The retail industry has been growing rapidly in the recent years, forcing organizations to constantly continue looking for strategies to remain competitive. The intense competition witnessed in retail industry has presented various challenges that affect sales for many stores. Moreover, given that the industry is labour-intensive, a major challenge arises when trying to create an equilibrium between staffing and sales. As a result, human resource managers have various roles to play in enhancing sales and workforce efficiency (Goel, 2014). The main role of human resources managers is to set up policies and procedure to enhance staffing at retail store (Nkomo, Fottler, & McAfee, 2011). The manager seeks to increase employee productivity in relation to sales in the short term; however, in the long term, the manager seeks to increase employee satisfaction that would have a corresponding effect on employee’s performance, increase customer performance, and reduce employee turnover.
Therefore, a human resources manager is responsible for selecting, recruiting, and retaining the best talent who have passion to work (Hammond & Berman, 2013). It is important to note that, sales employees in retail store interact directly with customers, and their interaction may build or destroy customers’ perception about the store. Therefore, the human resources manager needs to harness skilled and competent employees, especially in customer service. The manager should also remain abreast with the changing nature of retail demand in order to ensure employees meet the preferences of customers. Another role of human resources managers involves training and development of employees in order to retain a productive workforce that meets the demands of customers.
Here, managers understand that training is important in ensuring that employees understand all information about products to be sold in order to market them effectively and as a result, improve sales. In addition, training boosts employees’ confidence and enhances innovation for long-term professional performance. Retaining talent is the toughest role that human resources managers play, especially considering that the labor market is very volatile and competitive.
Moreover, taking into consideration the high cost of hiring and training employees, it is important for human resources managers to demonstrate to the employees that they are an important part of the system and they are likely to benefit by remaining loyal to the firm. Here, emotional connection plays a vital role in motivating employees, who will consequently provide efficient customer service that would have positive impact on customers’ experience. All in all, a human resources manager should enhance employees’ capabilities in order to boost customer service orientation, effective communication skills, decision-making capabilities, strong result orientation, and creativity and innovation (Nkomo & Fottler, 2012).
Human Resource Strategy in the Retail
In order to boost sales in a retail store, it is important to develop a sound human resource strategy that will improve employees’ performance and increase customer satisfaction (Mello, 2011). Here, three important aspects need consideration, which include talent acquisition, talent management, and talent development. Planning is crucial in order to eliminate chances of over-staffing while trying to increase sales; this would have a financial implication to the store’s profitability, especially considering that retail industry is a low-margin field. The following is a human resources strategy would be relevant for a retail store.
The first step in this strategy would be attracting and selecting talent. The best talent could be attracted by utilizing a suitable employee-marketing brand that potential employees would like to be associated with. This would be followed by recruiting the most competent and right employees as per the job requirements in the store. One important aspect to factor would be hiring permanent staff only and avoiding temporary staff in order to enhance accountability. In addition, considering the diversity of customers, hiring would embrace diversity of workforce, especially on basis of gender. After acquiring the right talent, it would be important to develop it through training and development (Nkomo & Fottler, 2012).
Here, programs would be drawn that would include on-the-job training and classroom training intended to offer skills such as communication, product knowledge, customer service, organizational culture, and marketing among others. Motivation would also be enhanced through setting clear lines of authority and communication, as well as offering incentives that align employees and company goals. In management of the work force, flexible working schedules would be adopted in order to ensure every employee works within the right limits.
Moreover, in order to boost sales with an optimal workforce, alternative channels that embrace the latest technology would be used such as e-commerce or internet selling. Finally, retaining employees would be encouraged through empowering employees and building relationship with them. Empowering would entail building confidence in employees, designing career paths for key performers and encouraging commitment to success. Building relationship would entail promoting from within, reducing status difference, and enhancing careers and families balancing. In order to ensure only the right employees remain in the store, annual evaluation would be conducted to establish merit or performance levels based on sales during the period (Nkomo, Fottler, & McAfee, 2011).
Methods to Improve Human Resources Function in the Retail Store
The function of human resources may be improved in a retail store by concentrating more on core activities in operational improvements than on administration and compliance roles. One of methods to improve HR function includes hiring HR employees that have extensive experience in operational improvement. The professionals should be employee-centered in order to enhance performance (Hammond & Berman, 2013). The second method involves streamlining and doing away lower-value administrative services of human resource such as payroll and benefits in order to reduce operation costs and focus on more important or core functions.
Instead of wasting human resources on these simple and less valuable procedures, the retail store should outsource them in order to reduce administrative work and concentrate on operational improvement. The third method would involve building an organizational development group in human resources focusing on strategies and processes for talent development and performance.
Recommended Organization Structure Changes In the Retail Store
An organization structure is very important in any organization, as it aligns employees with specific tasks, establishes lines of authority, and provides direction through which communication should follow in a firm. In the retail store, the major challenge would be assigning the right people to responsibilities, authority, and tasks. Major tasks that form the organizational structure include strategic management, merchandise management, store management, and administrative management. One of the changes I would recommend in the organization structure of the retail store would be to narrow the span of control to two departments, merchandise and store, which would report directly to strategic management.
Here, the merchandise department would handle procurement of merchandise, inventory control, and pricing of merchandise, while stores department would handle sales and human resources management functions. The advantage of this lean structure would involve reduced costs due to fewer managers, easy decision-making procedure, increased efficiency due to close supervision and coordinated procurements.
Goel, M. (2014). A Textbook of Retail: For Class-9. New Delhi, India: Goyal Brothers Prakashan. Web.
Hammond, R., & Berman, B. (2013). Your Success in the Retail Business (Collection). NJ, USA: FT Press. Web.
Mello, J. (2011). Strategic human resource management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. Web.
Nkomo, S., & Fottler, M. (2012). Human resource management capstone. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. Web.
Nkomo, S., Fottler, M., & McAfee, R. (2011). Human resource management applications: Cases, exercises, incidents, and skill builders. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. Web.