How to Hire & Retain the Right Retail Employees

By Brian Harris

happy-apple-retail-employees

“Your people make all the difference. The only thing your competitors can’t copy is your culture and your people.” – Mel Kleiman, expert on hiring the best hourly employees

In one day, Mel Kleiman’s “employee from hell” totaled nine Hertz rental cars. Kleiman, who once owned the largest group of Hertz Rent-A-Car franchise locations in the U.S., is also the founder of Humetrics, a consulting firm that specializes in helping companies hire the best hourly employees.

According to Kleiman, hourly employees comprise more than 60 percent of the U.S. workforce, but many companies fall short on retaining top employees long enough to see a return on their investment. The result is high turnover rates and high costs to the employer.

How do you find the right retail employees? It’s a two-way street between the applicant and employer. Kleiman says to hire tough and manage easy. (In fact, that’s the name of his book.)

He urges employers to ask tough questions during the interview process. Don’t just ask them about their ability to do the tasks required in your job opening. Kleiman says that 95 percent of applicants will come to the interview prepared to tell you only what you want to hear.

Instead, ask them about their past job experiences and their ability to work with others. Ask them what their most difficult job was and how long they stayed at it.

Retention of Great Retail Employees is Self-Reflective

The hiring process isn’t just applicant/employee-centric. It’s also employer-centric. What kind of company are you inviting the applicant to join?

In the above video, Kleiman identifies five things all great employee is looking for in a job:

1. Great Bosses, Great Employees
Your employees are more likely to stay when they are surrounded by good people who want to see them succeed. How do managers measure up? How effective is the senior management team at communicating?

2. Growth
Employees are more likely to stay when they have an opportunity to advance or grow their skill set.

3. Interesting Work
Challenge your employees. Give them new responsibilities.

4. Family Friendly Work Environment
Life exists outside of work. Employees want to work for people who recognize and respect that fact.

5. Recognition
It’s a human emotion to crave recognition. People want to know when they are doing a good job. An occasional reward can go a long way!

Here’s an important question: Do you use the right tools to measure your store’s progress so you can identify your great employees, grow your business, experiment with new tasks/responsibilities, properly staff your stores so employees have a consistent schedule, and recognize your staff?

Falling short in one or more of these areas may also be holding you back from hiring the right people. You can’t just hire people who look good on paper to fix your business. Your company needs to be strong from the ground up, so you can attract good, hardworking employees who will grow with your business.

“We hire people for who they are, not what they know. Your most important job is making sure you hire the right people,” Kleiman concluded.

Topics: Professional Development, Business Operations

How to Conduct a Retail Employee Performance Review

By Brian Harris

performance review

It’s 2015, and with the New Year comes new opportunities -- including new jobs.

Did you know that Americans are quitting their jobs at the fastest pace since early 2008? That’s great news for recruitment, but not great news for retention.

According to Doug Fleener, author of “The Profitable Retailer: 56 Surprisingly Simple and Effective Lessons to Boost Your Sales and Profits,” retail turnover rates come down to two issues:

  1. Bad retail management.
  2. The attitude that employees are expendable.

Reduce turnover by keeping your employees engaged

An employee review sends two important messages. First, it reminds your employees that they are critical to your mission of providing exceptional customer service. Secondly, it tells employees that management values their input and is also looking to improve.

what-would-you-say-you-do-here

Do you remember that line from the cult-classic movie “Office Space”? It’s a scene that pokes fun at two efficiency evaluators, both named Bob.

Don’t be “The Bobs.” An evaluation is not the time to get a clue about what your employees are doing. You should already know this information!

Quantify, Quantify, Quantify

Accountability is a two-way street. If you want employees to be responsible for their performance, you must also be responsible in how you quantify their performance. You must have a process.

Optimize the return on your time by sticking to the facts.
Evaluations take time and in business, time is your most valuable asset. Don’t ask your employee how she feels she performed, according to Jeff Haden, contributing editor at Inc.com. Instead, talk about performance examples, both recently and in past months.

Have data to back up everything you say.
Having specific examples assumes you already conduct regular retail sales audits and property inspections. If there’s an ongoing problem at one of your retail locations, it should already be on record.   

Use visual examples.
Words can be poignant but photos can be powerful. Imagine if you had the capability to call up a photo that proves your point about store cleanliness or retail execution.

Capture data from your employee reviews.
You won’t be the only person conducting employee reviews. By using a mobile solution, you can easily create new forms that employees can fill out via their smartphone or tablets. Store managers can evaluate store employees, regional managers can evaluate store managers, and so on, right up the chain.

When everyone uses the same form, data is collected accurately for analysis.

Stay positive. Remember to stay positive throughout the employee evaluation and be sure to point out what your employees did right along with areas in need of improvement. Don’t argue! If you need to criticize, do it constructively with factual support.

Sample Personnel Evaluation Form

Topics: Professional Development, Retail

6 Steps to Becoming a Software Developer

By Vladik Rikhter

Deciding to become a software developer is a great step for your careers, so if you've already started, congrats! The job opportunities are growing quickly and in just about every industry that you can imagine. The best part is that you do not necessarily have to go to a four year university to become a great software developer to lock down one of these jobs. The web has all the resources you'll need to interact, learn, get support and finally find a job as a software developer. Let's go through some of them!

0. Interact (interactive resources to help you get started)

  • Codecademy - JavaScript courses
  • Code School - Rails, jQuery, CoffeeScript
  • TryRuby - Really fun way to spend 15 minutes learning some Ruby
  • Treehouse - Web design (CSS, CSS3, HTML, HTML5, Responsive Design), web development (HTML5, JavaScript, and Intro to Programming), and iOS (build iPhone and iPad apps)

1. Learn

University Courses Non-University Resources    Books   

2. Support (places to go if you have questions)

  • Stack Overflow - Lots of questions and answers on the site to search through, the difficult varies greatly too, so you can use it in all stages of your progression as a software developer.
  • Hacker News - A blend of sharing information on startups, engineering, and other tech related subjects. Questions here aren't necessarily as targeted as other areas, but community is active and will prove thorough input.

3. Get Your First Job/Project

  • oDesk - You'll have to bid on jobs, may be a bit tougher as a newcomer, but no reason not to try.
  • Elance - Same as oDesk, you'll have to bid on job as a newcomer, but no reason not to try.
  • Hacker News - In the 'ask' section you can either offer your services as a new developer or respond when others are posting requests for freelancers.
  • Tip: Put together a GitHub profile and show your potential employers the code that you've been writing. It gives more transparency to the process and a lot of employers will appreciate it.

4. Move on to Full-Time Work (great places to look for full-time employment)

[Bonus] 5. Further education

  • Hacker School - once you're quite good at what you do, the next level is to attend hacker school and become even better at it!

Here at Zenput, we're always looking for great computer programmers to join our team! If you are looking for an exciting career in the heart of the tech industry, visit https://jobs.lever.co/zenput

Topics: Professional Development