This time of year is many different things to many different people. Your ability to understand what this time of year means to your people in the field, and your ability to tune in and give them what they need, is critical to the success of your operation during this holiday season.
Retail people know that this season is huge for them. There is a better than average chance of them meeting and/or exceeding their sales budgets. To many, that means a better than average chance of earning commissions or bonuses. They know that they will see increased customer traffic. They probably have lots of inventory great new novelty items in addition to increased quantities of other merchandise. They understand that this is an immense opportunity to contribute to the annual sales results for their store and their company. And they are looking forward to all of this.
Here are some of the things that they are not looking forward to:
- Staff shortages due to insufficient hiring and illness, real or fabricated
- Stock rooms bulging at the seams; aisles that cannot be used
- Employee lunchrooms, and possibly even washrooms, taken over by excess inventory, bags and other supplies
- Cranky shoppers
- Extended hours of operation
- Missing their family functions because they have to work
- Emergency markdowns on top of emergency markdowns
- Excessive Head Office requirements for reporting and visual presentation changes
- Short breaks and long line-ups at the food court
- Aching bones and muscles particularly in their feet
- Overwhelming fatigue day after day
- The Boxing Day (Week) set-up that has to be finished on Christmas Eve
- The H.O. visits that always finish with what has to be done/changed/improved instead of a pat on the back and a show of appreciation
- Constant schedule changes because someone at H.O. (most probably someone who has not worked in that store) decided that they are under scheduled here and over scheduled there
- Parking so far away from the mall entrance that they wish there was a bus available because their feet are sore
The list could go on and on, but you get the picture. If you have ever worked in a store during this time of year you may have some understanding of what the field staff are going through. If you haven’t, maybe its time you did just to gain the very valuable experience.