Staffing For Hire
With the holiday season around the corner, you're probably already thinking about getting some extra help for your retail small business.
However, as if it already wasn't hard enough to find the right people to work for you, with more job options available to them, it's only going to get tougher.
Which is why in this post, I'll be covering tips on how to hire, train, and retain employees so you don't continue to face increased recruiting and turnover costs and get the help you need to make the most of the holiday season and beyond.
Let's dive in.
Finding and Hiring Great Talent
When it comes to finding and hiring great talent for your retail store, chances are you'll soon realize that competing with the big-box retailers is no easy task, especially during the holiday season.
To deal with the frustration of not being able to solicit enough candidates with your existing tactics, you'd do well to heed the words of customer service expert Anne. M. Obarski, who suggests the following as a starting point:
"Great employees are not born, they are developed in a business atmosphere where training is stressed, individuality is encouraged and personalities are respected. Word travels about the work environment in all sizes of stores. The key to recruiting quality employees is promoting and possessing a positive work environment no matter how large or small you are."
With those words in mind, a good first step is developing a criteria for who you're looking for. This should ideally be in the form of a concrete job title and job description. Check out this Retail Associate job posting by Taylor Stitch to get started. As you'll notice, there's a few things you'll have to be very clear on, including:
- Daily duties and responsibilities
- Personality Traits
- Physical Requirements
- Qualifications or Experience Level
Once you know what type of employee you're looking for, it's time to get the word out. Traditionally, this meant simply putting a "Hiring" sign in the window display, but what you might find is that's often not good enough to get the quality or quantity of applicants that meet your needs. Given that you might not have the budget to post to popular job boards and the like, here are some cost effective ways to advertising your job opening:
- Posting to your company and personal social media accounts, which should include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Asking family, friends, and professional networks for referrals
- Going to other retail stores and casually mentioning the opportunity to a sales rep that delights you, a practice that's also known as "poaching" in the recruiting industry
- Posting to Craigslist
Once you start getting flooded with resumes and prospective candidates, there's still interviewing selected individuals, and choosing which ones will make the cut. To help you do just that, here are tips from retail expert Bob Phibbs:
- Hire people to work more hours, more shifts: Don't hire tons of part-time workers, instead hire fewer workers who can work more hours.
- Look for employees who play well with others: During the interview, seek out evidence that applicant is engaged in the "real world" with other human beings (i.e. sports, volunteering, hobby groups...etc.) We look for the same thing with Shopify jobs.
- Past behavior determines future behavior: Frame interview questions around specific situations, meaning asking questions like "give me a time..., " "when was the last time..., " and other behavioural type interview questions.
- Sell them on why you're a great place to work: Phibbs recommends talking about your history, the work environment, perks, management style...etc.
- Don't trust your gut: Remember that no one is perfect, so even if you've found somebody who answers questions to your exact liking, be your own devil's advocate and find something that you don't like about them to balance your perspective.
- Hire after a cooling off period: give yourself some time before making the final call.
Once you've gone through the process and found the perfect number of employees you require, it's time to move onto training and retaining them.
Training for Steller Performance
Before you get started on training your newly hired employees, it's important that you understand and differentiate between the ideas of teaching the necessary "hard skills" and conditioning the behaviour or "soft-skills" of your employees.
You've probably already experienced that specific skills expected from your new hires like using your POS, writing reports, stocking and managing inventory require step-by-step instructions. Here it's not a good thing when an employee gets creative and deviates from what's expected from them.
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