their tech and appliances, no matter where they purchased them.
Supporting youth in our communities
Best Buy is committed to helping build a brighter future for teens through tech. One way we do that is through innovative partnerships and mentoring opportunities, such as our Teen Tech Centers, which help teens learn useful tech skills and give them the mentorship they need to succeed.
This past year, our teams came up with a unique way for some those teens to use the skills they learned in a real-life setting by helping to design products that were sold in Best Buy stores and on BestBuy.com. Through an innovative partnership with PopSockets, we paired four up-and-coming young artists from Teen Tech Centers with designers at PopSockets, who served as mentors on the journey from product ideation and design to the hands of our customers.
It’s exactly the type of real-world experience we want all of the teens who use our Teen Tech Centers to receive. We replicated this model with another group of teens during Pride month, and we’re working on another activation for Latinx Heritage Month later this year.
A commitment to inclusion and diversity
We know that a more diverse workforce leads to greater innovation. That’s one reason why inclusion and diversity are at the heart of who we are at Best Buy, and we’re continually focused on finding new ways to bring that to life every day across our organization and in our local communities.
Last year, we announced a five-year plan that includes major company goals to address how we recruit, hire and retain our employees. We’ve committed to filling one out of three new non-hourly corporate positions with BIPOC employees and one out of three new non-hourly field roles with women.
Meanwhile, we’re also expanding opportunities for youth across the country as we seek to expand opportunities for youth and help create a more diverse talent pipeline for the modern economy. We’re committed to growing our network of Teen Tech Centers to 100 locations, and we’ll provide $44 million to expand college prep and career opportunities for BIPOC students and Teen Tech Center youth.
Interested in joining one of the Best Workplaces for Innovators? Click here to learn more about careers at Best Buy.