Kudler Fine Foods: Career Development Plan

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Kudler Fine Foods started its operations on 1998 and since then they have opened a number of stores. The main product of the company is to provide the customer with a wide range of fresh ingredients, utensils, and tools for gourmet cooking. The teams which operate the store need to be redesigned to facilitate their running the stores more independently and effectively. The management of Kudler Fine Foods has presently decided to restructure the team which runs the secular stores. The stores are an integral part of the company as they provide the point of interface of the company with the customers. These teams are to be redesigned to provide better customer and employee satisfaction. This paper will recommend measures to alter the team design which will require hiring of new employees, making new compensation and team evaluation programs, and strategies to make employees career development.

For the new team development, there are a few basic things that need to be done. First is identification of the roles or jobs which need to be done by the team. The teams have to be designed in such a manner that they are self-motivated. Then a recruitment plan must be designed along with job description. Apart from this, the team and individuals must be evaluated and a compensation plan must be drawn to benefit all equally. Training program plan must be developed to train the new and the existing employees. The team members’ career development process needs to be planned to keep them motivated.

Team Design

We propose a team of autonomous work group. Research indicates that such groups are cost effective and produce have more favorable employee attitude (Guzzo & Dickson, 1996). First, it is important to understand the structure of the new team for the stores. As the stores are selling gourmet food ingredients, tools, and utensils. So it is important to have on the team to understand chefs who know how to make gourmet foods need to be in the team to know what food requires what and so do the salespeople. The team at the store level must have the following structure (figure 1).

Team Design
Figure 1: Team Design

The design of the team shows a hierarchical structure. The store team is headed by the Store Manager who is assisted by an Assistant Store Manager who is responsible for Logistics and supply chain. Another is Assistant Manager Accounts responsible for the clerks working in the store. The Store Manager has Department In-charges reporting to him. These Department In-charges have a visual merchandiser and a team led under him and individually looks after the Food, Tools, and Wine department. Each department will have two salespeople who will be assisting customers with their purchasing and will have other works related to visual merchandising. Clearly, the functions of the team are interlinked, as all the positions are accountable for the other. The team size is deliberately kept large following the empirical research findings of Magjuka & Baldwin who found that larger the team size, there exists greater within team heterogeneity in terms of the kind of jobs team members held, and so they had greater access to information and associated positively with the effectiveness of team (Magjuka, 1991).

Job Description

Given this structure, we will now provide the job description of the following positions that are required in the team.

Salespeople: their main function is to provide assistance to the customers. They are expected to be amicable and provide knowledgeable opinion regarding their departmental section i.e. food, tools, or wine. They will be responsible to display the products according to the instructions of the visual merchandisers. They are expected to provide information regarding the kind of items and in what SKUs the customers usually ask. They are also responsible to handle customer grievances and escalate them to the team leaders if required.

Team Leader: the team leads are promoted from among the sales people. They are responsible to manage the salespeople in their department. They are also responsible to generate report regarding the demand for the kind of items and in what SKUs. They are also responsible to provide a footfall report in the store for their department. They are responsible for mentoring the salespeople and provide job related training. They also supervise the salespeople and provide assistance when necessary. They are also responsible to keep a stock in- and out- record.

Visual Merchandisers: They are responsible to provide a plan of setting up the products in the store in such a manner that the customers find it easy to get what they want and increase visibility of the product. They are responsible for window display and making plans to attract customers on special occasions. He delivers the visual merchandising plan to the team leader who executes them with the help of the salespeople. He needs to present a plan before implementation to the Store Manager. He is also responsible to conduct training of the salespeople to understand the necessity of visual merchandising and how to do it properly.

Department In-charge: the department in-charge is usually a specialty chef who is aware of all the requirements of the store. They are responsible of the following: (1) Provide a comprehensive report of the inventories in-stock for the department. Accordingly he has to provide the Assistant Store Manager the requirements of the stocks which are about to finish. (2) He is responsible to make a report for the department’s performance and present it to the Store Manager. He has to provide monthly and quarterly reports regarding the department’s performance and requirements. (3) He is responsible to conduct the performance appraisal, motivation, and training for his department. He will be responsible to see to the career development prospect of all working under him. (4) He has to provide personal training to the sales team to provide comprehensive understanding of the requirements of the gourmet food. He has to explain to them the necessity of each ingredient and provide training regarding the ingredient to the team. (5) Regularly keeping a check on the quality of the products on shelf.

Assistant Store Manager: Responsible to handle all support functions like HR, Accounts, Supply Chain, and Logistics. He is responsible to see the smooth functioning of all these functions and keep a track of their performance. He is responsible. He reports to the store manager and provides financial statements and cash flow statements for the store to the store manager.

Accounts Team Lead: Supervises the clerks. He takes care of daily accounts. He is responsible to make daily cash flow and look after the payroll of the store employees.

Clerks: the clerks are responsible to do the accounts of the regular transaction. They are supposed to do the transaction at the quickest possible method.

HR: the HR person is responsible to do the 3 main functions viz. (a) recruitment, (b) training, and (c) employee relations.

Supply Chain & logistics: They are responsible to make look at the inventory and provide fresh inventory for all products from vegetables to spices. They are also responsible for the logistics of bringing in all the products which are

Recruitment: the recruitment process will follow the same method as earlier. The main source of candidates would be employee referrals and job portals. Stress will be provided on hiring from campuses of specialty Chef Schools as well as High Schools for entry-level positions. The positions of team leaders will be filled from internal transfers.

