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SO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT WORKING IN RETAIL! The retail industry in the 1960’s, 70’s and until the mid 80’s was a completely different storey when it came to talking of career prospects and financial rewards than the retail industry of today?

So where does one start and explain about employment in the retail industry? One has to start somewhere, so why not with the retail stores? In the smallish or village store they sell smaller quantities of products or services to the general public. Then there are businesses that operate as a retail outlet or megastore, who will typically buy goods directly from manufacturers or wholesale suppliers at a volume discount and will then mark them up in price for sale to end consumers. In this economical climate, retail jobs are incredibly popular right now; after all, you don’t ‘always’ need qualifications to get a foot in the door and there CAN be great opportunities for training and development. There are lots of different jobs that you can do in retail, from junior customer service roles right up to area manager, responsible for several key stores and if you are talented or lucky even become an owner of one! Do you have what it takes?

So, what retail job is available?

Depending on your interests, qualifications, experiences and skills there is a huge selection of jobs to choose from.

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Customer service assistant Customer service assistants are hired by lots of businesses from banks and airports to supermarkets and it's down to YOU to make sure the customer leaves with a good impression of the company you work for. No pressure, then! As an entry-level job, you won't need lots of qualifications, but if you do well then there should be lots of chances to be promoted. Fingers crossed! Sales assistant Sales assistants are at the frontline of this fastpaced industry and no two days are ever the same. Far away from the world of office desks and boring business meetings, expect to meet lots of different people every day... if you've got an outgoing personality, this is a good fit. So, what will I actually be doing? Is it all days filled with angry customers shouting at you down the phone? Actually, no! Your daily routine will vary depending on where you work and you could do anything from arranging shop displays to taking part in customer promotions and events. Of course, there is an aspect of dealing with customer complaints but it's not what this job is all about. The nitty gritty If you're after set hours in an office then a customer service assistant job may not be for you as many companies are open at weekends, evenings and even through the night. Ouch. The plus side to that is there are often part-time and flexible working options available so you can fit it easily into whatever else you have going on in your life. The good points... The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) says that the best thing about customer service roles is "Dealing with people and helping them with their needs and their problems." ...and the bad However, ICS also warns people of the negatives: "Not being provided with the necessary skills or the freedom with which to use your initiative to meet customers’ requirements and solve their problems can be an issue." Sales assistant job description

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Sales assistants can be found in a variety of retail venues and locations, from small retail stores on a High street to large superstores in shopping malls. The job requires a high level of customer interaction, meaning sales assistants should have good customer facing and communication skills. IMHO I will give you the job description of a sales assistant, including their responsibilities, hours of work and typical workplace environment. The typical role is not as straight forward as it seems, apart from selling, shop floor assistants are also responsible for the stocking and ordering of merchandise and the related administrative duties. If you are considering a career in this field then bear in mind that some (well most of them) retail outlets require staff to meet sales targets. If these targets are not met then their job may be on the line. A sales assistant’s job description, including their routine daily duties:  Greeting customers who enter the shop.  Be involved in stock control and management.  Assisting shoppers to find the goods and products they are looking for.  Being responsible for processing cash and card payments.  Stocking shelves with merchandise.  Answering queries from customers.  Reporting discrepancies and problems to the supervisor.  Giving advice and guidance on product selection to customers.  Balancing cash registers with receipts.  Dealing with customer refunds.  Keeping the store tidy and clean, this includes hovering and mopping.  Responsible dealing with customer complaints.  Working within established guidelines, particularly with brands.  Attaching price tags to merchandise on the shop floor.  Responsible for security within the store and being on the look out for shoplifters and fraudulent credit cards etc.  Receiving and storing the delivery of large amounts of stock  Keeping up to date with special promotions and putting up displays. The personal skills that is required for the job:  Having a friendly and engaging personality.  Comfortable working with members of the public.  Should have a confident manner.  Must be helpful and polite.  Assistants should be physically fit as they will be on their feet for most of the day and may be required to lift large amounts of stock.  You should have a comprehensive understanding of your area of sales i.e. retail, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, sports equipment etc.

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Able to work as part of a sales team. Knowledge of inventory techniques. Should be of a smart appearance and articulate.

This retail salesperson sample job description can assist in your creating a job application that will attract job candidates who are qualified for the job. Feel free to revise this job description to meet your specific job duties and job requirements.

