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FormerSM

Fort Wayne, IN

#1 Jun 23, 2012
I've been following these posts for sometime and thought I would join in. I am a former SM from the Midwest. I ran a Lowes store for about 7 years and left in late 2011.

I see so many incorrect statements about topics ranging from pay to HR responsibilities, I thought maybe I could give you some straight answers. I can start by clearing up some pay misconceptions. Up until early 2011 there were specific pay ranges for every job category at the store level. These were accessible only to the SM and HR. There was a starting point, midpoint and top for each classification with "steps" in between. There was 11 different pay "regions" throughout the company based on cost of living. Based on experience , SM had the autonomy to hire someone with a pay up to the midpoint. Past that required District Manager approval. When promoted, an associate was given 10% or the starting point for the new position......whichever is MORE. In early 2011 the system changed to a program that would calculate a starting rate based on a series of 15-20 on line questions....answered by SM or HR....this new system began paying new hires at a much higher rate of pay than previously..

Hope this is a good starting point. Fire away with anything you want the truth on.

Since: Oct 11

Location hidden

#2 Jun 23, 2012
FormerSM wrote:
I've been following these posts for sometime and thought I would join in. I am a former SM from the Midwest. I ran a Lowes store for about 7 years and left in late 2011.

I see so many incorrect statements about topics ranging from pay to HR responsibilities, I thought maybe I could give you some straight answers. I can start by clearing up some pay misconceptions. Up until early 2011 there were specific pay ranges for every job category at the store level. These were accessible only to the SM and HR. There was a starting point, midpoint and top for each classification with "steps" in between. There was 11 different pay "regions" throughout the company based on cost of living. Based on experience , SM had the autonomy to hire someone with a pay up to the midpoint. Past that required District Manager approval. When promoted, an associate was given 10% or the starting point for the new position......whichever is MORE. In early 2011 the system changed to a program that would calculate a starting rate based on a series of 15-20 on line questions....answered by SM or HR....this new system began paying new hires at a much higher rate of pay than previously..

Hope this is a good starting point. Fire away with anything you want the truth on.
Thanks for the info! Wish you the best in your new career:)

Do you think a 14yr employee like myself should be worried about being a target to get to get rid off? Why is Lowe's seem like it is trying to be the Walmart/Amazon of home improvement? Have seen they way both of them treat their employees, not pretty......... And why did you leave?
nedm

Pembroke, MA

#3 Jun 23, 2012
"These were accessible only to the SM and HR. There was a starting point, midpoint and top for each classification with "steps" in between. There was 11 different pay "regions" throughout the company based on cost of living. Based on experience , SM had the autonomy to hire someone with a pay up to the midpoint. Past that required District Manager approval. When promoted, an associate was given 10% or the starting point for the new position......whichever is MORE."

Well the pay scales leaked out years ago. I remember seeing the low, mid and high under the abcde or 12345 scale. This was around '05 or so. It's true about the district manager because I heard that ZM's usually received 10%..maybe..a slim maybe if they begged to the district manager for 15%.

"In early 2011 the system changed to a program that would calculate a starting rate based on a series of 15-20 on line questions....answered by SM or HR....this new system began paying new hires at a much higher rate of pay than previously."

But how does that deal with costs of living and competition. It is possible to have some but not the other. I saw years ago the list of the levels stores are at. 1's are low, 2's and 3's are common and 4's and 5's are rare and very rare. Presque Isle maine is a 1, SF is a 5, Brooklyn is a 5, Staten Island is a 3 etc.

I just don't see the store paying that much to really keep people there. When non profits in the area pay more, collection agencies and even other retailers it gets to be a hard sell. There's also much less people than before when you look at staffing now vs say five or more years ago.

Does the 30% rule still apply? If not why not?
OhNoHeDidnt

Lakewood, OH

#4 Jun 23, 2012
nedm...I hate to say it, but you are off base on what you thought you knew. I was promoted from DM to ZM in 05. I received a 43% increase in pay and received relocation.

