The Build-a-Bear workshop is an American retailer selling teddy bears and other puffy animals. The Build-a-Bear Workshop was founded in 1997 by Maxine Clark in Saint Louis Galleria. This company expanded at a very high rate selling over 50 million bears in 400 stores globally by the year 2007. This workshop's analysis is usually an important source of data and information used by the top-level management. In this case, this analysis studies the firm's main business structure and operations, history and products, and offers a synopsis examination of the firm's main income lines and strategies. Importantly, the Build-a-Bear workshop analysis involves interactions engaged in marketing both internationally and locally. In terms of marketing, the Build-a-Bear workshop has developed online marketing strategies which help it in expanding its markets wild wide. According to Clark, M. (2006), Build-A-Bear workshop is a place where families can visit with their kids to get fun as it is an innovative and family friendly retail company (Clark, 2006).
As indicated by Clark, M. (2006), the Build-a-Bear workshop operates 278 retail companies and 56 licensed stores globally. As a result of this, this company has employed around 72, 000 employees which has posed a challenge to its management and leadership. In this case, the management of this workshop has been facing challenges of employees training. Additionally, this company's management has been facing challenges of giving employees a chance to make decision and air their own views hence no innovations from employees. According to Lamb, C. et al (2008), the third management challenge facing the Build-a-bear workshop is the high rate of job turnover resulting from poor relationship between employees and the top management (Lamb, C. et al (2008).
As indicated by Lamb, C. et al (2008), Maxine Clark the founder of Build-a -Bear workshop knew the power of listening to the customers before acting. This is one of the strengths of this company which has brought about its success in the world market. Additionally, company has been able to motivate the employees by paying them handsomely. Further, Build-a-Bear Workshop Company is very strong financially as compared to its competitors hence giving it a position to win much trust from their customers. In addition, this company specializes in family products and has come up with a philosophy of assisting children and their families who are employed in order to conquer their health problems and meet wellness challenges (Clark, 2006).
When considering the Build-a-Bear workshop mission, values, culture and performance; these challenges need to be addressed in order to maintain the good reputation of this company. As indicated by Clark, M. (2006), the Build-a-Bear workshop Incorporation's mission is to bring the teddy bear to life. In this case, they want to satisfy their customers by making the children happy from their soft toys. The company wants to make the soft toys appear as living toys so that they can be admired and be satisfactory the children playing with them. On this basis, by addressing the challenge of facing its leadership and management, it will improve the employees' productivity hence increasing profits. Additionally, giving employees a chance to be innovative by airing their views and being involved in decision making, the company will ensure that all employees are satisfied and motivated to enable them become more productive. When employees are motivated and satisfied, they will improve their production which will help in bringing the teddy bear to life. Whenever the employees are dissatisfied with the management or leadership of a company, their will not be willing to produce to their best of capability and cases of labor turn over will be experienced. According to Lamb, C. et al (2008), the values of the Build-a-Bear workshop should be determined by the quality of product produced. Additionally, these values should be formulated in such a way that they address the challenge of employees' training and innovation in order to improve production and quality of their products (Heifetz, 1998).
As can be seen from Clark, M. (2006), the Build-a-Bear workshop has a unique and fun culture that is devoted to team work and ensuring that customers and associates are catered for financially, in terms of wellbeing and security. As a result of this, the challenges facing the development of employees through training and motivation should be addressed in order to make sure that the company's culture is not threatened. Additionally, from their culture the employees are obliged to produce quality products that will ensure their customers' satisfaction world wide. In this relation, whenever the customers' satisfaction will be jeopardized the entire company's culture will be threatened and as a result they will loose their potential customers internationally. In this case, customers' satisfaction will only be realized whenever employees are allowed to participate in decision making and receive training (Kotter, 1996).
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In terms of employment, the build-a-Bear workshop looks for talented and experienced personnel so that its performance may not drop continue to improve. In this case therefore, employees employed in this company are highly qualified and experienced in order to increase the company's productivity and improve customers' satisfactions. According to Clark, M. (2006) the Build-a-Bear Workshop has more than 72,000 employees all over the world who are employed in the 278 retail companies and 56 licensed stores. In order to maintain this performance, this company has to address the challenges facing its management and leadership through planning for training of employees and involving them in decision making. Employees will feel secured whenever they have a good relationship with the top management and hence cases of job turnover will decrease drastically (Cashman, 1999).
In order for the Build-a-Bear Workshop to realize great profits and ensure that employees and customers are fully satisfied, there are actions which need to be taken. From the statements of Lamb, C. et al (2008), productivity of an organization will only be realized if all the obstacles are removed and all the problems solved. In this case, this company need to identify the problems and challenges it is facing in order to be able to address them. Prosperity of Build-a-Bear workshop will be realized when employees' training programs will be planned, good relationship between employees and top management will be implemented and when employees will be involved in the company's decision making (Kotter, 1996).
In planning for employees training, the best training method which will also entail their participation in decision making and allow them air their views, is focused group discussion. A focused group discussion will be formed to address the question of training and development needs of the employees. This group will have at most twelve members who will discuss about their interests, customers' interests and those of the company. The purpose of this group is to train employees on the development needs, customers' satisfaction and marketing as well as networking strategies. This training will be participatory where each and every member will participate in the discussion. The organizer will be the one posing questions to be discussed as he/she writes some notes. This discussion will go for three hours and will be introduced by the organizer. After the introduction, each member will say his/her name and occupation after which the organizer will start the discussion. At the end of the training, there will be questions relating to the training effectiveness. These questions may include; how was the training? How did it help the FGD members? What will that influence their work? Should there be training in the future? (Lamb et al, 2008)
Importantly, the employees should be trained and their development needs identified through focus group discussions. Here the employees will raise their own problems, interests and dissatisfaction which will be addressed by the management. Additionally, in the focused group discussion, employees will come up with different and new marketing and networking strategies which may be of much help to the organization. According to Heifetz, R. (1998), leaders whenever they identify a leadership problem in an organization should respond to it immediately. According to him, employees should be given autonomy in their work in order to enable them to become innovative and creative. In this case, the leadership problems affecting the employees will be identified in a focused group discussion where each member participates freely. Additionally, it is in these groups that employees will come up with ways of increasing customers' satisfaction in order to increase company's sales (Heifetz, 1998).
As indicated by Cashman, K. (1999), leadership should come from the within. In this case, managers employed in Build-a-Bear Workshop should have leadership qualities within them in order to attain immense results by incorporating purpose, knowledge and personal growth. Basically, employees should be given chance to make decisions which would help them in becoming innovative and creative. Good leadership qualities will make sure that employees are fully satisfied and imparted with knowledge through training. From the statements of Kotter, J. (1996), changes in an organization should be encouraged. This change is in terms of management leadership, production, and marketing among others. According to him, organizational prosperity will be realized when change initiatives in business will be implemented. These changes indicate that decision making process be in for of down-top rather than entirely top-down (Cashman, 1999).
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