The Indian retail sector, which is growing rapidly, still faces a few challenges, of which HR is one of the biggest. This challenge is strongly faced at the front staff and store management level.
The job scenario in the present economy is dismal making it so much more important for retailers to hire the right candidates for the right positions. Sweta Pal of IndianRetailer spoke Udit Mittal, MD, Unison International, one of the key plays in HR management. Unison has an experience of 14 years experience in human capital management.
SP: Please comment on the present scenario for job opportunities in retail.
Udit Mittal (UM): Retail is the next best thing now. With the recent law supporting FDI, a huge amount of international companies are willing to set up stores in India and it will be sooner than expected. In near future, we will see a lot of international brands coming in and setting up stores and this will eventually strengthen the job market with plenty of new jobs.
SP: Please elaborate on how HR practices such as appraisals have changed over years.
UM: Nowadays, appraisals are not the only means to increase the employee’s salary. There are a lot of new methods which are used to appraise an employee other than the monthly salary boost. These include holding various awards and recognitions like employee of the month, employee of the quarter, best client servicing employee, etc. Apart from awards various gifts also add up to the appraisals. Promotions too form a big part of appraisals. When a store staff is promoted to a new rank, training becomes necessary as the staff would be taking on a new load of responsibility. To help them understand their role better and their KRA better, training is required. Also, transfers are a part of a regular drill.
Sweta Pal (SP): Please tell us more about your company and how it is different from other consultancy and recruitment services?
UM: Unison is more than a 14 years old brand of career counselling, recruitment services and human capital management hiring talent for senior and middle levels. Our job consultants/experts offer recruitment services in domains including retail, IT, education, consumer durables, consulting and advisory and FMCG. What sets us apart from others is our service and quality of our core operations. We follow a proven set of methodologies that best suit your needs when it comes to filling up important requisitions.
SP: Please elaborate on your marketing strategies and tie-ups with retailers for recruitments.
UM: Over the years, we have set up a brand name. Initially, there were very few names we used to work with. Gradually, with time, we learnt of new prospective clients and we pitched them to provide candidates for various jobs. Now we have a good team of people who can pitch for clients aggressively. For marketing, we use social media as the primary tool to market our name. Our Facebook fanpage has more than 15,000 likes and on Linkedin has more than 25,000 connections. We keep people interested in what’s new and fancy and keep them updated with new openings and news. After 14 years, we have managed to grow a good number of satisfied clients, and word of mouth marketing has worked well. We also undertake endorsements and events and share press releases all the time.
SP: Who is your target jobseeker? And how do you reach them?
UM: A person who is innovative, courageous, an out of the box thinker with great personality and communication skills backed by with good domain knowledge is a best fit. All employers look for people who are honest and can do the job with little or no supervision. We have a strong team of experts working with us who look after the open requisitions with various clients. We employ all means of tracking a good prospective hiring, be it cold calling, headhunting, posting ads or the use of social media and references. While screening candidates for a job, we ask a series of questions that are job related and also help us gauge what skills that the candidate has. Based on this we check if the candidate will be a right fit for the job or not.