Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What’s it like to be a….Retail Manager?

My job title is: In Store Lingo—-Executive Team Lead/Guest Experience
In English: Assistant Store Manager in charge of guest experience

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?

My job does not have a “normal” day. My peers and I rotate on what we call an LOD or Leader on Duty shift. This means I am in charge of the entire store and what takes place that day. I am in charge of how it looks, responding to guest complaints and compliments, driving sales and credit conversion, as well as making sure my team shows up to work and is having a fun yet productive day.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
I was a student prior to this job, but at Calvin I worked at the Career Development Office.

What kind of training/education did you have? What would you suggest? What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?

I started this past January 2008 and after 4 months of training, I was finally placed in my permanent role. I’ve now been in position for 4 months at my store.
To be successful in this position, you need to be really flexible. In retail, multiple “things” change on a daily basis. The other skill is being a people person. In a SuperTarget, where I am, my entire store team totals around 300 team members. Being able to speak with each individual and develop a relationship is a must. Another key to success is effective communication and being able to follow up on projects and issues. Then when I speak about changes within the company and/or day-to-day operational issues and later follow up with individual staff, they know I am serious, interested and concerned about the assignment I gave them.

What are the rewards in your position? Challenges? What makes a good day for you?
A reward is when I help teach one of my team members something and then I am able to see them perform that task. It encourages me because I have taught them correctly and they were engaged with what I was teaching them. It is also rewarding to hear compliments from my boss. When she and I are talking and I can speak in an informed way, she is impressed by what I have to offer.

A challenge is being able to have a work-life balance, yet get everything done that needs to get done! Delegation is a big part of my job, but with delegation comes follow-up to ensure it gets done correctly. A good day for me is when I can leave work organized and know I have covered all of the bases for that day. Sometimes, though, it means I have to prioritize and write a “To-Do” list for that week, as I know I will not able to get everything done in one day.

I also know it’s a good day when I have few guest complaints and no guest incidents involving safety or lost kids!!

What trends or changes do you foresee in the next 5-10 years?
I foresee this chain taking over Wal Mart. I think the biggest difference is the guest service aspect and that we offer a wider variety of more valued products. I think this chain needs to continue to increase their technology and offer more products at lower prices.

How could a person find out more about your field?
If you want to find out more about retail, let me know! I would love to spend some time talking on the phone answering any questions you may have. I encourage people to do their research on the internet about retail companies they are interested in.
Ask yourself questions such as:
1) What makes this company successful?
2) How are they communicating with me through their website?  Is it formal, informal, trendy, etc.
3) What is that company’s history. How have they operated within society and handled sustainable development? Are they interested solely in their company succeeding or helping their employees succeed with great benefits and opportunities outside of work such as volunteer, hotline help, etc.

When you were growing up, did you have any interests that you have built into your work?
My father owned a small business, so I always figured I’d get involved with business management someday. I used to work for him and dream about the day I’d be able to run my own business.

What other things would you suggest?
Risk. Take changes. Do weird things you didn’t think you’d ever do, because who knows if you’ll end up enjoying them! It also gives you another direction to approach individuals who are different than you. Travel and explore other cultures to get a better taste and appreciation for where you live now.


Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/30 at 02:40 PM

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