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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August 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 51 a lot of effort into our training. Employees know we are investing in them because we want them to be invested in us." While making pay and benefits a priority can certainly help employee morale, a team culture goes beyond just numbers. Brackin, Callan and Dowdell all cite values and vision statements as the building blocks for turning around an employee base and forming a stronger unit in the workplace. HomCo's core values are listed as integrity, innovative thinking, maturity and judgment, people-focused behavior, accountability, communication and team leadership. Tying each employee-to-employee interaction, as well as customer interaction, back to these vision statements and values is the beginning of remaking a culture, Callan says. For HomCo, having a busy lumberyard, along with its retail salesfloor, had developed divisions between employees that were hampering customer service. The initial stages of the new focus on values and vision statements had several hurdles, as entrenched attitudes and behaviors were still evident even as the store was gaining momentum in its team-building model. That didn't deter Callan's team, he says. The end goal would be a benefit for the employees, the business and its customers, and he kept his sights on that. "When we said, 'This is how we're going to move forward,' we had a lot of fallout and turnover during about a two-year period. Total buy-in wasn't there," Callan says. "A lot of what we're trying to do is get people working together. Internal customer service is the key. We're not building walls up between the salesfloor to the lumberyard to the administration. We're tearing those walls down." 51 August 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING Egg Dropping Designed with problem solving and collaboration in mind, the egg drop exercise at HomCo challenges several teams of employees to build devices that shelter an egg from harm during progressively higher falls. Materials include balloons, rubber bands, ice pop sticks, newspaper, straws and tape. Employees must work together and cannot use any outside tools to aid their designs. Panel Interviews First-round interviews with new hire candidates at HomCo are conducted in a group setting, with all interview subjects together in a room with about seven employees. The employees foster a fun atmosphere by cheering and welcoming each interview subject individually as they enter the room. Afterward, the group convenes to discuss candidate answers and reactions. Better communication is often a building block for resetting the team dynamic in a retail business.

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