Hardware Retailing

NOV 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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A s I sit in my comfy chair and hack away on my keyboard, I know it might seem like I am just full of ideas and observations about how retailers can invest in one thing or another. The truth is, after observing and researching this industry for more than two decades and getting to know many of you very well, I have a great appreciation for how hard you work for every penny you earn. So, when I pass along an observation that involves recommending you invest in a particular area of your operation, I do so realizing the impact of this kind of advice. So, consider the following. When you look for a doctor, do you think, "I wonder which one is the absolute cheapest?" What about when you go to a mechanic? Do you really wish you could find the one garage that paid their mechanics minimum wage? If you answered no, I would simply ask why you expect your customers to engage with people at your business who represent the absolute lowest cost help you can find? On page 54 of this issue of Hardware Retailing, you will find the results of our most recent Employee Compensation Study, which provide you with basic benchmarks for what other retailers are paying employees and the changing nature of payroll expenses on their operations. I don't necessarily want to dive into just dollars and cents here. I want to talk about compensation philosophies. I want you to consider that the single biggest way an independent retailer can differentiate their operation is by offering high-quality service. With service playing such an important role in how independents can establish a solid place in the market, and employees playing the most pivotal role in delivering that high-quality service, it seems to make sense you should invest in this area. Investing in your employees isn't necessarily about simply paying them more. It's about investing in an attractive environment where the best and the brightest employees interact with your customers and promote your brand. This environment should include a solid wage and benefits package that is on the high side of competitive for your market. It should also include a profit-sharing plan that allows employees to benefit directly from their actions. Lastly, it should include a plan for constant feedback and improvement from every member of your team. While some of these things require an investment of real dollars, just imagine the benefits your business could reap from having an elite, focused group of driven individuals engaging with your customers. Without this kind of high-performance team, you may very well be giving up on one of the most meaningful points of difference independent retailers still possess. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org The Costs of Reading This Column Taking Care of Business " Just imagine the benefits your business could reap from having an elite, focused group of driven individuals engaging with your customers. " HARDWARE RETAILING | November 2017 12

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