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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HARDWARE RETAILING | August 2017 48 N ot every business has their team-building program figured out. No fear, we're here to help. What happens when you realize that your team isn't as strong, as close-knit or as steady as you would like? We talked to two retailers to see how they turned things around. Identify the Problem A positive, supportive, and yes, effective work environment doesn't appear out of a vacuum. It requires time, effort and a long- term approach to team building that can foster the attitude and gather the personnel a store needs to provide the greatest level of service to its customers. Beginning a team-building program often starts with a realization that there is a problem in the current situation. Is employee morale low? Are top employees and future management candidates leaving for other businesses rather than staying with the business? All of these signs and more can be indicators that your workforce needs a restart. For Livingston Ace Hardware in Livingston, Montana, and its two sister stores, the call came in the form of new ownership seeing the workforce with fresh eyes. Owner Matt Dowdell and his partner Tom Shellenberg bought the group in 2006 and quickly realized that the employees felt little to no ownership in the store. "It was really evident to me that our employees were underpaid and underappreciated. Morale and engagement were low because they didn't have much information. They didn't know what was happening in the business or why decisions were being made," Dowdell says. "We wanted to demonstrate we were coming in with a different approach. We set out to better understand how we could build a business with the best pay, benefits and professional development possible in the area." Starting From the Ground Up

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