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Facing ‘new realities,’ opening smaller stores

BY HBSDealer Staff

Canadian retailer Rona believes it will have better success with smaller stores and a larger digital offering.

The Quebec-based retailer and distributor, Canada’s largest, will close 10 of its warehouse-sized stores by the end of the year, shifting its focus to the opening of 25 smaller-format units.

Rona’s blueprint for change — termed “New Realities, New Solutions” — calls for bringing Rona “closer to consumers, which means being either just a click away, or no more than 10 minutes distance from a Rona store that perfectly meets their needs,” said Robert Dutton, Rona’s president and CEO.

Luc Rodier, executive VP retail, added: “In response to consumer demand, these stores emphasize service, with more experienced staff and a central service counter that forms the heart of the store and is visible as soon as you enter, along with a more user-friendly layout, a regionally based offering and an optimal choice of products in key categories.”

Rona currently operates 700 retail and distribution locations throughout Canada.

The new focus comes on the heels of a C$151 million loss posted for the company’s fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 25, 2011. This compares with a profit of C$20 million in the same period a year ago.

The rollout of the 25 smaller stores includes retrofitting and reducing the size of 13 big-box stores. The new “proximity” stores will average 35,000 sq. ft., and the concept will be deployed in 20% of the Rona corporate store network, the company said. Other new plans for the company include the rollout of a new integrated digital platform, which includes the new website rona.ca.

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Employee loyalty hits seven-year low

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Employee loyalty in the U.S. continues to wane. Only 42% of employees said they felt a strong sense of loyalty toward their employer—a seven-year low—according to MetLife’s 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends report, released in March 2012. Conversely, the percentage of employers who felt a strong sense of loyalty toward their employees grew to 59% in 2011—a seven-year high.

One in three people would like to work for a different employer in 2012, but that number climbs to one in two for Generation Y employees (born 1981-94). Not too surprisingly, people who said they hoped to be working elsewhere were nearly three times as likely to admit to a decrease in the quality of their work.

Driving Retention

The study surveyed attitudes among employees in the three main generational cohorts: Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Generation Y. Among the findings:

• More than half of surveyed employees (58%) said benefits were an important retention driver—and this was highest among Generation Y (63%) and Generation X (62%) workers. 

• 61% of employees who were very satisfied with their benefits said they felt a strong sense of loyalty to their employer vs. 24% of employees who were very dissatisfied with their benefits.

Promoting Engagement

While employers seemed to understand how items like salary and wages, advancement opportunities and company culture influenced employees’ feelings of loyalty, they continued to underestimate the power of leveraging their benefits programs. For example, while 66% of employees said that health benefits were an important driver of their loyalty, only 57% of employers believed this to be so.

The divide widened when it comes to retirement and non-medical benefits. For instance:

• 59% of employees said retirement benefits were "very important" for influencing their feeling of loyalty toward their employer, but only 42% of employers realized this.

• 51% of employees said the same for non-medical benefits like dental, disability and life insurance, while only 32% of employers thought this was so.

Among employers, a majority (60%) felt that economic conditions were creating additional opportunities to leverage their benefits to promote employee engagement, while only about 10%, regardless of company size, said they planned to reduce benefits, according to the report. 

Among employers that saw additional opportunities to leverage their benefits programs, large majorities pointed to three key engagement-related goals:

• To retain employees (cited by 91%).

• To increase employee productivity (86%).

• To attract employees (80%).

Acceptance of Cost Shifting

Revealingly, the study found that 62% of surveyed Generation Y and Generation X employees were willing to bear more of the cost of their benefits rather than lose them. More than half (57%) were interested in a wider array of voluntary benefits offered by their employer, as compared to 43% of Baby Boomers.

Employers recognize this interest, as 62% of employers agreed that in the next five years employee-paid benefits will become an increasingly important strategy, the study found.

The study was conducted during September and October of 2011 and consisted of two parts: an employer survey based on 1,519 interviews with benefits decision-makers at U.S. companies with staff sizes of at least two employees, and an employee survey based on 1,412 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over at companies with a minimum of two employees.

Have HR-related questions and concerns?  Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

 

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C.McAdams says:
Apr-26-2012 11:00 am

There are things that
There are things that motivate employees more than money.Money are our basic reason why we have to work, and good salary is definitely important because it allows to provide the lifestyle you want and if you make enough money then you do not need to apply for wageday advance .As the statistics says the loyal employer is much more imortant.Also we can see that very important for most of the employees are things like non-medical benefits and retirement benefits,and from this benefits make a great influence on sense of loyalty to the employer.Actually I think that making your employees feel loyal about you is a great investment, because when people like and appreciate their boss it makes them work harder and being more devoted to work they do.

R.BAKER says:
Apr-12-2012 05:16 pm

If employers want to keep
If employers want to keep good employee's, they will need to forget the typcial 3% pay raise, especially when it involves the lower class through middle class. If your making $35K/yr, and get a 3% raise, that amounts to about $20/week. That does not cover the cost of living going up every year about 7%. So each year with a 3% raise, you are just getting poorer each year anyway. So Loyalty, no matter how much they do not want to leave, must leave to get a decent raise. Seems if you want to get a 10% or more raise, there is no choice but to look for new employment every couple years. Staying at a place 5 years or more, makes no financial sense with a 3% yearly raise. How much does it cost an employer to loose a good person, have to find another, train them, absorb the typical mistakes a new employee makes, and the length of time to get them up to speed, or at least near the good person who left? A 10% raise would at least be a raise in stature; 7% to take care of the cost of living, and make you even with last year, plus the 3% to make your stature a little better than last year, for all your hard work and dedication. If we want to get the economy really moving, employee's need more spending money, this is probably the best way to do it.

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New chippers combine yard cleanup and mulching

BY HBSDealer Staff

Vergennes, Vt.-based DR Power Equipment has introduced two new chipper/shredder models designed for homeowners.

The products are described as “a single-machine solution to tough yard debris and waste.”

The company’s 11.50 Premier and 14.50 Pro model Chipper/Shredders will shred prunings, leaves and garden leftovers into rich, organic mulch, and also chip larger branches into landscaping woodchips for paths and ornamental flower beds.

DR Power Equipment sells products factory-direct and through a network of more than 500 dealers.

“DR Power’s new affordable chipper/shredders are designed for serious yard cleanup and mulching,” said Tom Parent, DR Power Equipment. “If your No. 1 task is disposing of yard and garden waste, but you also want the ability to chip heavy branches, these new DR chipper/shredders are just what you’re looking for.”

The DR 11.50 Premier Chipper/Shredder is the smallest and lowest-cost chipper/shredder model from DR Power Equipment. The machine rolls from garden to compost bin on a set of wheels like a hand cart and is equipped with a 250cc Briggs and Stratton 1150 Series OHV engine. The chipper will handle tree branches up to 2-in. thick.

The mid-size 14.50 PRO Chipper/Shredder is designed for serious gardeners and homeowners with large properties. By chipping and shredding yard debris, homeowners can turn “waste” into rich garden mulch and long-lasting landscaping woodchips, keeping organic matter out of landfills 

The smaller model starts at a $1,899 list price, while the larger model starts at $2,099.

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