In part seven of the IAA’s 12-week business development programme, the IAA and category partner P&G help retailer Ian Lewis develop his team

The next part of our guide focuses on staff development. Training, developing and rewarding staff creates a strong team and allows small businesses to manage daily shop operations more efficiently.

Before benchmarking, take a look at how Sandeep Hegde from P&G helped Ian Lewis create his action plan. The family’s shop has been a pillar of the community since 1937 when Ian’s great-grandfather opened it. They have a number of long-serving staff members who are seen as part of the family.

How can the IAA help them ensure newer staff members feel just as special?

Why I take part

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Staff development wasn’t something I’d thought about as much as I should have. It’s useful to get advice from outside sources like the IAA and P&G as they have ideas I might not have otherwise considered.

If you’re prepared to put yourself forward and have uncomfortable conversations with staff, you can develop yourself as well as them and the business.

IAA advice for Ian

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Ian’s challenge: Getting the best out of staff through open discussions

Ian’s team is well-established, rarely needing one-to-one meetings unless they are raising a particular issue. Great work is praised when it’s seen. Could these sessions be more constructive?

Sandeep says: “It’s great that your team comes to you when there’s an issue. Taking five minutes with staff members every few weeks helps you get to know any issues sooner. It also helps you get to know their needs and discuss development so you’re offering a supportive session.”

Action: Introduce catch up sessions with staff members to discuss their development.

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Ian’s challenge: Reviewing and developing his staff to fulfil their potential

Many of Ian’s staff are proactive, but some need more direction. How can Ian encourage those staff members to take responsibility, and stretch others to develop them?

Sandeep says: “It’s important to encourage proactive staff, as this will encourage others to do the same. Give them the opportunity to improve specific displays with the goal of increasing sales. Websites like shelfhelp.co.uk guide the whole category and are a way for staff to take on new responsibilities.”

Action: Give staff responsibility for improving specific displays to develop their skills.

 

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Ian’s challenge: Having the correct paperwork so staff know what’s expected

There can be a bit of tension between weekday and weekend staff, because they don’t see the different challenges they face. How can Ian help them understand each other’s key tasks?

Sandeep says: “This can be quite common. A good way could be to get weekday and weekend staff members to write down their tasks and create two job descriptions. Display these on the staff noticeboard with average transaction numbers and the number of staff working and talk them through it.”

Action: Ask staff to write their job descriptions and display them on your noticeboard.

Partner advice

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Sandeep Hegde, Director of Convenience, Wholesale and Club Channel, P&G

“Ian has a dependable team. Giving more responsibility and introducing regular feedback will help to develop them.”