By Christina O’Flaherty
The most successful businesses have employees that are just as invested in the store as the owners are. But how and where do you find employees like that?
Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender know that staffing can be one of the biggest challenges retailers face today. As consultants and experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, and everything retail, they have a few tips to offer for finding staff that makes your store shine.
Post your help wanted ad on social media.
“More and more people (like Millennials) are using social media and you want to reach them where they’re hanging out,” says Georganne Bender. When you have a candidate, don’t forget to check out what they’re saying online too, since this will give you a big clue into what kind of employee they might be.
Ask your staff for referrals.
One of the best resources, that is often overlooked, is your very own staff. Rich Kizer suggests that you “Ask them if they know anyone like themselves, and if you end up hiring their recommendation, you are building an even stronger team that will reinforce each other.”
Make sure your hiring reflects your target customer.
If you’re selling to Millennials, make sure you have them on your staff. “They’re going to attract people like themselves not only to shop the store, but also like-minded people to work at your store,” says Rich Kizer.
Make hiring an opportunity, not a chore.
Even though hiring can be stressful, having a new perspective can help you in the long run. “You’re hiring one of your biggest marketing pieces, next to your store itself,” says Georganne Bender. “You’re hiring someone that’s going to be your front line. And at the end of the day, your front line is your bottom line. Those people are walking, talking, moving representationsUsers of your business.”
Be open to candidates even if you’re not hiring.
Keep an open call on Facebook or other social sites to encourage applicants. You never know when your next great employee could contact you. Rich Kizer advises to keep the language friendly, with something like, “We’re always looking for creative team members; stop by and have a cup of coffee with us to see if we’re a good fit.”
Make yourself available after hours.
“If candidates can’t find time during the day to get in touch with you and need to reach you after hours, make sure there is a number they can call to leave a message if they have questions. This gives you an opportunity to get in touch with a really good candidate that may have otherwise gotten away because they were too busy during the day to reach out,” says Rich Kizer.
And once you hire that rock star, make sure you keep them. Start by making them feel important to your operations.
“If you’re not making them part of the team, they’re not going to interact with your customers the way you want them to,” says Georganne Bender. She suggests giving them a business card and letting them create their own title because it fosters a sense of ownership.
Another valuable tip is to help ease their transition by pairing them with a “buddy.” This could be a senior employee that they can shadow for a few weeks, ask questions along the way, and learn the ropes.
“It relieves the new associate from interacting at a level they’re not comfortable with yet,” says Rich Kizer. And it helps the senior associates feel valued.
With the right staff — a staff feels like an integral part of your business — they’ll be invested in your store and your customers.
Want more tips on staffing your store from the experts? Visit Kizer & Bender’s Retail Adventures blog.