Blinds to Go: Staffing a Retail Expansion In 1954, from Montreal, Canada, Blinds to Go (BTG) business began as a retail fabricator of window dressings. Mr. Shiller was the sole operator of the company and until his son joined in 1970s, He persuaded his father to focus on selling blinds. The new business plan generated positive customer responses and by year 2000, the business has expanded widely across North America. The business continues to grow. Even though they were growing fast, they faced few problems which include staffing and decrease in sales.
Staffing has become a major issue in the company, since there were locations that have buildings but no employees. This problem in hiring the right employees that meets criteria of the company’s standard made harder for company to make decisions as well as increasing the difficulty of meeting the applicants. (Applicants who meets the standard of the BTC. ) Not only this, the BTC also has a high turnover rate caused by changes in compensation, which led to sales decline.
Staffing the stores, as mentioned by Nkere Udofia, the vice-chairman of Montreal location, is one of the most challenging issue for BTC.
Not to mention that there are already stores that are currently unstaffed, they are worrying about how they will be able to hire enough additional staff for the expanding business. 1. Summarize the key strengths and weaknesses of BTG’s staffing system, and explain why the factors you identify are strengths or weaknesses. One of the key strengths of their staffing system was the motivation system within in work place. Paying someone a set salary might influence them to make near minimum possible effort from, as they will be less motivated.
This may result in unsatisfied customer base as well. One of the key weaknesses was the obvious, difficulty of measuring the growth of the employee base. Each building is difficult to replicate into multiples because their key to success relies on largely on the universal sales skills of their employee base which is not something that is in limitless supply. Another weakness was the ability of management. Even the idea of switching from a commission base to a salary should never even have left the closed door meeting. This is their key strength which helped them to generate so many sales.
Due to this, it seems like their decision making capabilities seem to be lacking as well as their problem solving abilities. It seems that their biggest weakness is the management. Not the owner because the owner was the one who understood their greatest strength. 2. How can BTG improve on the weaknesses you identified in question 1, and what can it do to maintain the strengths? In which ways is BTG not prepared to meet its plans to increase staff? Explain. BTG needs to look at the upper management to improve the company as a whole and its ability to achieve their goals.
However, if upper management is unable to lead effectively and implement effective plans to business then no matter how well the sales personnel are trained and motivated, the company will not be able to move to where it needs to go. To maintain its strength, it needs to mainly keep its commission based compensation system. Another way to improve on this could be creating new incentive/reward system. Organize company –wide contests based on success rates and etc. 3. What is your view of the career path at the store level (sales associate to selling supervisor to Assistant manager to store manager)?
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this career path process in terms of: a) the business, and b) the impact on staffing. This type of motivation system seems to be good and available to all of the serious minded individuals. The close contact between in-store management and the sales representatives helps to develop a more team-like feel within each store which would suggest that a store to store competition would be very health and would help to determine the team-working dynamics of each store. 4.
For each of the following, provide at least one idea for improving BTG’s ability to meet its staffing needs. Explain how the idea could be implemented, and why you believe it may help. a. Employee referrals a. If sales were improved by commissions, wouldn’t a cut of the referral’s sales for a set period of time increase not only the number of referrals coming in but the quality of each referral? I suggest that BTG would give a portion of the total profits of the new referral’s sales to the referring employee. b. Newspaper ads a.
I feel as if a newspaper ad, confined to the other classifieds would be as effective as it ever will be. However, it is not as expensive compare to other methods, and should be left to be run. c. Walk-ins a. Every single store should have a ‘Help Wanted’ sign up. Also, every current employee should be polled to determine who and how many of them would have a willingness to relocation. The new stores would definitely need “experienced” employee’s help. d. HR recruiting a. The job fairs at various University/College campuses provide two benefits other than the obvious recruits due to the job fair.
It creates a relationship with the officials of the schools depending on the networking skill of the BTG staff member. This can provide a steady flow of potential sales representatives through the students through various future partnerships. e. DSM recruiting a. The DSM recruiting can be helpful as they will have idea of who is doing what in each district. When they feel like they need extra help in certain district, they can hand pick employees or managers in their region, depend on employees willingness to relocate, to help other locations. 5.
What are three actions that BTG can take to address its turnover issues? Compensation – The sales representatives are the biggest and best assets of the company. The CEO is correct. Properly motivating the sales representatives is the best way to keep your employees happy. Compensate and rewarding employees in right way is also important as if you want reward/recognize your employee but no one want to get recognized or rewarded because you chose the wrong way, no employee would want to work hard for it. BTC can also offer flexible working condition to employees in need. . Obviously, BTG was unable to achieve the expansion goals it set in 2000. However, the BTG website reports (as of Sept 2011): “Over the next four years, the company plans to double its size by continuing to expand throughout the Midwest and southeast United States. ” Recognizing that we do not have any current information about the company’s recruitment procedures, discuss two types of resources, systems, or processes that a company would probably need to have in place to double its size in a four-year period.
Be sure to describe what you would propose, and explain why the resources/systems/processes would be important. Also, discuss whether the four career training programs described on the site would contribute significantly to the company’s growth plans. Methods explained in Question 5 can be used to expand the company. Improvement on employee referral system – which provides proper reward and recognition to employees involved. Ways of recruiting new employees like going to University or College job fairs, or getting a walk in/ online applicant can help company to expand as well.
With proper training on managers and supervisors, sales can increase, therefore generate more profit to the company. Promoting employees to higher position can be helpful to motivate employees. Rather than outsourcing the managerial position employee, promote someone with knowledge will be helpful to company as well as motivating other employees. Being able to have a satisfied employee will help company to grow as satisfied employees will likely to results satisfied customer, leading the company to grow. BTG should know that companies are built around their employees and customers, not around the buildings.
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