With regards to cost of living and competition, those are already figured in with the new system. The questions that Former is speaking about are more experience based. For instance, we just hired an ISC that is making more than I was as a DM in 05. Yes time goes by and rates tend to increase, but I had been a DM for 3 years, gotten 15% initially, and 5% each year for the following 2, yet still made less than she does now. We also just promoted a low paid specialist with no management experience to DM and his suggested rate was astonishing. I would have never dreamed of making that kind of money.

Staffing at its lowest in the last few years was ideally run around 6%. Today, those same stores are running 9-11% and still managing to make profit. If a store seems understaffed its probably due to mismanagement of payroll. We ran over 100 hours of overtime a few weeks ago and managed to leverage payroll for the week without a huge increase in comp sales.

The company is night and day from your baseline of 2005.

On a side note, Former, I'm sorry to see you and DD are gone. I was in that district back in 05 and I know it was one of the best in R4.
Bird

Toledo, OH

#5 Jun 24, 2012
Ok, speaking of pay, why do you think I only received a tiny raise this year? It is barely over 1%. This is the lowest raise I have gotten in my time at Lowe's. I have been a valuable employee that fills in faithfully in many other areas of the store. I get tossed around like a ping pong ball every day from place to place to place. I am always a shoe in when it comes to someone to do the crap jobs around the store, I get lots of "good jobs" and "thanks" for doing so, yet this year my raise was, again, only 15 cents. What gives? Are we bascially being told to hit the bricks?
SouthStrMgr

Sharon, SC

#6 Jun 24, 2012
Bird wrote:
Ok, speaking of pay, why do you think I only received a tiny raise this year? It is barely over 1%. This is the lowest raise I have gotten in my time at Lowe's. I have been a valuable employee that fills in faithfully in many other areas of the store. I get tossed around like a ping pong ball every day from place to place to place. I am always a shoe in when it comes to someone to do the crap jobs around the store, I get lots of "good jobs" and "thanks" for doing so, yet this year my raise was, again, only 15 cents. What gives? Are we bascially being told to hit the bricks?
If only a 1% raise, you are probably over the max for the position you are in.
FormerSM

Fort Wayne, IN

#7 Jun 24, 2012
Great questions....

Spec - thank you for the wishes. To your question - did you know that Amazon is the 4th largest home improvement retailer in the world? Right behind Depot, Lowe's and Menards. So yes - Amazon and the on line world is the target. Are you a target? Don't know what you do but I don't know. But I can say this...at our 2011 International Sales Meeting, Larry Stone told us all at his farewell speech that 1/3 of all employees (very roughly 80,000) would not be with the company in 2 to 3 years. Attrition, not being be able to adapt to the new "concept", etc. The same re-invention of the company that happened in the 80's when it changed form a lumberyard to a big box concept. Why did I leave?- because of Lowe's inate ability to choke on a gnat and swallow an elephant.

nedm - with the exception of rogue DM's, I promise that the former payscale I mentioned was written in stone. As to the new system, cost of living is already factored in when answering the questions.

OhNo - thank you. Still in touch with DD. Please keep my identity private. Not sure how to hide my location? Can someone let me know?

Bird - South would be correct. 1% means you hit the max. Additionally, to answer the age old question from CSA's..why is my raise only 2%? I promise and swear that SM's have ZERO control over that. It truly is system generated. I never knew what the raise was until after if it. Always felt like a douche trying to explain that to the associate. SM's only have "some" control over specialists and DM's based on performance. And even then it was (is?) only a max of 4%. Past that required approval.

Since: Feb 12

United States

#8 Jun 24, 2012
Do you think lowes will make it through this change and actually be a better company. I can't see how we are going to be able to beat out depot. Make no mistake that even when I am frustrated I work my ass off. But it seems like all our system were designed by different people to do different tasks with different expectations. Like mylowes, lef, backup inventory, connections... Instead of making all the systems speak English one speaks French, one Spanish, one Chinese. It doesn't make sense and it makes it harder for us to efficiently and effectually take care of a customer. I worry that corporate is too concerned with how the new things we are getting are going to look on paper and not how they are going to actually work.

