Independent operators need to carefully assess leadership potential and provide support with education and mentoring, according to Laurie Harmon, VP, human resources, Harmon City.
The 16-store operator, based in the greater Salt Lake City area, uses an assessment tool called the "Understanding Character Program" to select and identify leaders, according to Harmon's comments during an educational session on succession planning for store associates at The NGA Show in Las Vegas.
"When I look for a store director, I need a driven person," she said. "Their job is to help grow and create structure for 200 employees. We're growing, and we need leaders to build people."
The need to assess employees includes evaluating whether people are right for the jobs they already have.
"We've had store directors who said they don't want to be in that role anymore," she said. "We got them another position and they thanked us. You want to be in a seat that makes you happy."
The company won't necessarily wait for an open position before hiring, she said.
"Our store directors hire whether they need anyone or not," she said. "We'll find a place for the right person. You should always be looking."
The retailer fosters leadership efforts through a series of classes, leadership retreats, and mentoring sessions.
Other panelists at the session included Giselle Confehr, human resources director, Mollie Stone's Markets, and Jodie Felter, VP, human resources, Niemann Foods. The moderator was Paul Adams, president, Paul Adams and Associates.
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