Monday, March 16, 2009

Fix CPI: Turnover

Sears Portrait Studio has a huge problem with turnover. It seems that my situation was not unique in that many newly hired people don't last more than 2-3 weeks.

What I really don't understand is that, from what your comments have recently said, is that now that times have gotten increasingly tough, the response seems to be "fire people that aren't making PRS numbers and hire new ones" as if this will magically make people spend more money and be more satisfied

It won't even help you save on labor when you fire that 3 year person (who got one raise and is now making .50 cents more an hour once she finally got it fixed in payroll) and hire a new person. Yeah, the new person will make less, but you'll have to spend your time to train the person and also have to pay someone to cover the studio while you train them*.

I'm not sure if I even dare ask this question, but readers, how would you prevent people from quitting? I can't think of a good answer other than fix everything else we've talked about in previous posts. In other words, make it so this blog doesn't need to exist. I would love to change this blog to "Sears Portrait Studio Is Not That Bad" but get the feeling that Sears is more likely to go under than it is to be "not that bad"

*note: not taking the time to train the person also costs you money since they won't get photos that people want to buy.


Anonymous said...

"Yeah, the new person will make less, but you'll have to spend your time to train the person and also have to pay someone to cover the studio while you train them*."

in my studio my mgr leaves for the day and leaves me to train WHILE taking in the sittings. ive been told by trainees "im not learning anything by following you around" and then they get promptly fired after training is over because thier PRS is too low (because they didnt get properly trained)

Anonymous said...

They will fold under this new process! Cut corners, you cut seasoned pro's, you add papper that piles you under! Well my friends there is no salution at this point! They are not going to give the alotted hours to properly train new hires and the DMT are busy handing out new paper work to help!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention how mentally exhausting training new employees is anyway.

Anonymous said...

A very apt comment was left on the CPY board:
I sat here trying to write a comment to this string of posts, reading my way down the list and nodding my head here and there. I, too, am a CPI employee. I have seen many changes in my tenure with the company, some good, some bad, some clear and easily understood, some confusing and frustrating.

I choose to look at them as growing pains, which is definitely a better thing than death throes.

Corporate is trying to make everyone (from the top to the newest associate) gain understanding of the financials of the company and take responsibility for their own part of it.

How else can they build drive in each of us to push a little harder, increase quality a little more, give the extra bit that is going to keep those people coming back to our studios? Companies can not pay salaries unless they're creating profit. It doesn't matter where you work this is true.

This will weed out the people who are just in it for "a job" and leave the rest of us who LOVE what we do standing on firmer ground I believe.

Yes, it's frustrating sometimes. Yes, I have found myself staring at yet another form to fill out or report to email in and wanted to take the computer out to the parking lot and run over it with my car... and then I take a deep breath and think to myself that I LOVE what I do.

I will state what I have stated in other places on this board - Even in the tightest economic times families will want to record their memories for the future. We create those records, we chronicle those precious moments for them. Although some people may assume we are a luxury and we are not.

I agree with question128 "Here's to another 60yrs of CPI controlling the industry."

Anonymous said...

That's great that you love what you do. Many of us never got to that point because we were not trained properly and never had the support of our superiors or any kind of a decent staff. Pretty hard to get to a point of loving it, when you're not even given reasonable conditions.

Anonymous said...

I love my job as well. But, as with any other self respecting human being, i do NOT like being taken advantage of.

I was told a minimum of 3 times that i would be getting a raise because my personal PRS was $140 or higher for OVER a YEAR! My DM never asked his superior (Courtney Jacoubus) until he seen that absolutely NOONE will be getting raises this year.

I am livid to say the least and, today, i actually told my manager "I dont give a shit." when asked if i wanted to work tomorrow because she knows i need the hours (i have a family of 5 living off my $9.50 an hr asst. manager job) she told me she knows i dont, and that i havent for about 3 weeks.

Since i found out i wont get a raise, i have slowly lost my PRS. Last week, i ended with an $80 PRS, the week before that was $107.

Even if i wasnt honest with myself before, my numbers show how much im tired of this, and i actually NEED my job to live.

Anonymous said...

Did your manager tell you about your bonus potential that could actually end up being more money? PRS is just a small part of the whole. Don't get me wrong, your PRS is great and shows that you are actually doing your job when it comes to selling. Which, by the way, you get paid to do. But you are not doing your job if you run a lower PRS. I am happy that I have a job that I can be proud of. In today's economy, we are all lucky to have jobs. If you aren't happy with the direction this company is taking, GO FIND A DIFFERENT JOB.

Anonymous said...

Ahh...CPI brainwashing at its best. How do these bastards manage to convince empolyees that they won't be able to find work if they leave CPI? You can and will find work because the "trial by fire" training methods at SPS actually make you a highly desirable prospective employee. They know you'll be able to handle just about anything. Nationwide Insurance STARTS its CS employees out at around $12.50 per hr. They will also pay you extra for working weekends and holidays. I managed a studio for nearly 8 years before I was paid that kind of money!

Anonymous said...

You know, i more than anyone know how bad the economy is....... my husband has been laid off since July. So, i dont know if its just where we are located, but its not easy to just find anohter job. BUT, that also does not make it OK to put up with this crap.

The company should get the kind of employees they pay for..... ppl who work because they have to, and leave.

I loved my job.... now, its just another job, theyve worn me down..... and it makes me extremely sad.

