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4 Ways Leading Diverse Teams Strengthens Your Business

Retailers from all over North America came together last week to attend the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s webinar focused on the power and opportunity leading diverse teams brings independent home improvement retailers.

The webinar was presented in real time by Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a 13-store operation in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. During the presentation, retailers who tuned in were able to submit questions to Gina and dive deeper into her key suggestions and ideas other retailers could consider implementing as well.

If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, it is still available to be viewed on demand at YourNHPA.org/webinars. Watch the webinar now to learn how Schaefer has implemented strategies to ensure her team hires, retains and celebrates a diverse group of employees. Curious what is discussed? Check out the four key takeaways below.

Analyzing your team allows for improvement.

When Schaefer decided she wanted to make a concerted effort to bolster diversity and inclusion in her operation, she knew she had to take a closer look at the numbers. For several years now, her team has implemented an Annual Pay Equity Study to take a closer look at pay, first looking at gender and then including ethnicity in the tracking. The study allows her team to discover areas of improvement, work with managers to make needed changes and set deadlines for accountability.

Your team will be more open and honest.

In addition to hiring a diverse team of employees, Schaeffer says it’s key to see how employees feel about the job as well. At A Few Cool Hardware Stores, all locations have employees take an Employee Satisfaction survey anonymously. For stores that don’t reach high satisfaction or mid-tier satisfaction, the director of human resources will meet with stores managers and find areas of improvement, set up time frames for accountability and then send a follow up survey six months later to re-measure results.

Evaluating your workforce helps you understand your business.

The team at A Few Cool Hardware Stores track turnover quarterly and annually. According to Schaefer, it costs their operation $2,000 to $2,500 to onboard someone, so it’s important to make sure they remain members of the team. If it’s been less than 60 days before an employee leaves, they know they are hiring incorrectly or onboarding incorrectly. The team also conducts “stay” interviews quarterly, which allows them to get a better understanding of why someone has remained on the team and what their employer can do to keep them.

Diversity brings constant opportunity.

The last topic Schaefer discussed during the webinar focused on how retailers could take action in their operation. Her team has made it a point to celebrate key events and holidays, like Black History Month, Gay Pride, Women’s History Month and more. Another way they celebrate and recognize employees is through their Employee of the Month award. Finally, they make it a point to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, sobriety milestones and more. To take representation a step further, Schaefer has made it a point to collaborate with local makers and bring products into her stores from diverse groups. She is a licensed woman-owned business through the city and is even evaluating service providers.

About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon is the retail outreach coordinator for NRHA. She meets with retailers in their stores and at industry events and introduces them to the services NRHA provides. Renee previously worked as a member of the NRHA communications team. She earned a degree in visual journalism from Illinois State University, where she served as the features editor for the school newspaper. After college, she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at Jimmy John’s franchise locations across the country. She enjoys exploring books with her book club, Netflix marathons and hosting goat yoga at her apartment complex. Renee Changnon 317-275-9442 rchangnon@nrha.org

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