Write an essay on Retail Sector.
The retail sector is a dynamic as well as highly competitive business, needing to answer to customers' demands. Retail employment plays a crucial role because approximately 3 million people are working in the retail sector. The retail sector offers a plethora of career opportunities, with different roles at all levels of the industry. With the onset of the digital revolution, the scenario will change completely. Therefore it is necessary to relook on the staffing and performance appraisal aspects.
Staffing is the process which identifies, assesses, place, evaluate and directs individuals at work. It involves organizing the business structure with suitable and efficient human resource selection, assessment, training and development of the human resources to fill the tasks intended into the structure (Dietiker, 2013) whereas performance management, on the other hand, can be described as an approach to viewing and recording staff’s performance for the grounds of decision making about his/her work. It involves personnel at all levels in writing the job descriptions, selecting appropriate evaluation criteria, using suitable tools and procedures for assessment, and gathering, understanding, and reporting outcomes. It plays a vital role in encouraging employees to enhance individual and managerial outcome; this inspiration is key in the retail sector because there is a high importance on customer service communication, motivated and skilled staff which assist high level of client service.
The staffing methods which are used in retail sector keeping in mind the digital revolution are:
Internal recruitment: It is advisable that a person is internally promoted to fill open or new positions rather than hiring a candidate from outside. Internal recruitment mainly focuses on existing workforce and other previous employees who are in touch with the business. Friends of existing people, ex- employees, and an earlier claimant may be the sources. Promotion, downgrading, and shifting also help in providing an additional resource for the unit, if not for the complete association.
It leaves a positive impact on the staff’s morale and also optimizes the chances of employee’s retention. Internal recruitment encourages the team members to perform efficiently in their designated areas. In the retail sector, current employees are the biggest internal recruitment source. The major sources are:
The major basis for hiring incumbents for openings within the institution is posting a job on the portal. In the job portal, employer notifies the job openings and employees act in response to it. The openings can also be informed on a notice board, by circulating publication or by word of mouth.
From all the applications a list is made based on seniority and priority is given to them while making such promotions. This system gives all the employees equal opportunity to move upward in the ladder and prove their potential. This can prove to be ineffective if not handled properly. It should be posted before recruiting externally and should provide enough timeframe so that present staff members can check notice and apply on time.
Promotion and Transfer
The other most widely used way to fill openings is through upgrading and downgrading the staff. The skill set must be assessed before promoting a person because a person who is good in sales at the retail store might not be equally good as a supervisor of the whole store. Supervisory jobs require skill of getting work done from others and solving problems of the team members which is not prevalent in sales job profile. Therefore the promotions should be done after carefully analyzing the skill set of the person. Transfers are seen more often during downsizing (Armstrong-Stassen, 2003).
Current Employee Referrals
Referrals are another internal source of hiring. Staff members can help the prospective applicants in making adjustments within the organizations. Although they are external candidates hired with the help of internal information.
This can prove an effective tool as cost in reaching people is minimized. Some studies show that personnel hired with this approach have a longer tenure rather than from those who are hired through other sources.
Internal Recruiting Database
In Internal recruiting database, the data is entered for eg skills, field of occupation, work histories and then at the time of vacancies a candidate is searched from the database and is called for further processing. It helps in reducing cost of advertisements as well as expenses of record retention are saved.
External recruitment: specifies the source of employment from outside the venture. The persons hired from outside resource are, thus, unfamiliar to the endeavor so far. Few organizations have a preference to this source mostly originality because they believed in a competitive economy, new incumbents should be brought in into the business so as to make it more vibrant (Chan, 1996). The outside sources usually include:
- New participant in the labor force i.e., adolescent mostly inexpert and potential employees for example the college students.
- The unemployed staff with various skills and abilities.
- Retired knowledgeable persons.
- All others who are not in the industry force.
Methods of recruiting
The popular methods of hiring people are the following:
- Advertisements: A respondent to job posting is one of the biggest sources in which the jobs were posted on company’s website (BrenÄiÄ, 2012). It helps in reducing costs of searching applicants. In order to maximize the cost effectiveness of hiring previous applicants were considered on first priority basis. These previous applicants have already been evaluated however were not hired. Thus, giving these candidates first priority helps in saving the time of evaluation, thereby taking full advantage of the cost-effectiveness.
- Employment Exchanges: In Western states, employment counsels as well as private service exchanges are very famous who helps in finding out appropriate personnel. In addition, it also helps job hunter to get appointments. These interactions are helpful to acquire unskilled and semi-skilled employees (Shaffer, 2007).
- Colleges and Universities: Some organizations maintain a close contact with the universities, vocational and management institutes for hiring various job vacancies. They find it trouble-free to mold the new graduates and thus follow the principle of ‘Catch the Young‘.
- Recommendations: Applicants are introduced by associates and relatives. Many companies prefer this method since the background of the entrant is known.
Merits of external sources of recruitment:
- Different view points will be attracted.
- The employees hold wide variety of experience.
- The staff members develop the talent to transform old habits.
