Hardware Retailing

AUG 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Page 49 of 114

August 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 43 give her an hour of their time, it will be worth it in the long run. Generally, she finds employees are enthusiastic about participating; they just need their minds put at ease that pulling away for a team-building session is just as important as the list of tasks they have to do. Keep It Simple When it comes to planning a team-building activity for the staff, don't think you have to create elaborate exercises. Less is more. And it should be fun. The best activities are simple, and the more complicated they are, the more likely you are to run into trouble. It's good to have a plan, but don't let your plan hijack the natural flow of the meeting or stifle what might start to happen naturally as your employees get together. "I always over plan the activity in my head, and then just let it go naturally," White says. "During the activity, the real idea is for me to be quiet and just roll with it, and let the people team build." Activities don't need a lot of expensive resources. White usually just gathers items from around the store. "People react a lot better when you don't need a lot of resources," she says. "If you make it too fancy, people will focus on the fanciness and not on the team building. You're looking for that aha! moment when they finally understand what it means to work together." Determine Your Objective If you are planning a formal team-building activity, first determine what you want to get out of it. Some activities might promote trust, while others focus more on communication. White talks to managers at each location about their teams' strengths and weaknesses. She asks what results they would like to see from a team-building activity, and then starts planning appropriate activities from there. For example, if it seems different teams in a particular store distrust each other, she will look for an activity centered on trust. That could involve putting a blindfold on one person and then having another lead them through an obstacle course. Let Employees Job Shadow One of the best ways to establish stronger teams is to make sure everyone on staff has a sense of what everyone else is doing. White wants to help each employee know as much about the company as possible, especially if they are considering transitioning into a new role in the company. To help, employees have the opportunity to shadow someone working in their desired position and make sure they want to take on all the responsibilities that new job entails. Sometimes employees are still eager to take on the new role; other times they decide the new job is not for them. In either case, it's a win for the employee and the company. What's important is how the employee was able to see the company from another viewpoint. " You're looking for that aha! moment when they finally understand what it means to work together. " —Tracie White, HPM HPM's location in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was recently remodeled to be more appealing to the consumer.

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