Every crafter has had it happen at some point: You're rolling along on a project and see that you've made a mistake. Maybe you're knitting and you suddenly realize that many rows ago, you dropped a stitch. If you ignore it, the entire project will always be askew. But fixing the work will take time and effort. Still, that's the only way to get it right.
That's the situation Michaels found itself in 18 months ago, Holly Shaskey-Platek, EVP-CHRO for the arts and crafts store, told HR Dive. Financial results weren't meeting expectations, she said. Engagement numbers were high, but the company wasn't seeing the desired results. After closing and rebranding its custom framing stores in 2018 and fighting with competitors like Amazon and Walmart to maintain market share, company leaders knew that to make a change, they had go back and fix things.
Below, Shaskey-Platek discusses how the company took a step back to redefine its culture, weaving a stronger fabric for the company's transformation.
The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
HR Dive: When company financial results weren't meeting expectations, how did you determine that a cultural change was needed?
Shaskey-Platek: We have high team member engagement. Eighty-seven percent of people are working really hard, but we did not see the fruit of those efforts. And when we stepped back to find the 'why' of that and started pulling apart culture, we realized that our culture was really confused because we hadn't defined our North Star, our purpose.
We said, let's start to assess our culture. We found that we were a very siloed organization, very risk-averse. We asked: What do we want our cause to be, and how do we want to change that? We led this year through culture surveys, culture workshops, teaching and helping people build culture skills.
HR Dive: What North Star did you identify?
Shaskey-Platek: We landed on the purpose that we're here for the makers. When you start with that, and all of your decision points are based around that, you drive a different culture in the organization.
We also went more toward design thinking because we're a company of creativity and making and we asked ourselves: Do we spend time on innovation? Do we spend time on creativity? How do we drive a customer-first mentality versus a merchandising mentality in our company, and are we true to that?
HR Dive: Can you tell us about Michaels new community initiative and how that fits into your culture?
Shaskey-Platek: The community initiative is how we create a community in our stores and connect with those customers. We're testing three different models of maker spaces right now, and from those learnings we will roll them out to other stores. They're open every day to customers, and we send very personal messages to customers saying, "come into the maker space today because we've got a Cricut class going on," or "come into the maker space because we're doing a maker fair today." But anybody can walk into that space and there are tables, drinks and tools and they can use our Cricut machine or they can bring their own project in. But it's just a community space for people to come in.
HR Dive: What aspects have you focused on most to bring about this new culture?
Shaskey-Platek: To build this culture, I focus on three buckets: people, technology, and diversity and inclusion. And we've seen a tremendous change in how the organization is working together, which is nice. All of these efforts, even though they're the right thing to do, should also have a business impact long term.