Lessons in Retail | I’m an Outsider looking in.
Hello, first time writer here (Guest Writer) with an experience I believe some of us have gone though.
Let me begin.
I have over 15 years experience in Retail Management. I have worked for 3 different Retailers; 9 years for the first, 4 years for the second and over a year in my present employer who has decided to speak to me out of both sides of their mouths.
Due to this exorcist like behaviour, I have no choice to start looking for another job. It’s unfortunate that I am in this position because I really like what the company brings to the table but,
I’m an Outsider looking in.
So, how did it come to this and what lesson can be learned?
Simple. Recruiters | HR needs to stop letting potential candidates know that the reason they are hiring, is to bring in fresh and new exciting ideas to a culture that needs to be re-energized.
The first 90 days were awesome, I got my on-boarding completed, learned about the company and continued to learn my Managerial duties. It was the first time I was dealing with a team, who had been in this store longer than my whole retail career but who have been mistreated in the past.
I was the newbie, fresh blood with a fresh new outlook on the store. I was ready to give them a taste of what a culture of encouragement, development, motivation and communication to which they have not experienced in the past.
I was going to lead them by example, teach them the difference between a Manager vs. Leader, and get my ass out of the office to work with beside them. Sounds great? Or at least I thought it did.
Once I started to gain confidence and was able to manage my department, you could not even begin to imagine the resilience, the undermining and complete rebellion a bunch of 50 year olds with 20 years service brought forth!
It was frustrating, discouraging, and upsetting. I reached out to my “Boss” for support | advice and was told that I had to adapt to the team and forget everything I knew about Leadership, as this was his house, but… it would get better with time.
I love challenges, so I continued to find out what motivated my Team with one on one conversations and tweaked my strategy to blend in as necessary.
It’s regrettable that I was sold my “ideal career” by someone who only brought me on to fill their quota and not because of my skill set that they were “so enamored” with.
It’s unfortunate but this was not only happening to me but many of my peers in Retail who have taken on new Management roles. If we were all hired for our skill sets and filtered out of the Salmon spawn as a “right fit” then why does it feel like we are constantly swimming against the current, trying to prove that we were not new to this role, and have had the proper experience and training to call ourselves Managers.
During the the next few months I was ridiculed by my Store Manager for bringing a different perspective to the table and sharing successes from my prior experiences. My self confidence was melting away as I started to question myself.
The question that I kept asking myself was: If I am this incompetent, then why after 5 interviews I made it to this point. Maybe it’s not me.
I will never find if it is me or not because when I tried to discuss this with my HR rep the response I got was that the Manager I was working with has over 20 years of experience and they know what they are doing. – I call bullshit.
Anyways, before I continue to play my miniature violin I would strongly suggest the following to avoid this common problem.
- Ensure that store your new Employee is training in a store that has a history of successful training and a low turnover rate.
- Validate that the training Manager is open to new ideas and is not easily threatened by someone who may be “better than them”
- Make sure that the onboarding is complete, or has been started.
- Have bi-weekly check ins to validate your NEW Employees training and how they are feeling.
- Continue these check ins on a Monthly basis after the first 90 days.
- If there is even a hint of an issue; DIG FURTHER.
- If this new Recruit is not a “fit”, which will happen, you will know within the first couple of weeks. Take action.
Training Manager | Store
- Onboarding needs to be ready for them. Celebrate the Newbies arrival. Make them feel at home. Take them out for a coffee.
- Listen to your new Partner. Find out about their success and what got them to this point.
- Share with your new Partner your successes and what got you to this point. Leave your Ego at the door.
- Leave your Ego at the door. You are not G-d’s gift to Retail and your years of experience may have tinted your glasses.
- Don’t be threatened by new ideas. Listening to them doesn’t mean you have to accept them, but you may want to try them.
- Give constructive feedback on a weekly basis. Keep it simple and direct it towards the Job Description. Don’t forget to document it and share it. Also, please place it on their file.
- As they grow, you will also grow, but need to accept change. Remember, that everyone is in this for the same goal.
- If your Partner is not a “fit”, which will happen, you will know withing the first couple of weeks. Call your Human Resources Manager to review the next steps.
Being an Outsider looking In can be an extremely stressful time, not only for the New Employee but the entire Team as well.
Harry Potter to me is a bore. His talent arrives as a gift; he’s chosen. Who can identify with that? But Hermione – she’s working harder than anyone, she’s half outsider, right? Half Muggle. She shouldn’t be there at all. It’s so unfair that Harry’s the star of the books, given how hard she worked to get her powers.
Author: Raven MacKenzie
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