State College, Pennsylvania
Kathy Sweigert rose to the challenge a couple of years ago when she took over leadership of the Giant Food Store near the Pennsylvania State University campus in State College, Pennsylvania. Historically, the store reported a negative EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) year after year. When Sweigert took over her new assignment, the store was ranked 56th in the Giant chain’s annual “Hero Contest” program.
Fast-forward a year into Sweigert’s leadership, and EBIT grew from a negative 0.26 percent to a positive 1.67 percent. After 18 months, profitability was up to 3.02 percent and total store sales had increased 8.05 percent.This positive and new dynamic was directly related to Sweigert’s focus on talent.
It took some difficult management decisions and discussions, but she quickly changed the sense of accountability among store associates. Notably, the “call-ins,” employees who call in sick at the last minute, decreased significantly to two or three per week.
A commitment to staff and the consistency in Sweigert’s workforce led to a 19-percent increase in the store’s Net Promotor Score, a metric that gauges the loyalty of consumers
As a testament to her dedication, Sweigert reversed the abysmal 56th-place-ranking in the Giant “Hero Contest.” She explained the criteria for the contest - and its significance - to employees, and six months later, the store had jumped to first place in its district and second overall in its division.