LINCOLN, Neb. -- One of the things B&R Stores here does best is listen to its 2,200 associates.
Through surveys and encouraging employees' suggestions, the company has responded with a number of incentive and motivational programs that Pat Raybould, president of B&R Stores, says has become integral to the retailer's success. It has improved overall employee retention and lowered the company's turnover rate.
The Next Generation and Advanced Next Generation are a series of management development training courses that potential management candidates must take in order to advance within the company. Participants work on projects designed to make improvements within some aspect of the operation.
In addition to management development, B&R recognizes employees for their years of service by awarding anniversary pins and gifts. The company has incentive points programs such as the metal's team and mystery shopper in which employees are awarded points for cash rewards. There is also a tuition reimbursement program.
B&R makes use of internal associate and external consumer attitude research. This information is updated, reviewed and acted on constantly, Raybould said.
It's all part of B&R's investment in its people, resulting in a "final product that looks pretty appealing to consumers," said Raybould. These programs resulted in Raybould being named IGA's Retailer of the Year.
B&R is a family-run business that has been in operation as an IGA retailer for 41 years. Today, it operates three distinct formats -- eight Russ's Market stores, eight Super Saver stores and two Alps limited-assortment stores. B&R competes with Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart Supercenters and Albertsons in the eastern Nebraska and Omaha markets.
Raybould's goal is for "continuous improvement [within the operation], and that gets down to our people."