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Staffing for a natural products store expansion

When staff truly understands what is good for the business, they become far more willing to embrace whatever the needed changes may be.

Jeanie Wells, Human Resources Team

June 15, 2015

2 Min Read
Staffing for a natural products store expansion

Your new store will have a bigger deli, more parking and a better floor plan. But will it have the staffing to support bigger and better operations? You will have a strong staffing plan to match your expansion plan if you remember a few key guidelines:

  • First and most importantly, everyone has to be clear on where the organization is going and why, in order to keep perspective and unity throughout the expansion.

  • Be brutally honest in assessing your existing strengths so that you can know exactly where the organization needs to build talent. You are trying to fill gaps, not duplicate existing skills.

  • In a smaller operation, everyone on staff was a "Swiss Army Knife," each responsible for knowing how to do many different things. Now with added volume, you have the chance to create a few more specialized positions to do specialized tasks, rather than dividing up a set of tasks between many people. It may mean that some people stop wearing a part-time hat that they liked. Help everyone see that it is for the good of the organization to have people with specific skills related to specific positions. It develops skills in needed areas and helps improve the focus and scope of existing positions by removing extraneous tasks.

  • Remember that the new positions are based on skills the business needs in order to achieve its goals. People are selected for those positions based on how well their skills match up to the needs of the position and NOT how long the person has worked there or how upset they will be if they don't get the new job. The business has an obligation to hire the best match possible for each new position.

  • Invest in strengthening your teams and team leaders, because expanded staff size often means people will have less access to the top manager. The need for effective teams and team leaders increases with expansion. Teams will become the main connection and conduit from the employee to the organization as the organization grows.

Organizations must have the structure needed to support the operations and goals of the business. When businesses go through periods of expansion, it may mean many changes in structure and in specific positions, in order to have adequate support for your expanded organization.

Changing the staffing plan, a little or a lot, may ruffle a few feathers because sometimes people must let go of parts of their jobs that they have enjoyed. Or perhaps people did not get the promotion they wanted. But organizations can minimize discord by keeping the staff focused on the shared responsibility they all have to take good care of the organization. When staff truly understands what is good for the business, they become far more willing to embrace whatever the needed changes may be.

About the Author(s)

Jeanie Wells

Human Resources Team, CDS Consulting Co-op

Jeanie Wells has been working in the natural foods industry since 1996.  Her experience includes 10+ years managing a large natural foods co-op and 3 years as a retail consultant.  She specializes in expanding and improving retail operations and building internal organizational strength.

Wells is part of the Human Resources Team of CDS Consulting Co-op.

The goal of the Human Resources Team of CDS Consulting Co-op is to help our clients become employers of choice in their communities, by cultivating a culture of empowerment, engagement and accountability.


Click here to read more articles by Jeanie Wells. 

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