Personal Coaching 101
Some years back, shopping center owner and developer Regency Centers found itself faced with an internal dilemma. A series of mergers and newly combined management styles had left the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company without a singular cultural compass. The newly minted human resources chief knew it was imperative for Regency to create one face—both internally and externally—for the company and its employees.
Senior editor Katherine Field talked with Brian Fraser, senior VP people services for Regency, about the HR challenges he faced and the programs the company developed to build leadership, foster teamwork and improve communication.
What were the biggest challenges you faced after joining Regency in late 2000?
First, the company had recently grown through a series of mergers and, as a result, there were two or three separate cultures and distinct leadership styles within the newly combined management team.
Additionally, HR was viewed from a small-company perspective, with focus on basic administrative- and compliance-related tasks. We had to shift the HR mandate from policy administration toward talent management practices that improve competencies and entrepreneurial team behaviors that drive performance.
Our third challenge was digitizing and streamlining all HR administrative processes, so associates could concentrate energy on relationship-building that creates value, rather than processing forms and extensive meeting time about policy and costs.
About how many employees were on board at the time?
When I joined Regency in late 2000, we had 390 employees, which later grew to over 600, and we are now operating with a team of about 405 people, after adjusting for the recent economic downturn.
What programs did you introduce to meet the HR challenges you faced?
We first introduced “new leader assimilation” sessions to get local teams off on a stronger footing during a new manager’s first month leading the team. In every department that has hosted a new leader session, we have seen stronger dialogue develop much sooner.
What other programs have proved successful?
While Regency provides multiple developmental processes for our managers, coaching and the individual development plan (IDP) are the cornerstone of our management development.
When we compared the advantages and challenges of personal coaching versus group training, online learning and informal mentoring, we recognized that each approach could be helpful, but our culture really needed emphasis on personal and objective developmental discussions.
Detail the coaching process, including what it encompasses and how it works.
Our coaching process focuses on Regency’s managers and top producers who show high potential for successfully leading larger groups of associates and more complex processes.
The over-arching goal is to help great real estate technicians and deal-makers become stronger leaders with the skills needed to manage successfully in a publicly traded environment.
Each individual coaching assignment is introduced with a discussion between the learner, his/her boss and the assigned coach. During this meeting, priorities and commitment to the process are affirmed, and the assessment(s) that will be used are introduced. Regency uses a 360 assessment that allows multiple co-workers to comment anonymously on specific leadership behaviors that the learner is known for. Additional assessments are administered where needed, with each designed to give the learner a clear and objective perspective on his/her strengths and developmental needs that impact the team and performance. Typically this introductory assessment phase lasts three to five weeks.
The second phase lasts about a year, during which the IDP is implemented. It begins by identifying a few developmental needs that the learner and boss deem most important for success. The coach helps them outline an action plan to address those needs, including other team members and mentors where appropriate. Regular progress check meetings are held at least quarterly, but more often if needed.
Finally, during the look-back assessment phase, another 360 assessment is administered, using the same process from the first phase with many of the same people rating the learner. The assessment data from the first and final phases is compared to gauge individual growth.
Kmart launches Smart Sense
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Kmart announced the expansion of its brand portfolio with the introduction of the Smart Sense line, its new Kmart brand that includes a wide range of items including everything from snacks and beverages, to oral care, paper products, household cleaners and over-the-counter medications. The quality of the Smart Sense line is comparable to that of national name brands, and on average costs 20% less, according to the company.
"With the introduction of the Smart Sense line, Kmart is looking to offer a more affordable Kmart brand product assortment that will rival the quality of more nationally recognized brands," said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer, Kmart. "While the Smart Sense line will offer the everyday essentials, Kmart is also taking it a step further by providing unique products that you wouldn’t typically expect to see under a store brand."
The Smart Sense line currently consists of hundreds of products available in Kmart stores and the product line will expand to more than 1,200 items by early 2011, the company reported. Kmart said it will also support the Smart Sense line launch through multiple communications channels, including advertising, coupon offers, merchandising displays, sampling, digital marketing and event marketing.
In addition to the introduction of the Smart Sense line, a new look has been created for many other Kmart brand products, the company reported. The brighter and more vibrant packaging has been designed to capture the "colorful thinking" Kmart is demonstrating through its new product and brand announcements. In addition to the Smart Sense line roll-out, Kmart is also introducing products in a re-launch of its other exclusive brands, which include, Little Ones baby care products, Champion Breed pet care products, Image Essentials personal care products and VitaSmart vitamin products.
Target to open ten stores on 10/10/10
MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will open 10 stores across the country, resulting in the creation of more than 2,400 jobs.
The stores will open in the following communities:
* Sacramento East: 6507 4th Ave., Sacramento, Calif. * Simi Valley West: 51 Tierra Rejada Rd., Simi Valley, Calif. * Bakersfield Central: 2901 Ming Ave., Bakersfield, Calif. * San Jose North: 95 Holger Way, San Jose, Calif. * Azusa: 809 Azusa Ave., Azusa, Calif. * Salt Lake City: 1110 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, Utah * Little Rock University: 420 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Ark. * Christiana: 800 Christiana Mall, Christiana, Del. * Flushing: 4024 College Point Blvd., Flushing, N.Y. * Braintree: 250 Granite St., Braintree, Mass.
“These new Target store openings will help support local economies and make life easier for our guests by creating new jobs, spurring development and providing the utmost in convenience and value,” said John Griffith, EVP property development for Target. “We are looking forward to deepening our relationship with guests in communities across the country.”
As part of the grand opening celebrations, Target said each store will contribute to its community by initiating a local grant program, contributing to the United Way, donating food to Feeding America and product to the local Goodwill chapter and encouraging team members to volunteer their time to serve their community.