Training: Research has shown that group focused training has a stronger impact on the team performance on collectivist individuals and self-focused training has stronger effect on individualist individuals (Earley, 1994). The training process must have the following aspects: (a) training of job related skills like knowledge of gourmet food and its requirements for salespeople, (b) soft skills which will include interpersonal skill training, communication, and customer handling, and (c) managerial skills like team handling, supervision, etc. the training plan for the team must be segregated into three basic skills training for the 3 departments, accounts and Supply chain. Soft skill training for all sales related functions like salespeople, team leaders, visual merchandisers, clerks, etc. apart from this there will be a new employee orientation program followed by an assigned “buddy” who will provide on-the-job training. Another research has shown that ineffective motivation of teams and team members leads to actions like social loafing and free-riding (Sheppard, 1993). So proper motivation of the teams trough training programs are needed to avoid such problems.

Performance Evaluation: The performance evaluation of the individual must follow 360 degree appraisal method wherein a feedback regarding the individual is taken from superiors, peers, and juniors. Once this is collected this is finally evaluated by the store manager. The evaluation criteria or the Key Result Areas (KRAs) will be self determined by the employee themselves in consultation with the supervisors. The KRAs will be quantifiable and direct and will have a clear standard of the of performance benchmark (Dransfield, 2000). For instance, the KRA of a salesperson will be the percentage of customers who he attended took a product to the number of customers attended. The employee will self-rate himself and so will the supervisor. Ratings on these scales will be received from all the internal associates of the employee. In the end, an average rating will be deduced.

The team performance is to be measured on the basis of three components: (a) financial performance, (b) coordination between individual members, and (c) coordination between other departments. Team performance should be based on the team’s financial performance as that will show the actual performance of the team. It should also show the level of coordination between team members as this would provide a comprehensive understanding of the active process of information exchange (Dickinson & McIntyre, 1997). The team evaluation process is important as this provides training need development (Glickman, et al., 1987). So for this we will set a few group related KRAs which will be same for all group members. Here all the KRAs will be measured on a 5-pont Likert scale making the evaluation easy. Using the same, scale will help in transforming an individual evaluation process to a team evaluation too. For the team the main areas which will be common for all are exemplified in table 1 for 3 positions. The main area that needs to be concentrated on for team evaluation is total store’s sales performance and communication (both internal and external).

Table 1

Job Incentive Element Weighting
Salesperson Total store’s sales performance
Assigned unit sales volume
Individual KRAs
Accounts Total store’s sales performance
Accounts profitability
Individual KRAs
Supply Chain Total Store’s sales performance
Proper stock maintaining
Individual KRAs

Career Development: The team member’s career development will be linked to his performance and the team’s performance. If both are equally good then his chances for a faster development within organization is assured. This will motivate the employees to perform better and improve his team’s performance too. The career development process must include two movements: (a) vertical development and (b) lateral movement. Vertical movement implies a person being promoted from one hierarchical level to another which takes place through internal promotion process. Lateral movement includes departmental transfers. Mentoring roles must be assigned to all members who are at team leader and above level.

Compensation: compensation plan for all the employees will be based on same rule: first, a fixed component which will include Basic component which will depend on hierarchical pay. Then there will be a variable component based on the teams’ and individual’s performance. The compensation must be linked to performance evaluation process, as this will increase the motivation level of the employees (Cichelli, 2004). This will help in employee’s team orientation and effect performance. The compensation increment must be based on the performance evaluation process. As the stress on team performance and communication is more the link to the variable part of the salary must be related to the team evaluation process as well as the individual evaluation process. The weight that is to be given on each is as follows: (a) hierarchical fixed component 40%, (b) team performance 40%, and individual performance 40%. This compensation system will help in developing a team oriented compensation which can be related to the performance evaluation process.

A team for a store is based on various factors. It must have hierarchy to control the entry level employees but it should be relatively flat to maintain equity. A team’s performance will depend strongly on individual motivation and equity and leadership. Proper leadership can motivate the team. For a motivated team can enhance performance considerably (Friga, 2009). Thus, it is important to design a well organized team which works in close coordination to produce optimum performance. This follows research findings which indicate that for improving collectivist performance, the reward and sanctions must follow team performance as this will increase collective work motivation (Shamir, 1990).

Works Cited

Cichelli, D. J. (2004). Compensating the Sales Force. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Dickinson, T. L., & McIntyre, R. M. (1997). A Conceptual Framework for Teamwork Measurement. In E. S. Michael T. Brannick, Team Performance Assessment and Measurement: Theory, Methods, and Applications (pp. 19-44). New Jearsey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Dransfield, R. (2000). Human Resource Management. Oxford: Heinemann.

Earley, P. (1994). Self or group? Cultural effects of training on self-efficacy and performance. Administartive Science Quarterly 39 , 89–117.

Friga, P. N. (2009). The McKinsey Engagement. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.

Glickman, A., Zimmer, S., Montero, R., Guerette, P., Campbell, W., Morgan, B., et al. (1987). The Evolution of teamwork skills: An empirical assessment with implications for training. Orlando, FL: Naval Training System Center.

Guzzo, R. A., & Dickson, M. W. (1996). Teams in organizatyions: Recent Research on Performance and Effectiveness. Annual Review of Psychology 47 , 307–38.

Magjuka, R. B. (1991). Team-based employee involvement programs: effects of design and administration. Personal Psychology 44 , 793–812.

Shamir, B. (1990). Calculations, values, and identities: the sources of collectivistic work motivation. Human Relation 43 , 313–32.

Sheppard, J. (1993). Productivity loss in performance groups: a motivational analysis. Psychological Bulleitin 113 , 67–81.

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