Retail News & insights

Retail relies upon people to bring the brand to life through the customer experience. An effective and easy to implement recruitment framework is at the heart of every successful retailer’s people policy.

Gather information on required staffing levels and competencies

One of the biggest questions retailers grapple with is how to balance the competing priorities of having enough of the right staff to provide the desired level of customer experience and minimising staffing costs to improve business profitability now and into the future.

Workplace planning is the systematic identification and analysis of what an organisation needs in terms of the volume, type, and quality of staff to achieve its business objectives. It determines the ideal mix of experience, knowledge, and skills required, and outline steps to get the right people in the right place at the right time.

Before workforce planning can take place retailers first need to be clear on their strategic business direction as this informs all other business decisions. The majority of retailers conduct an annual strategic planning and budgeting process to highlight the business direction, goals and objectives of the coming year and inform the future functional requirements of the workforce.baby boombers.jpg

Staff analysis for effective workforce planning is generally conducted over four phases:

Phase 1: Supply Analysis

Supply analysis focuses upon understanding both the existing and future staff supply. It aims to answer the question: “What is the existing profile of current staff, and what does it need to be in the future to accomplish the businesses goals and objectives?”

A. Determine the existing staff profile by:
  • Identifying employees’ ages, genders, ethnicity factors, education levels, and lengths of service
  • Determining the skill profile and average level of performance
  • Understanding the knowledge, skills, and abilities high performers use to achieve success
B. Determine the future staff profile by:
  • Reviewing trend data and consider how various factors will influence the future staff
  • Consulting with key managers to identify segments of the staff that are currently or potentially vulnerable
C. Determine future supply factors to ascertain likely impacts:
  • Review retention, turnover, promotion patterns, and leave usage
  • Determine whether the turnover rate affects the ability to fulfil strategic objectives
  • Review retirement patterns
  • Determine the projected staff needed, based on expected turnover without hiring replacements
  • Review data from previously conducted employee exit interviews
  • Consider challenges that may affect the ability to recruit and retain mission-critical skills

Phase 2: Demand Analysis

Demand analysis identifies the future staff needed to fulfil business objectives. It addresses the kind of work that will be performed and the staff needed to perform that work. Some information can be obtained from the businesses strategic plan; other information must be gleaned through research into environmental factors likely to impact business. These may include impacts resulting from:

A. Demographics

B. Labour market:

  • Labour trends and education trends
  • Issues associated with the use of non-permanent staff, including cost, supply and legislation
C. Technology
  • How technology will be used and which roles will be impacted
  • Whether technology changes will affect the number of employees or type of skills needed to do the work

Phase 3: Gap Analysis

Gap analysis involves comparing the staff supply projection to the staff demand forecast and attempting to answer the following questions:

  • What new skills will be required to accomplish the businesses goals and objectives?
  • Do individuals and teams currently have the skills anticipated to be needed?
  • Which job functions or skills will no longer be required?dreamstime_xl_37221040.jpg

The intention behind this considerable research is to develop staffing strategies. Staffing strategies are based on the results of gap analysis, the results of which may show one of the following:

  1. A GAP – indicates a future shortage of needed workers or skills
  2. A SURPLUS – indicates a future excess of needed workers or skills

Phase 4: Strategy Development

The final phase involves the development of strategies to address future gaps and surpluses. Strategies include the programs, policies, and practices that assist in recruiting, developing, and retaining the critical staff needed to achieve business objectives and actions that address the workers or skills no longer needed.

Conduct a Position Description Analysis

To bring an organisation’s workforce plan to life it is necessary to delve deeper into each role, profiling the role requirements and the ideal candidate’s skills, knowledge, experience and competencies.

Retailers need to investigate:

  • How to effectively describe the different job roles existing across the organisation
  • What kind of people are best placed to deliver upon the brand objectives

Design and Develop Job Specifications

Identify talent

Developing a Job (Person) Specification can help retailers to isolate the ideal requirements of personnel given the demands and requirements of the role in which they are or would be employed.

Job Title:

Qualifications/ Attainments:

  • Which should be the minimum required for satisfactory performance?

Experience:

  • Remember that length of service does not always indicate ability and may be indirect discrimination

Knowledge Base:

  • What specialised knowledge will be required?

Skills Required:

  • Consider the tasks listed in the Job Description and what skills the post-holder will have to possess in order to fulfil the requirements of the post

Personal Attributes:

  • Criteria covering personal qualities must be directly related to the job and apply equally to all groups

Prepare Job Specifications

The Job Specification is a particularly useful tool in the recruitment and selection process. Along with the Job (or Position) Description it provides the basis for short-listing and when used effectively, can make the task much easier. The Job Specification also provides solid criteria on which to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates, both at the short-listing stage and after interview.

When it comes to consolidating the information gathered and writing it is suggested the following are also included to support the qualifications, experience, knowledge, skills and personal attributes:

  1. A Job Summary
  • Describe the duties and responsibilities in very brief terms
  1. Degree of Supervision
  • Describe the way in which work is assigned, when it is reviewed, how it is reviewed, and what guidelines, prototypes and protocols are available
  1. A list of job functions
  • Primary Duties and Responsibilities – sometimes called the Essential or Core Functions
  • Other Duties and Responsibilities

Looking to learn the art of great retail buying? The ARA Retail Institute provides leading accredited training options including workshops and masterclasses in retail buying. Have a look at our classes below.

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