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 50 "When you get that response from your employees, you have a problem," Brackin says. "We started working on our employee engagement, because that mirrors and reflects our customer engagement." Building a Foundation Once you realize there's a problem, the next step is determining the path to a solution. For HomCo and Livingston Ace, that meant going back to the very basics of team dynamics and employee fulfillment. Dowdell says his and his partner's first thought was to build a reputation around each of their stores for their positive relationship with employees. That attitude, he says, would then pay off in reactions from customers who engage with employees. "We went line item by line item on the stores for ways to move money around," Dowdell says. "We investigated market pay. Whatever it is, we want to be at the top. Those initial steps were all about building from the ground floor. Better benefits, better pay, more personal leave time, those are things that aren't often seen in retail." HomCo also put an emphasis on developing employees and building a reputation for satisfaction in its employees. The store's unique interview process involves a full panel of employees, from management to cashiers and floor staff, introducing job candidates to a diverse employee base. These panels show candidates that this is a place to build a career if you're willing to buy in, he says. "We want people to know that a career in this industry, here at HomCo, is a possibility," Callan says. "We have 401(k) program and an aggressive paid time off program, and we put 50 HARDWARE RETAILING | August 2017 DiSC Owner Matt Dowdell and his team at Livingston Ace believe so much in the DiSC training program, which is designed to identify each team member's best team attributes and how they work together with others, that they got their general manager certified as a trainer in the program. Scavenger Hunt As part of HomCo's "Get Active" campaign, employees are given a crossword-style puzzle that reveals clues to the location of a cardboard cutout of owner Mike Brackin in a store T-shirt. The cutout is hidden in the plentiful wilderness around Flagstaff, Arizona, and employees are encouraged to group together and take on the hikes to the cutout once the clues are compiled. Team-Building Activities " Employees know we are investing in them because we want them to be invested in us. " —Todd Callan, HomCo Lumber & Hardware

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