1Randip Kaur, M&R Stores, Longlevens, Gloucestershire
“I tend to look to the local community. I prefer to give jobs to the people who are coming into my store and giving me business, before looking outside. If they’re working for me and getting paid and then spending that money in my shop, that’s better for me. I talk to customers and look to see which people are honest from talking to them and getting to know them. I have seven paperboys and four members of staff in total.
“If they have done a paper round for me in the past, I’ll hire them into the store. It’s hard for youngsters to go out and get experience at the moment and they’re going to find it hard to get a job. I gave one boy a job and it’s helped him working with me. Hopefully he’ll be getting an apprenticeship soon. We do our training on the job. I’ve had a few who haven’t turned up or cancelled last minute. I can’t help them. It’s up to them to help themselves. I’ll then be honest when I pass on the reference.”
2Peter Bhadal, Londis Woodhouse Street, Leeds
“Recruitment has been difficult for us in the past couple of years, particularly long-term, sustainable staff. Retail isn’t regarded as highly as other jobs for pay, prestige or progression. I do initiatives and offer opportunities to change the attitude towards retail and independents, but it is difficult. I look to move staff members up the chain, find where they are within the structure of the business and give them more responsibility.
“We have posters we put out that detail the kind of person we’re looking for: flexible, hard-working and looking for long-term work and the chance to learn and develop skills. I have looked at indeed.com as a platform, but it’s hard to put across our case compared to the multiples. You must advertise the incentives – living near a store, for example. There are benefits to working in a local, independent store and you have to change that perception.”
3Kash Nijjar, Costcutter Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
“It’s tough at the moment in every type of business. Make sure you know your employment law. As an employer, you have a responsibility to know everything about your business before you start trading. Take a crash course in employment law because if you don’t know anything, you stand to land yourself in a lot of bother, whether it’s employing or getting rid of staff. If you don’t let someone go the correct way, you open yourself up to a tribunal.
“We give staff members a trial period, but you have to let them know it’s a trial, with some kind of contract. We’re looking for lots of things – you have to be a certain age to serve alcohol, for example. And while inexperienced staff members might seem cheaper, you might have to pay another staff member to watch over them. I’d rather pay a higher wage for someone experienced and then do without any headaches.”