Get Connected Blog

The Importance of People - Why are Retailers afraid of Talent?

Last week Retailworld Resourcing announced the winners in their Retail Employer of the Year. A fantastic platform to showcase to recognise Retail brands who the public really want to work for due to their culture.   It’s great to have awards where the focus isn’t solely focused on profit but focused on what actually drives success, the winners and Retailworld deserve a big congratulations for focusing on Company Culture. 

As passionate retailers we are constantly surprised by a lack of focus on a business’s most important asset, its people. So why are Retailers scared of talent?

A friend recently attended a corporate conference where the main theme was the importance of hiring and retaining talent. This lead to further discussions with people in retail careers and a general consensus that in New Zealand the retail sector shy’s away from people they perceive as “too energetic, too intelligent and too over qualified”, personally those are the sorts of people I would be leaping over the interview table and employing on the spot, after all, they want to work for you or they wouldn't be sitting there. And, if these individuals are already in your business, why are you not working harder to keep them?  

At Retail Connect we have a strong belief that is all about people – both your customers and your team.  If you get the customer centric and team strategy right, you have a formula for success regardless of your size.

As Erika Anderson pointed out in one of her blogs:

“Most companies give lip service to the importance of good employees, but they don’t actually treat them as though they’re important”. 

In many retail businesses today, sadly the balance is not quite right.  There can be top heavy management quashing the success of up and comers or a nervousness and unwillingness to assign responsibility and share knowledge for fear of losing the “limelight”.  A lack of succession planning and training is also a factor.

As a result of poor quality team management, employers face high staff turnover, low morale, and most importantly, the talent walking out the door to competitors, or even worse leave a career in retail for another sector which embraces talent.

We are big believers in hiring for growth, training, positive reinforcement, and a focus on desired behaviours rather than negativity.  We also believe in empowering and allowing team members autonomy in a role by promoting accountability and responsibility.

A recent US study looking at trends in employee recognition found the top 5 drivers used for a successful work environment included the following:

Recognition of Years of Service
Creating a positive work environment
Creating a culture of recognition
Motivating high performance
Reinforcing desired behaviours

Another interesting point raised was that we do not spend enough time training our Managers on how to give recognition.  Often as business leaders we set our team up to fail, through poor hiring, not setting clear expectations, poor training and poor follow up.

So in essence it’s all about:-

Hire talent, even if you don’t have a position – create it, good people are hard to find, don’t let the opportunity pass you by
Play to your Team Members Strengths
Support, motivate, coach and train
Feedback, Feedback, Feedback!!

Hiring and retaining great people is something we are passionate about and it requires good management and leadership, and a company culture that includes honesty, clarity and treating people consistently well.  Most elements of a company’s success are dependent on these two things – and keeping great team members is no exception.  Over the coming weeks we will explore different aspect of hiring and retaining great people, so keep an eye out for our next installment, and we would love to hear your idea’s and thoughts on the importance of great people too.


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