organizational structure

Cross-Training to Achieve Operational Efficiencies

We’ve been in the “new normal” long enough to not call it “new” anymore. Despite pressure from competition and rising minimum and livable wages, co-ops continue to work to be the employer of choice in their communities and to offer great compensation packages. We all know efficiencies are the main way we can afford to stay competitive, but other than just asking staff to [...]

The Decision Matrix

By: Carolee Colter & Jeanie Wells   When an organization is going through rapid change, roles within the organization change, too, and not always in a consciously thought-through manner. Expansions can result in forming new layers of positions. For example, opening a second store creates the necessity for new approaches to buying. Relocating to a new facility with a much-expanded food service leads to [...]

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 [...]

Expanding to a Multi-Store Co-op: Build capacity from the inside out

By Jeanie Wells 171 March-April 2014 Your market study promises great sales. Developers are wooing you into their properties. Staff and shoppers are clamoring for more space. Adding a second store seems like a piece of cake, right? Not quite. Ask any leader of a food co-op that has made the leap from single to multi-store operations, and you will inevitably hear tales of [...]

3 steps toward sustainable business growth

In the midst of growth, leaders may see that they are outgrowing their structure and systems but feel so overwhelmed that they can’t imagine stopping long enough to make changes. Guess what? We will never feel like we have the time to make big changes. What’s the solution? Shift the workplace culture into one that views itself as a constantly expanding organization instead of [...]

How to be a flexible yet practical employer

By Jeanie Wells Have individuals' preferences trumped your organization's needs? For example, is there inappropriate store support and coverage? Or, are there structural weaknesses that hurt team effectiveness and clear accountability? Here are two ways to address those challenges: 1. Appropriate store support and coverage We must design the staff schedules to meet each department’s needs. This sounds simple but often we lose sight [...]

Who’s Driving the Bus? Bringing cooperation inside the store walls

By Carolee Colter, Jeanie Wells 162 September-October 2012 As we go about our work of assessing organizational structures and conducting employee surveys in food co-ops, we frequently encounter an ongoing struggle between the marketing department (or lone marketing staff person) and the heads of the sales departments. Comments we’ve heard from marketing staff: The departments just don’t seem to understand that I’m trying to [...]

Balancing Employer and Employees

By Jeanie Wells 159 March - April - 2012 Food co-ops are known for being compassionate employers. Unlike some of our big competitors in the grocery industry who only work to maintain their organization's interests, food co-ops seem more likely to try to accommodate individual interests and preferences alongside the organization's priorities. This is a great thing, something that food co-ops should be proud [...]