Monday, 6 November 2017

Quality or quantity - what's the best staffing policy in retail ?

The news this week shows that Lidl are now the highest paying supermarket. It wasn't always so. at one time they were famed for working people hard for very little pay at all. How times have changed. The best staffing policy in retail is one that has always been up for debate. Would you rather have more people on a lower salary or higher paid (with the inference that they were better quality) for your retail business? The best staffing policy in retail may not be the one that you are currently using.

The best staffing policy in retail can depend on your circumstances. A long time ago, when I was a store manager for Poundland, there was this exact debate. The company at wanted the input from the management teams on what to do in terms of staffing and hourly rates. With heavy competition for team members in the town and city centre locations that Poundland used to occupy solely in those days, it was voted almost unanimously for higher rates and fewer hours to spend rather than the opposite.

The best staffing policy in retail for Poundland store managers at the time was to look for quality and to be able to compete with other retailers for the best retail staff available.

What influences the best staffing policy in retail ?

When you consider the best staffing policy in retail then you have to think about how this all fits into your business. Paying more and having fewer team members might work for Poundland over a multitude of stores. But if you only have one location, as many of my readers do, then this begs an entirely different question altogether. The flexibility on your staffing might mean -

  • More work for you
  • Less money to send on other areas of the business
  • Fewer team members at peak times
  • Relying on friends and family to help out
The best staffing policy in retail as far as your business is concerned is the one that you can operate effectively.

But at the core of all of this are two major factors in the success that you are able to deliver -

  1. Your ability to recruit high quality team members
  2. Your ability to keep them motivated and offering a fantastic service
I accept that pay is not the be-all-and-end-all of the second one (or even the first for some people) but it can help keep things going smoothly. Your customers will respond far better to engaged and motivated team members than those that are there on a minimum wage thing while looking for something else. Retail has it issues with staffing, so don't add to them.

The best staffing policy in retail

The best staffing policy in retail is the one that works for your organisation. But you have to remember that the world is not a static place. There are many things that can change and influence what you have to offer.

The National Living Wage is here and will be adjusted upwards all the time. This means that you have to stay on top of the game to attract the best staff members to your retail operation. It can make a huge difference when you have other similar stores to compete with, and loyalty is crucial.

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