If retail stores are all about trends, there is one that is hurting them: employees don’t stay. With a recent survey revealing that the turnover rates are at their highest point since the great recession in the US, it’s time to come up with a plan. Viewed as part-time jobs with little room for career growth, retail jobs are often transitional positions for students looking to earn some money before starting a career in their field. For retailers, however, resignation is not an option. High turnover is not good for your business or your staff. So how do you find the right people? How do you make them stay?
Reach out to everyone around you
Having too many options is better than having none. Spread. The. Words. For better reach, go multichannel with your recruiting strategy and post your job offers online and offline.
Is offline job posting still a thing? Yes. 80% of job offers are never posted online. The strongest connections are still powered by real life interactions. If word of mouth exists online, in-person exchanges will always translate into actions. So what can you do? Target your neighborhood and ask cafés if they have a board where you can put up your job description. Having employees who know or live in the area is always a plus. They’ll be more flexible with the hours and more likely available to take on last-minute shifts. Tell your most loyal customers about your open positions. If they shop at your store, they would probably love to benefit from a friend’s employee discount and will make sure to send quality people over to you.
Use your social networks; let your audience know that they can join your team. People who follow your brand and understand it will know how to sell it. What’s great about using social media is that when you’re throwing a bottle into a sea where people are actually swimming, someone’s bound to find it. Today, 7 out of 10 people in America have at least one social media account. Facebook, Linkedin and to a lesser extent Twitter, are your go-to network to spread the words about your job openings. Instagram is also an option, and as it keeps expanding its reach and diversifying its content, dare to be creative and use the new Story feature to catch everyone’s attention.
Real people, real talk: the art of interviewing
The interview is always the tricky part when you’re looking for new hires. The good news is you don’t have to become a HR specialist. Just be prepared and realistic.
A job interview is two things: an evaluation and a conversation. By definition, to evaluate is to form an idea of a value, a quantity. HR technicians are still in their never ending quest is to come up with the ultimate formula to find great employees, but evaluating a person is never gonna be an exact science. From personality tests to questions about impossible situations, there are many versions of “the perfect” way to conduct an interview. One may draw interesting conclusions from asking a potential employee if they would finish a sale before escaping in case of a fire, but what does it really tell you about their actual skills? Not much. Just get the intel you need. Make sure you leave the interview having clear answers to these 3 questions:
- Does the candidate’s experience match the role?
- How will the candidate get along with the current team?
- Can they physically handle the job?
The conversation will help you dig deeper. Candidates will always try to show their best side, but you want them to take off their mask. The reason why so many workplaces now prefer informal interviews is because people are used to the traditional way. They know the drill. By having a casual conversation, you get a candidate to relax, forget about what is at stake and get a better idea of who they really are. Don’t interview like you’re playing chess, your goal is not to manipulate the applicant into admitting they are not perfect. Don’t be afraid to tell the bad along with the good. Set the right expectations. People who know exactly what they sign up for will handle pressure better because they’ll be prepared for it.
Keeping up with your staff
No matter what you do, you won’t be able to keep your staff forever. Listen to what people who are leaving have to say and always set up an exit interview. Any feedback is potentially a lesson you can learn from. It will help you create a better environment for those who are staying.
Let’s see what you can do from day one to facilitate the integration of new employees:
- Give them a mentor: there’s nothing worse than having 5 people telling you what to do when you’re trying to learn new things. For consistency, have one person you trust train a new employee. Let that relationship be the first bond the new employee develop within your company. This one link will then expand into a chain of great professional relationships as the new employee gets to know their other teammates.
- Let them know they are important: not everyone can be a manager, but everyone is here for a reason. Contextualize every task by explaining why it is important in the bigger scheme of things. A messy shelf may not seem like a life or death issue, but it can actually impact your sales. Empower every team member with a real sense of responsibility.
- Arm your staff with technology: good investments always bring a good ROI. Technology allows you to delegate more tasks and still have an overview of what’s going on. You’re not losing control, you’re saving time. Make sure your employees can check your inventory easily, access your customer data and process sales seamlessly. They will be more efficient and you will be able to focus on what you love.
There are no miracles when it comes to finding people for your team. Turnover is always gonna be an issue, but you can make small adjustments so it doesn’t become your number one problem. If you can run a business, you can recruit the right people to help you make it prosper. Don’t overthink it. Just use common sense and ask exactly what you need to know. Hire your pragmatic self and you’ll do just fine.
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