2 Hounds Design’s founder, Alisha Navarro, is proud to say that 100% of the company’s future leadership is female. Having a female-dominated staff wasn’t something Alisha planned, but given the nature of the job (sewing and detailed handwork), the majority of their applicants are women. As a standout in the male-dominated pet industry, one of Alisha’s core values is providing internal opportunities, recognition, and support to her employees. “I can’t break down the barriers in the entire industry, but I can break barriers in my own company,” says Alisha.
One way Alisha and her leadership team break down barriers is the way they approach internal recognition. Alisha tells her employees that every day is a job interview, so they shouldn’t wait for a specific opportunity to show what they can do. By encouraging employees to shine in their current positions, rather than waiting for “the right time,” employees are able to suggest and execute improvements immediately. Employees who show initiative are given opportunities to supervise and lead projects, which help them learn the skills they’ll need in future positions. Giving employees more ownership from the outset helps 2 Hounds Design identify potential future leaders and support them as they grow their careers.
Unleashing Employee’s Potential
After identifying potential leaders, Alisha and her team use Training Within Industry (TWI) to provide targeted skill development and empower participants to see themselves as leaders. TWI helps graduates develop the confidence to lead their peers and ensure manufacturing procedures are followed correctly. Standing up for what’s right for 2 Hounds Design, even to employees who’ve been at the company much longer than them, showcases how much confidence TWI graduates have gained from the program.
2 Hounds Design’s future leaders aren’t satisfied by simply maintaining the status quo – they’re actively challenged to identify areas in which the company can improve. TWI graduates have taken a critical look at 2 Hounds Design’s production processes to identify ways to create more efficiencies, make the job easier for employees, reduce waste, and more. Most recently, the team streamlined the leash production line by testing different layouts and methods right on the manufacturing floor, and they continued to tweak and build on their ideas. Their final iteration cut down manufacturing time per leash by 60% while retaining the same great quality 2 Hounds Design is known for.
2 Hounds Design’s journey is anything but over. The company’s successes over the years have only fueled Alisha and her team’s desire to continue developing great products in an efficient way. Thanks to the results they’ve seen with TWI, they’re looking for more ways to provide you with quality pet products while supporting current employees, future leaders, and women in the pet industry.