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Talking about change in family-run retail businesses which are running for generations opens up a can of possibilities from the perspective of change management.


Change management in family-run retail businesses may include imparting training and development to existing retail store staff, recruiting young and qualified retail and marketing professionals, digital modernization like use of ERP modules or digital payment solutions, wage and salary restructuring and so on. Sometimes retail businesses may need a complete overhaul and sometimes only a few areas may require change.

Given the dynamic nature of the external environment of retail industry, there’s a growing necessity for family-run retail businesses to introduce necessary changes within its internal operations and processes. And in order to imbibe the changes within the organization, they need change agents and trained employees.
Here, we are trying to provide a glimpse of why training has become a critical change management tool for family-run retail businesses.

Today, family-run businesses are facing multi-national and domestic companies head on. These MNCs bring with them not just their products and services but also work cultures and work values which could be very different from the locally prevailing workplace practices. The retail giants can easily hire qualified professionals as they have access to recruitment pools across the world or the nation.

This is where training, education and development become an area of strategic importance to family-run retail businesses. Having trained employees help these businesses execute retail operations in a professional manner. Training methods like classroom training, On-the-job training, and executive business management education (especially for owners) are popular with these businesses to build a professionally trained workforce and management.

Changes in customer demographics
With Millennial and Generation-Z customers ruling the markets, retail businesses need employees who can think and talk like these customers. Changes in demographics have also brought about attitudinal changes, alterations in spending patterns, shifts in spending areas, and shorter generation gaps. In order to correctly understand the product needs and service expectations, it is very important that family-run retail businesses need to make their employees well-acquainted with contemporary values, fashion trends, smart devices and communication etiquettes.

With appropriate training and education tools like classroom training method, case study method and in-basket experience, these businesses can help their employees easily understand the needs and expectations of modern day customers.

Upgrading technologically
In order to keep itself technologically abreast and maintain cost effectiveness and operational efficiency, it has become essential for family-run retail businesses to replace their old manual procedures and processes with latest technologies like QR and bar code scanners, card/NFC/beacon payment solutions, ERP modules, IP and CCTV cameras etc.

Introduction of new technology may be wrongly viewed by employees as a threat to job itself or a cause of embarrassment. And no family-run business would prefer losing loyal employees. Rather, it can educate and train its employees to make them aware of the positives of technological upgrades and train them to operate on modern devices.

Imparting timely awareness, education and training to employees and supervisors reduces the resistance to change and helps an organization smoothly introduce new technologies at work.

Succession Planning (Within the family)
In family-run businesses, the question of heirship is pertinent. It is often subject to disputes between legal heirs in carrying forward the legacy. If everything goes well, then the question arises whether the new owner(s) from the family will be able to successfully run the business or not. The answer lies in succession planning.

It is the responsibility of the present generation of owner(s) to carefully carry out the succession planning so that, when they retire or quit, they can smoothly hand over the ownership and management of their family business to the next generation or other family members.

After selection of the future owners from the family, the next stage is providing them with professional education and training so that when they take over the family business they can build and run modern day management processes and systems and professionally manage the family business.

Transfer of management and control
In many situations, the owners or the legal heirs of a family business decide to give away the management and control of their business to professionals from the outside while retaining the ownership.

In such cases, after acquiring control of the business, the new management has to deal with a lot of resistance to change from the employees hired by the owners. The new management brings in leadership and working styles, methods and processes which could be very different from what the employees are habituated or acquainted with. This gap can be bridged by providing appropriate training and education to the employees and appointing change agents.


To know more about “Winning strategies for Family Business Management” get in touch with YRC Business Experts on [email protected]

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Author Bio

Rupal Agarwal

Chief Strategy Officer

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