Retail managers

Start by assisting a manager in running a store as a retail assistant manager and you could soon end up running your own store or even an entire area, covering a group of retail outlets. The pay CAN be good and you can either enter through a training scheme with qualifications or work your way up the career ladder with retail experience. This can progress to: Retail assistant manager  Store manager  Area manager job description

Merchandiser Merchandising is often seen as the more glamorous side of retail, be it in supermarkets, fashion stores or even the humbled Poundland! Why? Well, you are the person responsible for deciding which products to buy and how they are displayed. A merchandiser needs to know what’s new on the market, what the customers will like and which products will make a profit. It's high pressure, sure, but it is also shopping for a living - and how hard can that be? Merchandiser job description If you think of customer services as a dull job then think again. Customer service assistants are hired by lots of retail businesses from banks and airports to supermarkets and it's down to YOU to make sure the customer leaves with a good impression of the company you work for. So, what will I actually be doing? A merchandiser needs to know what’s new on the market, what the customers will like and which products will make a profit.

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It's not all glamour and shopping as a merchandiser and no two days are ever the same. Your typical daily tasks are likely to include:  Visiting suppliers and manufacturers  Analysing sales information  Negotiating prices with suppliers  Ordering goods  Talking to other departments  Helping with promotions and advertising campaigns  Producing sales projections What skills are Retail employers looking for? Retail is a popular industry, so it's imperative to find out what the in demand skills are, acquire these skills and give yourself a competitive advantage over your fellow applicants. Some roles will require a very specific set of skills. For instance, Visual Merchandisers will need to have a creative flair with an eye for three - dimensional design and the ability to translate design concepts into tangible displays that will woo potential customers. Buyers and Merchandisers need to be analytical, numerate and commercially astute. Whilst Store Managers need to be good all - rounder’s – sales people, team leaders, target driven and the ability to juggle a number of different tasks simultaneously. Luckily, most of the skills that are required for each position will be learnt on the job but, you may have already acquired some of them during your career or work placements. Regardless of whether you enter your career via the graduate or non - graduate route, the retail industry recognises a set of four key competencies that anyone serious about carving out a career for themselves in this sector will need.  Business Focus  Personal Effectiveness  Relationship Management  Critical Thinking These competencies include a range of typical skills that employers are looking for in applicants, such as:  Excellent communication and interpersonal skills  Good standard of IT and numeracy  Effective influencing and negotiation skills  Strong customer focus  Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines  Analysing and problem-solving skills  Commercial awareness  Flexibility

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Strong time-management skills Attention to detail Demonstrable leadership and management qualities

Above all else, employers are looking for people who can use their initiative to look for ways of improving the way things are done, are committed to their employer and are passionate about their sector whether it is fashion, food, electrical or cars. Not all retail jobs are based on the shop floor dealing with large crowds of messy shoppers; in fact some roles don’t involve any customer service at all. Sound good? I’m talking about jobs in a warehouse. Working behind the scenes and hidden away from the hectic shopping environment, their organisational skills play a vital part in the supply process. So, what will I actually be doing? Helping to co-ordinate everything, from initial storage to shop dispatches, and managing both people and the overall process, the warehouse manager is an organising machine. Helping to store a variety of products, your job is very hands-on and involves:  Overseeing the receipt and storage of incoming items  Processing orders and planning the dispatching of products  Monitoring space and tracking stock levels  Setting aside storage areas for new stock  Planning rotas  Meeting productivity targets  Maintaining computerised admin (often in spreadsheet form)  Maintaining automated storage and retrieval systems  Recruiting, disciplining and training staff  Ensuring security arrangements are in place  Scheduling equipment maintenance and replacing when required  Ensuring products are stocked correctly and safely (especially chemicals and food that could be pretty dangerous) You’ll be present throughout the storage and supply process, working with clients, suppliers, quality controllers, and transport companies every step of the way to ensure nothing goes wrong.

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Things You Learn At a Retail Job 1. Folding shirts: never ends. There is some present in mid-size that is at its most when you have just stacking them by size, and enough to walk away for them, the perfect little tops, ready to be daintily discerning shopper to find their destroyed by the rabid horde them with their frothy spit pirate digging for buried born with some innate shirt stacks and destroy that you are left second you walk back display table. They are

The job that sort of pheromone retail store shirts, one deliciously potent finished perfectly finally feel secure thirty seconds. All of flapjack-esque stack of thumbed through by a size, are soon to be of semi-human creatures, flecking as they tear through your pile with the urgency of a treasure. Retail shoppers are longing to find these them with such vigour considering suicide the to your once-perfect cruel.