Anonymous said...

yes i know of the bonus potential unfortunatly my studio is in a stockmarket driven area and NOONE is spending. i did 5 sits in total today. 3 of them are super saver members who just wanted their free 8x10. and the other 2 were packages. (mind you the kids today did beautifully i was surprised to say i got 13 perfect poses without much hassle today) and i was all the more discouraged with the sales. i LOVE my job too. but i dont see how basing my job on what the customers spend in an economic crises or what they say during a survey is effective to making me feel confident. i AM top down selling i AM enthusiastic in the face of a package. i AM trying to overcome the coupons. i AM saying YES to all appointments even though exhausted to the every half an hour im booked by the 800 while on single coverage. i AM sick and tired of being belittled. told im NOT doing my job correctly when i follow guidelines. that im simple making EXCUSES. i feel like a top chef at working at burger king. i feel stifled. i walk into work feeling like im wearing a 50 lb hat and a kick me sign. i had a woman who said she had a wonderful experience go home and get the survey and give me all yeses but answered "satisfactory" and maybe will return and recomend. which gave me zeros. when she picked up she asked if we got to see who did surveys because she thinks she pressed the wrong button and wanted a do over. why can people who cant push buttons or say anything in charge of part of the process that fires us. i HATE automated surveys. when someone does good i go out of my way to compliment them. when someone does bad i give them a chance to redeem themselves before complaining because everyone is entitled to at least ONE off day. the consumers these days are simply whiny Know it alls who make employees life a living hell in the hopes of getting something free. these are the people that hold our jobs in their hands. its no longer about creating art or memories. its to fill a frame on a wall every year, a space in a wallet or "the family is bugging me for pictures" its OBLIGATION. i spend more time trying to convince a child to simply sit down without screaming, then i do to get them to smile. that wasnt the case when i started. in most other jobs you have a bonus program that is more of an incentive rather than another long shot to pray for. you get a raise on a yearly basis. you get sick days and vacation that are set to the amount of time you have been working not how much you earn in a year. i earned that over the years and now suddenly when i finally get it....i have to earn it again? so if i left id only get 9 hours of vacation time rather than the 104 im entitled too? BECAUSE I WORKED FOR IT!!!!! (by the way i shrieked that last sentence at the computer monitor) this job has become more confusing more stressful than its worth. i hold on to it because everytime i think of quitting i get that one adorable baby giving me a hug who takes beautiful pictures while her teary mother watches and spends a fortune and leaves saying "im going to tell all my friends about you!" and i look at the pictures one last time filled with pride.....until the next sitting shows up 15 minutes late, still isnt dressed and argues me to death about how the other studio lets her get 2 packages in one sitting while her son continously kicks me in the bad ankle. (and apparently asking him to please stop kicking me sounds just like i a threat to her motherhood judgement) oooooooh i could go on and on.....but this is long enough

Anonymous said...

By the way, if you know you are getting ready to quit, take your vacation time. When I quit, I only ended up getting paid for half of it. I could have taken a whole week off before quitting, had I known that was going to happen.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick reading the desperation in the next to last post. Please get out while you still have your sanity.

Anonymous said...

I could not take it anymore at SPS. I left after 2 weeks. I had enough time together information about the company that I could see was on a downward spiral. Let me explain a little bit what I saw and a little background info on me and I think you will understand where I am coming from. In January the company I was with closed. I have been with them 4 years and yes every company is struggling just to stay open. I saw the business in my store go from 20,000 dollar weeks to 7,000. I was a training manager and saw a number of the managers under me struggle. I have been in DM positions and manager positions with different companies for the last 20 years. In February I came across an opening with SPS. Now I had already interviewed with many companies, but nothing stuck out the way I thought SPS would. I took the job. I was making what I thought was only going to be 25% less than what I was making. I thought that I would just rearrange my personal finances, but it would be okay. I know I was making more than many seasoned managers out there. Well I found out that instead of getting my own studio that I would “travel” around the area. Problem with this is there was no expense check. Some days I would need to drive 200 dollars, and I would not get 40 hours a week. So now I am faced to do a little research. I listen to the first day training session, and the second day training session. I explain to them that I really do not need to be read to on how sexual harassment is bad. I could recite the paper to the trainer, even before she began speaking, but I was told she had to train this way. I thought okay…whatever. So it comes down to look at the P&L statement. Now this is where I begin to see that the company as it sits is not making the money they need to and this is why the cooperate office and big guys are doing the things they are doing. So let me explain, I will give an example.
Say the studio made 120,000 for the year. After they take out normal expenses the store only made a profit of 38,000. Normal operating expenses are rent, producing pictures, equipment, and losses. Now after the 38,000 you have to pay the associates salary. If the manager is only making say 13.00 an hour and working 40 hours per week than that is 27,000 per year. Add an assistant at 9.50 that gets 25 hours a week and that is 12,350. That comes to 39,350. Now with that said the store is already negative 1350. Yes I did see some stores on this report that this was the case. So if over 70% of your stores are going through this by the end of the year you will be in the red by a bit. It may not be as much as some companies, but without being able to show a profit, then loans will be impossible. Loans for new equipment, loans for new registers. The company may own a lot of their properties, but do not let them fool you; they have to have secure assets that they can bring to the table when speaking with investors. The point of all this is that the company must cut expenses down to a minimum otherwise there will be another 200-500 people out of work. I just did not want to close another company, and yes there are stores that will be closing this year, I have a friend who is a liquidator and some of the sears locations are closing this year.