For many people, their first experience of a real job is in retail. Retail positions attract a range of candidates, from young people looking for their first job to more experienced workers hoping to work their way up to a managerial role. But regardless of the candidate’s background, there are several key skills that recruiters should look for in all their retail staff.
From the outside, it might appear that there isn’t much more to most retail roles than scanning barcodes through the POS system, stacking shelves, and directing customers to the products they’re looking for. But anyone who has worked in retail knows that there’s more to it than that.
Good communication skills are essential for any retail worker. For one thing, even the most basic front-facing retail job involves interacting with the public; the way that retail staff speak to customers will inform their opinions of the business as a whole. But if your staff aren’t able to communicate efficiently with one another, your entire operation will suffer as a result.
During key trading periods such as Christmas, it is crucial that retail businesses can rely on their staff at all levels to implement their corporate strategy. This applies to front-line workers just as much as managers; it’s no good having your managers relay your strategies if you can’t rely upon the sales staff to stick to it.
If you want all your staff to stick to your corporate strategy, you need persuasive leaders. Simply ordering staff to adhere to a strategy isn’t going to work. Instead, you should look for managers and executives who can explain what your strategy is and why it will be effective.
To keep a retail business running smoothly, staff need to divide their time between tending to customers on the shop floor and seeing to the back of house administrative tasks. Falling behind on the admin means diverting staff from the shop floor to catch up.
Effective retail leaders should be able to manager their own time and the time of those working beneath them. The retail calendar consists of peaks and troughs; poor time management during the quiet periods of the year will make navigating the busy periods much more challenging than it needs to be.
Recruiting the right people to key roles is integral to the success of any retail business. The three key skills outlined above are by no means the only ones that you should be looking for in retail executives, but they are all essential nonetheless.