A footwear company, known by consumers as FootSmart and officially as Benchmark Brands, is growing quickly, hoping to double in about four years, hiring recruiters, and adding an HR-recruiting-learning department which essentially has not existed prior. It even believes it’d be growing significantly faster if it had the right people in place, a refrain heard before in companies around the world.
FootSmart, based in Atlanta and with a distribution center in Memphis, has 300 employees. It caters to people who are getting up there in age (ha – like 45), or who have various feet and leg problems like blisters, bunions, plantar fasciities, back or knee pain, and so on. The combination of both comfort and health are what it sees as its advantage as a footwear company.
Thana Sakas is in charge of what the company calls its “Talent Asset Management” initiative. Before this, she was at Lee Hecht Harrison, a big outplacement outfit, and Accenture. Elizabeth Peterson, who has recruited for corporations and agencies, has joined Benchmark Brands as the director of talent acquisition. Lynette Harris, who has an HR background, is the new director of talent development.
Sakas started about seven months ago. Then, with about 280 employees, there was pretty much no HR department to speak of. The CEO realized he needed to hire strong recruiting and learning people, with benefits for the most part being outsourced.
Peterson has hired a full-time contract recruiter and a recruiting coordinator, a sourcer, and an additional part-time sourcer. “It’s just a moving target for us,” says Sakas, referring to her company’s growth. Prior to a recent workforce planning project, for example, the company thought it needed 18 people in the corporate office; it added 22 open spots after that planning was done.
Many of these open jobs are e-commerce jobs like Internet marketing and web development slots, for example. Some haven’t been posted yet. It uses Berglass + Associates for some top executive roles.
The value proposition — employer brand — Benchmark wants to achieve is a lot about growth, profitability, and cash flow. In other words, many retailers aren’t doing well, Sakas says, but this company is. keep reading…