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#9 Jun 24, 2012
Bird wrote:
Ok, speaking of pay, why do you think I only received a tiny raise this year? It is barely over 1%. This is the lowest raise I have gotten in my time at Lowe's. I have been a valuable employee that fills in faithfully in many other areas of the store. I get tossed around like a ping pong ball every day from place to place to place. I am always a shoe in when it comes to someone to do the crap jobs around the store, I get lots of "good jobs" and "thanks" for doing so, yet this year my raise was, again, only 15 cents. What gives? Are we bascially being told to hit the bricks?
I tell employees that the money is in promotions, not in the same position doing the same job. Like someone else said, you are probably maxed out. It's time to do something new and get a promotion. I would challenge your supervisor every time you go above and beyond to consider you for a promotion.
FormerSM

Fort Wayne, IN

#10 Jun 24, 2012
Anonymous - strangely enough, I do think what Lowe's is doing will strengthen them. This was several years in the making, in partnership with an outside company who specializes in this. Truth is, they grew a bit too fast and didn't see the cyber world for what it is. What I didn't agree with were the methods. Everything wasn't always transparent my level and it needed to be so I could intelligently explain it to the team.
Tired of the rhetoric

Mishawaka, IN

#11 Jun 24, 2012
Former SM,

As a fellow d846'er I appreciate your attempt to dispel some of the all out falsehoods occasionally posted here. I wish you best of luck in your future career choices. It's been a trying last year and a half to me.

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#12 Jun 24, 2012
@Former SM

When the management purge occurred in Jan.'11 what was the criteria for who was let go? Was it performance, seniority, or a combo? Did SMs have any input, or was it strictly the DM's call? Thanks.
nedm

Pembroke, MA

#13 Jun 24, 2012
If people can get maxed out shouldn't they be told that ahead of time?

The reason I bring up cost of living is frankly if the pay really was higher from 2011 onward then why is no one really applying for the jobs? Unless you actually start posting pay levels/amounts then few workers will come back. Word of mouth of the old low pay has floated around.

I went to one of the largest public universities in Mass. At no point did lowes ever show up at the job fair. You can look back 12 years and find out this is true. If I look at a newspaper there's no ads for lowes, if I search job sites it's only a bit..there is very little promotion of opportunities.

At one point a sm said "The only way to make more money is to move up" implying that raises would be small. Well how is that possible without new openings? It is sad to have to wait for people to leave, pass away or get fired.

Gradually we've seen less positions within the store. It is like night and day.
Delivery is outsourced
Variable overtime gone
ISC being phased out
Team leader gone
Specialist for decor and building materials gone
loss of spiffs and sos
loss of discount on sos product
fewer zm's which then became asm's

Yes there are seasonal employees for the summer but that's about it.

I agree that some of the changes are good. The website is much better, the iphones are great (I know some dm's that want more of them), new carriages are nice but this is more about communication rather than more information.
OhNoHeDidnt

Lakewood, OH

#14 Jun 24, 2012
FormerSM wrote:
OhNo - thank you. Still in touch with DD. Please keep my identity private.
No worries. I'm not 100% sure of your exact identity but I believe we met briefly in a small manufacturing town.

From speaking with DistMgrs at the time, the decisions made around which members of Sr. mgmt that would be let go was a combination of things. AHRM and DMs reviewed all employee files and sought little imput from SMs. Then the SMs were told who to let go. In my store, my boss didn't know until the day of the announcement who was leaving and who was staying.
OhNoHeDidnt

Lakewood, OH

#15 Jun 24, 2012
nedm wrote:
If people can get maxed out shouldn't they be told that ahead of time?
The reason I bring up cost of living is frankly if the pay really was higher from 2011 onward then why is no one really applying for the jobs? Unless you actually start posting pay levels/amounts then few workers will come back. Word of mouth of the old low pay has floated around.
I went to one of the largest public universities in Mass. At no point did lowes ever show up at the job fair. You can look back 12 years and find out this is true. If I look at a newspaper there's no ads for lowes, if I search job sites it's only a bit..there is very little promotion of opportunities.
At one point a sm said "The only way to make more money is to move up" implying that raises would be small. Well how is that possible without new openings? It is sad to have to wait for people to leave, pass away or get fired.
Gradually we've seen less positions within the store. It is like night and day.
Delivery is outsourced
Variable overtime gone
ISC being phased out
Team leader gone
Specialist for decor and building materials gone
loss of spiffs and sos
loss of discount on sos product
fewer zm's which then became asm's
Yes there are seasonal employees for the summer but that's about it.
I agree that some of the changes are good. The website is much better, the iphones are great (I know some dm's that want more of them), new carriages are nice but this is more about communication rather than more information.
Most associates anywhere near the top of the pay scale are well aware of that. Even if pay scales only increase every few years, at 3 to 5% every year will take a while to reach the top, unless you are already there.

