Just as it’s important to keep an eye on how products are performing on your shelves through persistent monitoring of EPoS data, it’s also essential to understand what impact your staff members are having on your store.
Whether they’re working out how to perform certain tasks better than before or endeavouring to bring more footfall and sales into your store, there are always ways for members of your team to improve themselves at work.
For retailers, it is important to recognise and reward this, as well as to spot where standards are failing in order to address any problems.
Annual reviews are one of the most important parts of Sandra Tickner’s Selection Box shop in Bridgend, South Wales, despite the fact that she only employs two members of staff. The three of them also meet every week to analyse their customers’ actions and feedback so that they can be reacted to swiftly.
In bigger stores, retailers focus on reviewing the performance of their managers, who, in turn, monitor their staff underneath them.
“Our manager has been with us for 15 years,” says Anil Patel, from Costcutter Chislehurst in Kent. “He knows how we want the store. We have staff who’ve been with us for four years and they have the responsibility to look after new staff, to train them and make sure things are done the way I want them done.”
Depending on what retailers find during a performance review, it is important to be able to respond accordingly. Rewarding success financially is a great way to encourage further success down the line, as managers and staff members push themselves and each other to reach those targets set by you to get those rewards.
“People make progress and the only real way that we can show our gratitude is financially because that is something that impacts people most in life,” says Bay Bashir, who runs five stores in Middlesbrough.
Annual reviews for smaller teams
If you have a large team with multiple authority levels, have regular performance reviews to ensure that they know you are invested in their well-being. Sandra Tickner, who has just two part-time staff members at her Selection Box shop in Bridgend, South Wales, favours a more informal approach.
“I always do yearly reviews, but because we’re really small, we tend to go over things on a weekly basis anyway,” she says.
If you have a small number of staff, it’s easier to assess their performance in person every day without the need for a box-ticking performance review, and this more relaxed approach will lift the pressure off your staff’s shoulders. “They work directly with me anyway, so I see exactly how they’re performing on a daily basis,” she adds.
With this consistent close proximity to her staff, a yearly review is enough for Tickner.
Reward success for those sticking around
Shakeel Arshad runs two convenience stores in Elgin and Sauchie in Scotland’s Central Lowlands. Most of his staff are university and college students, who are unlikely to still be working with him 18 months after they start. Setting and reviewing targets for them isn’t worthwhile. Instead, he concentrates on his managers, where he looks at things mathematically.
“I take a general consensus of sales,” he says. “I sit down with the manager and we work out a yearly average and then I set them a target above that yearly average. If they reach it, then I’ll reward that manager. That ensures that they’re running the right promotions and encouraging their team members to be selling things.”
Arshad recently opened a dessert parlour. His manager there has doubled the expected sales and is now enjoying a 25% salary boost.
Talk through things respectfully
Bay Bashir employs 25 staff in his five stores in Middlesbrough and feels as comfortable with them working in his stores as he has ever felt. “Every one of them has stepped up,” he says. “They’ve looked after the stores and made sure that the other staff stepped up as well.”
He has given managers thanks for their hard work. After the double-digit sales growth that he saw during the Covid-19 pandemic, he doubled wages for a time to show his appreciation for the staff. He knows that different people have different outlooks. But regardless, he makes sure to talk to them from a place of respect rather than authority.
“How you speak to people is important,” he says. “It might be the tone of your voice – if they’re afraid of you or feel that you think you’re a better person than them, they’re not going to give me any respect if I’m not giving it to them.”
Focus on improving every day
Anil Patel, from Costcutter Chislehurst in Kent, doesn’t do official performance reviews, but every day he sees ways to improve. He is always making sure staff members are doing things the way he wants them done, while his managers check every day.
“We’ll check to see if they want to do it a different way and sometimes they find a new, better way to manage their section,” he says. “I’m in there every morning and go around the whole shop, and if I see something that’s not right, I will show it to the manager. But there are rarely many mistakes.”
Customer service and cleanliness are perpetually monitored, with checks to ensure that all products are neatly aligned in the correct place and shelves are clean. Since joining Costcutter, Patel has planned on taking on the symbol group’s training manual, but Covid-19 has slowed things down.
Read more of our store profiles where we visit independent convenience retailers to showcase their fresh ideas and unique insights