Staff development – Academy in Action with P&G

The IAA joined P&G’s Shelagh Clark to visit Sue Nithyanandan’s Costcutter in Epsom to identify how to improve her staff development.

The factshouse

  • Name: Sue Nithyanandan
  • Shop: Costcutter Epsom
  • Location: Epsom, Surrey
  • Size: 3,000 sq ft
  • Staff: Six full-time, eight part-time

The IAA joined P&G’s Shelagh Clark to visit Sue Nithyanandan’s Costcutter in Epsom to identify how to motivate her staff.

Sue’s challenge:

We work well as a team but we struggle to find time to get everyone together to bond as a team.

Sue says:

“I’ve found it really hard to know what we can do with our staff to help with team building given that we’re a small business. I’m really optimistic about working with the IAA and taking on P&G’s advice as we’re always looking for something new. I’ve been struggling with how to motivate my staff more so hopefully I’ll get a lot of great ideas to move forward.”

IAA advice:

1. Have correct paperwork so staff know what’s expected

Although Sue’s staff are motivated and know what they are supposed to do, they do not have job descriptions that are written down. “It’s a small business, we go with the flow,” she says. Shelagh agrees that forcing staff to adhere to a set description would be the wrong move, but comes up with a way around it. “Get your staff to write their own job descriptions as then you’ll learn tasks they do that you might not be aware of. When someone writes their own job description, they tend to write their favourite tasks at the top,” she says. Sue says she’s surprised that this approach could work for a small business and agrees to give it a try.

2. Regularly review staff performance and provide feedback

Sue encourages staff to upsell and take charge of specific areas but doesn’t plan to make sure they meet expectations. Shelagh recommends Sue shares five priorities for her team each month so they’ll understand the businesses direction. “We’ve read in the trade press that people don’t like to wait long to be served. We always have people on the shop floor and a bell that checkout staff can ring if it gets busy but it’s not seen as priority,” Sue explains. Shelagh says arranging monthly one-to-ones will allow Sue to regularly engage staff. “If you praise someone for doing well, you’ll find they keep getting better. Giving new responsibilities energises staff to perform better.”

3. Reward and recognise staff to get the best out of them

As the shop’s opening hours are 7am-10pm, there is rarely a time when all the staff are free at once. The shop closes early for a Christmas meal but Sue recognises the need to do more. “Getting your team together is important as this allows socialisation and creates a team dynamic,” says Shelagh. She suggests Sue splits her workforce into two teams. “Make a competition out of scouting other shops in the area, such as challenging them to find the strangest item or giving a prize to the team that gets round the shop fastest.” Sue agrees. “We find that our customers say our fresh bread is better than Waitrose’s, maybe we could find more things we can be better at this way.”

Partner advice:

“It sounds like Sue has a great team and they’ve already taken on a lot of responsibilities. Getting them to write their job descriptions will be enlightening and will help new hires understand expectations. The one-to-one meetings will be great for people looking to take on extra challenges. Staff development is important because convenience shops are at the heart of their communities, so staff need to be happy in what they do.”

Shelagh Clark, Convenience Channel Strategy Manager, Procter & Gamble

pencilYour action plan:

  • Go to betterretailing.com/IAA to download the free tools to improve your shop
  • Call 020 7689 0600 (Option 3) to find out how you can take part in a future visit from one of our partners
  • To benchmark your shop, download your free digital copy of the IAA’s Retail Profit Guide.

Our retail toolkit is packed with useful tools and resources to help you grow your sales and profits, including the Retail Profit Guide.


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