The job of a retail sales associate is integral for a retail business since the performance of the personnel has a direct impact on the business profitability. At the time when the economy is showing grave uncertainty due to micro and macro elements, there is a need for competent retail sales staff that can deliver the best performance. For an upscale retail store that deals with items like apparels, bags, shoes, and other accessories, there is the need for an effective performance management system so that proper tracking of sales associate performance will be possible (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014).
The paper covers a number of aspects relating to the performance and its improvement in the retail environment. The job description for a retail sales associate has been included so that the retail firm can effectively employ the right people for the right job position. An organizational behavior modification plan has been presented which includes the desired behavior that is expected from a retail sales associate, ways to measure the vital job performance behavior of the current employees, methods of providing feedback to the employees, necessary action that the business leaders can take to enhance the employee performance behavior and the key legal and ethical issues that affect the performance management system (Budhwar & Debrah, 2013).
Job description for a retail sales associate
The job description is the first most crucial communication that takes place between an employer and a prospective employee. The business needs to cover all its requirements in the job description so that the best applicants can be selected and recruited for the specific job.
In the particular competitive retail scenario, the job description for the position would focus on the basic educational qualification and behavior since the retail job will require him to assist the customers with hard-to-find commodities and answer questions relating to their concerns (Buckingham & Goodall, 2015). His basic activities would involve dealing with the customers and solve their queries so that the ultimate sales objective of the business is achieved. He will also have to multitask since he has to handle payments from customers and make sure that all the goods are attractively displayed in the retail outlet.
A lot of patience is expected from the retail associate since there could be a number of customers that would pose a challenge in the retail activity. The special characteristics that would come into play n such a situation include politeness, friendly attitude, and an outgoing personality (Beardwell & Thompson, 2014). The technical knowledge of the employee would be crucial since he must be aware of the specifications and unique features of the products. Majority of the activities would be conducted in the indoor retail outlet but a few sales sessions could be conducted outdoors as well. Long working hours in retail is the basic norm that is followed and it would be a necessity for the retail sales associate to abide by it.
Organizational behavior modification plan
The organizational behavior modification plan (OBM) would play a vital role to keep track of the performance of the employees of the organization. The four basic behaviors that would be required for successful job performance as a retail sales associate would include patience, outgoing attitude, multitasking ability and agile. Patience is a necessary attribute that a retail associate needs to possess. Since he represents a business to the public or customers, this positive approach towards customers would be vital to have an edge in the industry (Jackson, Schuler & Jiang, 2014). Similarly the outgoing and sociable attitude would help him to build a healthy rapport with the customers. Multitasking ability is essential for the retail sales associate since he would have to deal with a number of customers at a time. Agility is necessary to prevent any kind of damage due to breakage or shoplifting, etc.
The organizational behavior modification (OBM) plan would help in the assessment of such attributes so that the customers could get the best experience in the outlet (Pulakos et al., 2015). The plan would benefit the organization since if the necessary qualities would be lacking in a few staff members then training sessions could be conducted to improve their performance standard.
Measurement of current employee’s key job performance behaviors
The plan would help to measure the job performance behavior of the retail sales associate and thus it would also aid to bring about positive changes in the work process of the retail business. An online assessment tool would be set up which could capture the performance in form of the number of sales from a particular product section, complaints against an associate, etc. (Purce, 2014). This tool would basically help the firm to locate the key areas that have scope for improvement. The feedback tool that would be used to understand the perspective of the customers would play a major role in this plan. In case there would be any dissatisfaction in customers it could be effectively addressed by the retail outlet.
Two crucial methods could be used to inform the retail employees of the new performance standards so that they can bring about positive changes from their side as well. The first method would be the updating of the standards in the company’s policies so that all the employees would know of the basic retail requirements (Renwick, Redman & Maguire, 2013). The second method that would be adopted would be based on the customer feedback i.e. both positive and negative. An online platform would be set where the best and the worst customer feedback would be highlighted on a weekly basis. These methods would play a critical role to help employees keep track of the company’s standards.
Providing feedback to employees
Giving accurate feedback on regular basis is the most effective way in which their performance can be enhanced. In order to encourage a healthy feedback model a one-on-one meeting would be conducted among retail staff and their concerned managers. Another innovative gaming session could be included in the model so that the constructive feedback could be given on behavioral aspects of employees like friendliness, team spirit, helping attitude, etc.
Since in the retail environment customers come in contact with customers on a daily basis, the feedback giving session would be conducted on a bi-monthly basis. This strategy would make sure that positive changes are implemented at the right time (Reiche, Mendenhall & Stahl, 2016). In case of a severe complaint from the customer, the feedback would be given instantly to the particular employee so that such instances could be avoided in future.
Reinforcing positive employee behaviors
The company leaders would play a crucial role in the organizational behavior modification plan and their approach would ensure that the most effective and positive employee behaviors are reinforced in the retails organization. In order to encourage professional behavior among the employees, a new recognition model could be introduced titled “Employee of the month”. This status would motivate employees to improve the standards of their performance so that they can be well recognized inside the retail firm (Sparrow, Brewster & Chung, 2016). The second method that could be used by the leaders to reinforce positive employee behaviors among the retail sales associates is the better rewarding system. Such a model could be introduced to enhance employee morale and encourage them to inculcate healthy professional behavior that is needed in the retail environment.
Key legal and ethical issues that could potentially impact the performance management system
There could be different legal and ethical issues that could impact the performance management systems in the retail scenario. Some of the most commonly identified issues include reduced the privacy of employees due to close monitoring by employees, chances of ineffectiveness in the performance appraisal model, political influence within the organization to promote or demote employees, etc. The issue relating to privacy aspects of the employee has always caused debate in the retail set-up (Storey, 2014). In case all the activities of the retail employee are recorded by the employer then it might give rise to demotivation and mistrust. Similarly, a poor or biased performance appraisal model is unethical and could reduce the morale of the staff members. In most organizations, there is some degree of political influence but the same should be avoided since the promotion or demotion of employees on these grounds is unethical and it might have legal implications on the business concern as well (Van Dooren, Bouckaert & Halligan, 2015).
The implementation of an effective performance management system is a necessity for all the types of organizations irrespective of their nature and size. This model helps businesses to assess the performance of its employees so that the ultimate performance of the concern can be enhanced. Similarly, in the retail environment, the role of an organizational behavior modification (OBM) plan is beneficial not just for the employer but also for the employees. A productive model can help a concern to identify the key attributes that its employees need to develop in order to strengthen their performance. It can play a vital role to motivate the employees to deliver better performance in the retail setting.
The proper attitude and behavior of the employees have a vital impact on the overall performance of the business organization. Thus businesses, especially the ones that operate in the retail sector, need to develop positive attitude in their employees so that the performance can get enhanced.
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