Tanglewood Stores and Staffing Strategy

10 October 2016

Now that Tanglewood is slowing their acquisition of new stores, it’s recommended that they develop existing talent for management positions working hard to instill the company’s unique values into recently acquired employees. Tanglewood is known for their employee input and contributions. Developing from within will increase productivity of the workforce; when employees believe that there are opportunities for advancement they are usually more motivated to achieve the organizational goals. For non-managerial positions, it will be necessary to acquire talent from outside the company.

In order to support the mission statement, the company should acquire employees who are able to provide a high level of customer service and who are knowledgeable about the products and services that they are selling. Hire Yourself or Outsource Tanglewood requires employees to have a comprehensive understanding of products as well as local knowledge. Given the company’s emphasis on exceptional customer service and the need to firmly establish the Tanglewood culture during this time of transition, it’s recommended that the hiring process remain in-house.

Internal staff who can effectively evangelize company culture should be responsible for screening candidates. I External or Internal Hiring It’s recommended that management level staff be hired internally in order to facilitate the dissemination of Tanglewood’s culture. Hiring from within can instill a sense of belonging and encourages employees to understand how their best interests align with those of the company. Providing room for advancement can serve as motivation and encourage long-term thinking. This mode of thinking is beneficial to the company and helps it to maintain the family-oriented environment.

However, given the recent rapid growth, internal human resources may not be able to keep up with staffing demand. When necessary, external hiring should be leveraged to support rapid growth, increase diversity, and bring in new perspectives. Core or Flexible Workforce Given Tanglewood’s “team” philosophy, a core workforce composed of both full and part-time employees is recommended. A core workforce is also most appropriate given the company’s niche market with a unique company culture which differentiates it from competitors.

While the potential cost savings of a flexible workforce may be attractive, this advantage is outweighed by the cost of additional training and reduced employee investment in the success of the company. Tanglewood’s knowledgeable workforce is a source of competitive advantage which would be lost with a flexible, less committed workforce. Hire or Retain Because of Tanglewood’s emphasizes on employee suggestions and contributions, the company should continue retain employees in order to preserve the company’s unique culture and values over time.

Although occasionally hiring outside the company is inevitable, it’s recommended that Tanglewood develop a retention plan in order to reduce employee turnover and associated costs incuding hiring and training expenses, productivity loss, lost customers, diminished business, and damaged morale among remaining members of the workforce. National or Global Currently, Tanglewood’s 12 divisions are national with operations centered on the west coast. For the short-term, the company should continue to peruse a national staffing strategy for these stores.

Although there is cost savings potential in globally outsourcing customer service, technical support, database administration and other tasks, doing so may hurt quality and ultimately run counter to Tanglewood’s core values. Attract or Relocate Tanglewood should focus on attracting employees that fit its niche market. Employees may better serve customers by having local knowledge such as the best hiking routes, bike trails, camp sites; etc. Generally, the retail industry doesn’t require a highly specialized or task-specific workforce and so the company should be able to attract the talent it needs locally.

Overstaff or Understaff Tanglewood should continue to overstaff. There is currently an abundance of department managers and assistant mangers that may at times border on surplus. However, Tanglewood can benefit by having a stockpile of talent by ensuring smooth succession in case of turnover, retirement or promotion. Overstaffing also ensures that trained staff is available during peak seasonal periods to ensure quality and the superior customer experience that consistent with the company’s values.

Short- or Long-Term Focus Tanglewood has emphasized employee participation and teams since its inception and one of the most important cultural elements of the organization is the commitment to straight talk in all areas of business. Because the corporate staffing function has not been strong, in the short-term, Tanglewood should seek is to implement new policies and procedures that will centralize the human resources staffing strategy and create staffing operations efficiencies.

Once urgent-short term goals are met, the company’s ongoing focus should be long-term in order to allow the company to invest in its employees and help them to live up to the Tanglewood standard. Time spent on training and interviews can be costly if Tanglewood adopted a short-term approach. Though turnover is still a reality, being overstaffed will address immediate turnover issues. STAFFING QUALITY Person/ Job or Person/ Organization Match It’s recommended that Tanglewood adopt a Person/Organization Match approach to the hiring process.

It’s important that the company choose individuals who understand the core values and philosophy of the company; meaning choosing individuals who meet the needs of the organization. Retail job skills can be taught but strong values, teamwork, and a passion for customer service are more difficult to teach. Focusing on organization rather than job fit will also support the company’s Develop, Internal, and Retention strategies. Specific or General KSAOs Tanglewood should lean towards general KSAOs because it requires a focus on “flexibility and adaptability, ability to learn, written and oral communication skills, and algebra/statistics. General KSAOs competencies such as communication skills, the ability to learn, and the ability to adapt quickly are important characteristics for a potential employee to work well within the organization and be successful in whatever role they play within the company. Exceptional or Acceptable Workforce Quality The company is advised to pursue an exceptional workforce quality in order to best meet the needs of its customers and further the strategy differentiation.

Having exceptional workforce quality means hiring associates that will be passionate about Tanglewood and providing excellent customer service. This strong customer service focus will encourage repeat visits to the store and allow the company to stand out among the competition by being a customer favorite. An exceptional workforce is required to achieve the mission statement and “be the best department store for customers seeking quality, durability, and value for all aspects of their active lives. ” Active or Passive Diversity Tanglewood should actively strive for a diverse environment.

The company should work hard to build a workforce that reflects the communities in which the stores are located by working with organizations throughout the community to hire a diverse workforce that is fair to gender, race, and age. Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.

Tanglewood’s future success depends on many factors. During this period of consolidation, staffing strategy is especially critical. By setting challenging goals and crushing them, the company can establish a motivated, passionate workforce that embodies Tanglewood’s core values and propagates its unique culture. By following the recommendations above, Tanglewood can position itself as providing an exceptional environment for both employees and customers.

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