Look at most Fortune 50 companies and how they post job openings...internally, now through their own websites. Newspapers are old fashioned, job fairs are great for getting a lot of candidates for a specific location. Lowe's does do job fairs at colleges, just the ones in the region of the Corporate office.

Seasonal employees do account for an increase in work force, but stores have increased permanent staffing in all volumes. Very few stores have DMs responsible for non-traditional department pairing, ie. Home Decor/Paint, Cabs/Appl, Hdwr/Tools. We don't see the Flooring, Cabs and Appl or ISLG, OSLG pairings anymore. Specialists for Decor still exist in higher volume stores. The need for the building materials specialist has been most replaced by the PSE.

Yes the company is looking for ways to streamline processes. What if the auto industry never automated anything? You would have had to wait for Charlie to bring you a box of cogs so you could work on your part of the car? If one location can coordinate all deliveries or installs for multiple locations, why is that so bad?

At the end of the day, you may be in touch with business operations as a whole, but completely out of touch with where Lowe's is today. The assumptions you make based on past experience is a large problem with making progress in stores today. Everyone believes that despite what they are being told by Sr. Mgmt that they know better based on their past experience. Just like the difference between an employee's evaluation of their performance and a manager's evaluation of them, there is an unnecessary inflation of one's own self or understanding based on what they think is right.

Since: Jun 12

Fort Wayne, IN

#16 Jun 24, 2012
exmanager wrote:
@Former SM
When the management purge occurred in Jan.'11 what was the criteria for who was let go? Was it performance, seniority, or a combo? Did SMs have any input, or was it strictly the DM's call? Thanks.
Simple but painful process. Seniority played zero factor. Files were reviewed only to factor in any "current" disciplinary action. Then....sit in a room with DM and District HR and a computer. Objectively score each senior manager on a series of skill and leadership questions. I went in to this with who thought was the weak link. The questions were thought provoking enough that it ended up with another senior manager having the lowest score. The lowest scored senior manager was released. Current title was never a factor either.

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#17 Jun 24, 2012
FormerSM wrote:
<quoted text>
Simple but painful process. Seniority played zero factor. Files were reviewed only to factor in any "current" disciplinary action. Then....sit in a room with DM and District HR and a computer. Objectively score each senior manager on a series of skill and leadership questions. I went in to this with who thought was the weak link. The questions were thought provoking enough that it ended up with another senior manager having the lowest score. The lowest scored senior manager was released. Current title was never a factor either.
Thanks, not what I thought. My SM claimed he had no serious input and decisions were "handed down". Forgetting about me for a sec, two of the other dismissed managers at my store were obviously superior to ones kept. Perhaps they had disciplinary notes in their files, I'd be unaware. Regardless, doors close, doors open. I enjoyed the job and saw it as my last one. Someone obviously didn't agree. Thanks for insight!
kkk

Woonsocket, RI

#18 Jun 25, 2012
@formerSM-its great to see an exmanager still be on here and be professional! Im sure you were a great SM! I know you have been out of the loop but have you heard of any other positions being eliminated this or next quarter?
Bird

Canton, OH

#20 Jun 25, 2012
I have considered the notion that I may be near max, however, there are people around me, that I know aren't maxed out, that do a good job, that also received meaningless raises. Some as low as a nickel.

Thanks for the info, though.
nedm

Pembroke, MA

#21 Jun 26, 2012
formersm just wondering but why did you leave and what industry did you go to?

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