How to develop young staff members

In our new store, we have quite a young team for the first time. I did think of bringing in an older, more experienced supervisor to look over them, but instead of that, we’ve decided to try to empower the team. I’ve been speaking with retailers Amrit Singh Pahal and Mital Morar, two guys who are trying and testing this idea and making it work. They’re further along the journey than me, but it’s all about giving the staff direction and pointing out what they’re missing rather than engaging in a blame game.

We’ve tried to divvy up the jobs between the four of them and empower them to take over that aspect of the store. One is handling merchandising and another is looking after cleaning and store standards. Instead of long-term seniority, they rotate who’s in charge and then twice a week my store manager from my other site comes in to work with everyone and provide some direction.

We’re focused on trying to empower them and make them understand what goes into a good day, what a quiet day is like and what they’re doing in those situations. We incentivise them with a bonus if they achieve an extra £300 a quarter or whatever. I also want them to understand the knock-on effect of their actions in the store. If this job isn’t done or done properly, what does that cause across the rest of the store?

OPINION: Small shops, big ideas – Bryan Roberts

We started it about three weeks ago and already the staff members are asking a lot more questions and they’re looking at things a lot more. What I’m looking for now is consistency. If the person in charge of cleaning isn’t in, I need the other three to pick it up and feel that they can take up the baton, not just in terms of just doing that job themselves, but delegating and organising, and making sure that someone is doing it every day – whether it’s them doing it today and another person doing it tomorrow – and that the load is shared and the task is done.

Delegation and teamwork is important. Staff hate being only on the till for an eight-hour shift. Some staff members will get the weaker member of staff and just stick them on the till for the whole shift. I want my team to think about sharing that responsibility between the three of them, thinking about things together. Dictating is easy, but you can’t always have someone here to dictate all the time. So, we need the team to think together.

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