ToolkitHR, as seen by an HR Pro
It’s an old saying, but it’s true: Businesses begin and end with their people. This is especially applicable to the relationship-driven home improvement industry.
A new product from Home Channel News and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) called ToolkitHR is designed to help companies manage their human resources, avoid pitfalls and gain confidence in their HR decisions. Here’s how SHRM’s Brian Dickson, senior VP, professional development and strategic partnerships, looks at the new tool:
HCN: What are the biggest HR problems facing small businesses today?
Brian Dickson: Among the top issues facing small business is finding the right people. Despite high unemployment, many businesses face a skills gap and cannot find employees with the necessary skills. In addition, businesses will struggle to replace the skills, knowledge and experience of employees from the Baby Boom generation as they retire.
HCN: Who are the actual advisors behind ToolkitHR?
Dickson: The advisers behind ToolkitHR are 18 certified HR professionals who collectively have more than 200 years of experience in the human resources profession. We are proud of the wealth of experience of our advisors and confident that HCN subscribers will be pleased with the thorough responses they receive to their HR questions.
HCN: Who is the ideal customer for ToolkitHR?
Dickson: The ideal customer is the independent owner who is looking to protect and grow the business by using HR best practices from the respected source in the field. SHRM’s offerings will be especially useful to the independent owner. ToolkitHR will address the questions and concerns that an in-house HR person typically would have, but in a user-friendly, cost-efficient way that will provide remarkable value to users.
HCN: Has SHRM done this kind of thing before?
Dickson: This is an exciting new partnership for SHRM. We are pleased to offer SHRM’s exceptional resources and HR expertise to hardware and home improvement businesses.
SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human-resource management. Based in Alexandria, Va., and representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.
For more information, visit ToolkitHR.com.
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Lifetime Brands Q4 income declines
Lifetime Brands reported fourth-quarter net income was $5.4 million, compared with $13.9 million in the prior-year period. Consolidated net sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011, totaled $137.6 million, down 3.5% from consolidated net sales of $142.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, net income was $14.1 million, compared with $20.3 million in 2010. Consolidated net sales were $444.4 million, up 0.3% from consolidated net sales of $443.2 million for 2010.
"Despite the company’s financial results trailing those of the prior year, I am proud of Lifetime’s achievements in 2011,” said Jeffrey Siegel, Lifetime’s chairman, president and CEO. “In 2011, we made several important investments that will accelerate our growth by broadening our product base and diversifying our geographic base. In January, we formed Housewares Corporation of Asia Limited, a Hong Kong-based joint venture that supplies direct import kitchenware programs to retailers in North, Central and South America.
"In November, we acquired Creative Tops Holdings Limited, a leading UK supplier of private-label and branded tableware and kitchenware products. In addition, in February 2012, we announced that we had entered into a joint venture to market Mikasa branded dinnerware, glassware and giftware products in China.“
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Sears closure count increases, including 10 hardware stores
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the closing of 43 Sears hometown dealer stores and 10 Sears Hardware stores are planned for the first half of 2012.
The latest revelation on Sears’ plans to cut its expenses and transform its business came from its annual report, which was released late Wednesday.
In a filing, Sears said: “We will continue to invest in our online properties. By integrating our vast store network with our online properties, we believe that Sears Holdings will succeed in the rapidly evolving retail environment. The Web and mobile platforms integrate shopping and marketing in a very different way than stores and traditional media have in the past.”
At the end of 2011, Sears has 2,172 Kmart and domestic full-line stores and 1,338 specialty retail stores in the United States operating through Kmart and Sears, and 500 full-line and specialty retail stores in Canada operating through Sears Canada, a 95%-owned subsidiary. The company said it plans to close 173 stores and change the format of eight stores in the first half of 2012.
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