HR factor in retail

HR in retail is as important as in other sectors.

The job of a retail employee is very demanding as he is required to work nine hours every day, which is physically exhausting and emotionally draining. To use the maximum potential of an employee, the retail brands should understand the implications, and tactfully implement some remedial policies.  
Harnessing optimum potential:
To get maximum productivity from an employee, it is of paramount importance to instill a sense of belongingness amongst the employees in the business. When they realise that they constitute a part of the company, and their stake is involved in the loss or gain of the company, they develop an innate desire to conscientiously work for the growth of the company. A passion for success needs to be infused. And that can be assured by inducting employees to repeated training programmes. It is also important to take care of employees’ work conditions and comforts  

A glance over HR practices followed at various retail brands:

a) Pantaloon
About the work environment and HR policies at Pantaloon, Sanjay Jog, Chief People Officer of Future Group said, “The policies of our brand are not the same for the entire country. For me, in the north, money is more important; in the south recognition is more important; in the east intellectual recognition is regarded, and in western India, commitment is very important. Our policies are tailor-made to these cultural differences.” 

b) Reliance Retail
At Reliance Retail, the team is headed by the HR-Head, Bijay Sahoo. This retail business enterprise believes in acquiring and retaining the right talent pool. Their HR policy focuses on critical areas like talent acquisition, talent transformation, talent design and talent concept of human resources (HR) within the company.  

c) Koutons
At Koutons, HR policies are designed to keep an eye on excellence and a vision to grow; policies are made to ensure sincerity to values and principles.  
e) Domino’s
Recently, two employees of Domino’s were fired when they posted videos on YouTube showing how Domino’s violated various health code standards while preparing the food for delivery. This video became a hit on YouTube, for which a statement on the company’s website apologised for the unacceptable actions of their former employees and asked customers to continue their support despite this embarrassment. After this incident, the company included certain regulations for using social media for their employees. The incident reflects the fact that a company must work to maintain employee satisfaction.  

Provision of facilities to staff at retail floors: 
It is believed, if the foundation of any business organisation stands on weak pillars, there will certainly be problems in its working. In retail environment, the facilities provided to retail floor staff are very important. Starting from the uniform of the retail staff, to their hygiene factors, these must be investigated properly to get the right volume of productivity from an employee. It is necessary to provide toilets, restrooms, canteens and dining areas, as well as a recreation room for the floor staff. At Marks & Spencer, whenever the appointments are made for a new supplier, its managers first check the staff toilets and dining facilities. In a competent retail organisation, each employee should spend at least 10 working days in a year in the classroom. Training of the staff is the best investment in retail business. Training has to be constant, in the classroom and on the floors, on a daily basis.  

Retaining the best employees
Skilled staff is the most sought after asset in any business enterprise, because it is the source of continued success for any business. Retaining the best employees is an important task for an HR head in retail. In this regard, recognition and reward are the instruments to keep the efficient employees working at your business enterprises. For recognising an employee’s work, mapping of performance is needed. There are numerous ways to scrutinise the performance level of every employee. Based on the performance mapping, steps must be taken to recognise and reward the competent employees. Reward in terms of salary hike or incentives in any other shape boost the morale of the employee,  
Sanjay Coutinho, CEO, Barista India shares, “Healthy environment at workplace and job satisfaction can help retain the employees. Organisation can keep employees happy and can motivate them by appreciating their performance.”  

To map the performance of an employee, Coutinho further suggests, “Employee and the supervisor can sit together and decide key responsibilities to measure performance. One-to-one interviews can be conducted for appraisals. There are various techniques like self appraisal or 360 degree appraisal and many such that organisations can adopt.”  

Motivation to work more
Loyalty is a very subjective term; it is found that when an employee’s work is getting recognized and rewarded too, the employee gets loyal to that company. In the words of Valbinder Singh Aluhwalia, President, Retail, Koutons India Ltd, “One of the best techniques to build and maintain employee motivation is to have an event or staff meeting, followed by dinner, staff recognition awards and a closing party. This will build and maintain employee motivation. It is hard to believe but recognition is the most important tool to motivate the employees.”  


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