Performance appraisal process:
Performance management builds a harmonious and fruitful place of work which is favorable for both employees and employers. It increases motivation and self-esteem. The communication regarding what will be expected and what needs to be delivered helps in gaining job satisfaction. The person who performs his duties effectively and efficiently will be rewarded, and the person who is unable to meet the deadlines will be warned (Semakula-Katende, Schmikl and Pelser, 2013). Performance management process will be clearly illustrated in the diagram below:
Model of Performance Management Process (Kanji, 2002)
Ways to Optimize The Performance Appraisal Process
Set Goals Effectively
Goals are the foundation of this process. It is essential for managers to set goals based upon the goals of the organization, and then to communicate the same in order to make the alignment (Bouskila-Yam and Kluger, 2011). The departmental goals available to all managers makes sure that there is no overlap, and helps in knowing where they support other departments. Each manager shares the goals with his team members and identifies individual goals.Key job expectations and responsibilities act as the key rule for setting goals. Goals should address what will be expected, and how it can be achieved.
The framework used to write goals is the "SMART" goal:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable/Attainable
R - Results oriented/Realistic/Relevant
T – Time-bound
The goals which are understandable, specific, measurable and time-bound helps in tracking the progress. Some organizations have started the use of SMARTA or SMARTR in which A stands for aligned, and R stands for reward. The SMART framework gives clarity to employees who would be evaluated against these goals.
After setting established goals and communicating objectives, performance planning is started in which action plan guide is handed over to the employee so that they can successfully achieve goals. Planning is a collaborative process between the boss and the staff, in which some elements are non-negotiable. Start with the job description and categorize job expectations and then under each area determine long and short term goals along with an action plan, demonstrating how they would be achieved. Performance planning and feedback are crucial because they make the possible continuous improvement (Benson and Jordan, 2004).
Goal setting, planning, monitoring, feedback, and training is ongoing and supports the formation of the performance appraisal, thus supporting the processes of rewards, learning and development. Performance monitoring, training, and feedback should take place frequently so that necessary adjustments in planning could be done.
Goal tracking gives the opportunity to make available feedback from time to time, and then making necessary adjustments in planning, remove obstacles and prepare eventually for missing deadlines.
Gather Information from different Sources
Gathering information from various sources enhances objectivity and makes certain that all factors can be considered. In retail sector, most of the companies are using 360° feedback (Hosain, 2016). In this feedback is taken from peers, subordinate and managers along self-assessment toolkit. The response will be based upon certain skills or competencies, and the results will be evaluated against the personnel’s self-assessment. It increases self-awareness. Reporting is essential to assess the fairness/consistency of the procedure.
Document, Document, Document
Documentation is essential to support performance result, and observations needs to be written with the intention to share. Apart from this, the detail of positive and negative occurrence should be kept so that there is no doubt about the decision made (Murray, Woelfel and Bullock, 2005).
The review is basically the summary which includes job expectations, areas of contribution, goals, evaluation methods and the appraisal will be discussed with the personnel. It is helpful if one defines the purpose of meeting and provides an agenda and intimates about the time and place in advance. Both should prepare in advance, and there should be no interruptions when the discussion is going on. The manager should start with positive things first like achievements and continue the meeting with an approach to move ahead (Catapano, 2005). In the end, key findings should be summarized, and signatures of both should be there.
Rewards and Recognition
Now-a-days, organizations are connecting performance to compensation (Motivate and Reward: Performance Appraisal and Incentive Systems for Business Success, 2004). It is possible only if the performance appraisal processes is fair and equitable. Progress against key performance expectations needs to be documented as it serves the basis for a job properly done. One can do this in recognition events or in public recognitions.
In an organization, the process should be consistent as it inculcates the feeling of fairness and increases job satisfaction. If compensation is directly linked to performance then the process of assessment should be similar in all departments. Employees should know that individual in one department if identified as a top performer and given compensation, and then an employee working at the same level in a different department will be awarded similar rewards (Employee Performance Measurement and Performance Appraisal Policy in an Organisation, 2014).
Asses and Encourage Participation
Annual meetings are held in some of the retail stores in which the Key result areas of the employees are evaluated. The feedback of the meeting is recorded and then given to the individuals. There are few retail stores who do this exercise twice in a year whilst there are others who do it once in a year. Feedback is more important rather than the frequency (Kromrei, 2015). If the retail store is giving feedback in a constructive manner then there are chances of development of not only individuals but also of the retail store. The problem which comes out at the time of performance management should be addressed effective otherwise it is a futile exercise which has no meaning (Camardella, 2003). Therefore everyone should participate whole heartedly.
Conclusion & Recommendations:
The scenario in the Retail sector is changing due to the onset of the digital revolution. Therefore the practices adopted in the retail sector should be amended with the changing time. The internal recruitment practices should be more emphasized in order to best talent within the organization. If the need will not be met internally, then the external sources of hiring can be seen. Apart from this performance appraisal practice should be done from time to time so that the gaps will be identified and targets will be met within the stipulated time frame. Not only this, the process is fair and consistent. Training should be incorporated from time to time so that staff will be upgraded on new inventions in the industry. Few recommendations based on this are as follows:
Firstly, The organizations should make sure that individual and organizational objectives are balanced, explain these objectives to employees through the performance management process. These objectives need to be continuously reviewed from time to time.
Secondly, organizations should constantly review personnel’s development, making certain that it is a continuous process.
Lastly, performance management tool should be used as it helps in improving performance both at the individual and organizational performance. Therefore, it is advisable for retail organizations to adopt a performance management system.
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