2. People steal anything and no one cares. Though there will always be the facade of training employees to be vigilant and even aggressive towards shoplifting, it is an inevitable part of the retail world, and you totally stop caring. You’ll walk into a dressing room and see a bunch of plucked off security tags, or go into an electronics section to see a conspicuously empty video games section, and you just kind of sigh and walk away. The thing is, if you were to actually try to stop people who are in the process of stealing from your store — and a huge amount of them are organized and do this routinely to resell the stuff, this is their livelihood — things are not going to end well for you. A worker I knew at a clothing store once got a knife pulled on her when she chased down a guy stealing a bunch of shirts. Her job was not worth a stab to the kidneys, and neither is yours. You are not paid to be a cop, and you quickly come to understand that. 3. Listening to the same song every hour, on the hour, is the cruellest punishment conceivable. Most of the bigger chain retail stores have enormous music contracts that give them access to a certain number of poppy, easy-to-enjoy music to rotate at hour-long intervals from open to close, for at least three or so months at a time. Do you enjoy that Katy Perry or Terry Tinsel songs? Get ready to enjoy them twenty times a day, every day, until you long to ram your head into the cash register repeatedly every time you hear the opening notes.

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4. The customer is always right, which is the worst thing ever. There’s going to come a point where someone is going to put an item in front of you that has clearly been used within an inch of its life and they’re going to insist on trying to return it and pretend like they’ve never touched it and that you should take it back and why aren’t you taking it back — I’m sorry Ma’am but we have a policy — I’d like to speak to your manager where is your manager get your manager right now. You have lost the ability to care, and just want to give this horrendous lady her stupid refund because it’s not like it’s your money anyway and you would like her to evacuate the premises as soon as humanly possible. But heven forbid your manager should walk by at this moment, because regardless of the verbal abuse that’s being slung at you over a 5 pounds refund, you’re going to be the one getting torn into and treated like a monkey wearing a nametag. “The Customer Is Always Right”: battle cry of the defeated. (Seems that only in the Budget Airline Industry “The Customer Is NOT Always Right!) 5. You can never underestimate how cheap people are. If something is marked at a certain price — even if it was mistakenly put above that price marker by a lazy shopper who didn’t want to put their item back in its proper place — your customer is going to all but reach over and rip out your oesophagus before they let you charge them the actual price. People will stand for an hour at your register, screaming back and forth some nonsense about a coupon or “I saw this price on the shelf” or whatever other horrendous reason they have deemed worthy of screaming at you for. And you are usually powerless, because the price scans the way it scans, and you can’t fix it, so you just kind of stand there like some modern-day Christ figure and absorb their wrath until they eventually leave in a huff, talking about how they’ll never shop here again. You will then think, “Right, that’s a tragedy.” 6. Inventory is the worst part of being alive. Whatever you’re thinking of, it’s worse than that. Much, much worse. 7. When your store closes, everyone needs to GTFO. There is going to come that moment when, after staring relentlessly at the clock for the past hour, you are finally able to close up and get out of there. But wait, no, there is some useless person meandering around the displays, pretending like they are going to buy something, and being wilfully oblivious to the fact that you’ve already closed the front door to new customers and are standing next to them, staring at them, willing them to leave with your eyeballs. It is now your job to make them feel as awkward and unwelcome as possible until they get the message. I recommend following them around and adjusting things behind them until they can’t even make eye contact with you.

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8. People set off small explosives in dressing rooms. Or, at least, they must, given the state they are in 90 percent of the time upon someone leaving one. People apparently just try something on, decide it’s not for them, and then crumple it up and throw it on the floor like a scrap piece of paper. Hangers are scattered by the mirror, dresses are thrown over the chair, pants are hanging by their belt loops off a hanger hook — it’s like a war zone. You will come to find that the person who actually gathers all of their clothes, properly hangs them back up, and gives them back to you with a small “Thank you” is essentially a modern-day Gandhi. Otherwise, most people will just treat you like you are some combination of their mother and an indentured servant, only there to pick up after them and relieve them of the pressure of having basic human decency. 9. You will be forced to ask people if they need help, and then punished for doing so. One part of working in retail — especially more “upscale” retail — is that you’re expected to ask everyone at one point or another if they need any help with, I don’t know, looking at shirts or something. You are doing your job and gently asking them if you can do something to assist them — no big deal! The customer could easily just say, “No, thank you,” and to be fair, some of them do. But many of them will take this opportunity to turn on you and hiss about how they’re doing JUST FINE THANK YOU as they shuffle away from you like you were about to mace them. People will not hesitate to let you know how much your simple question is ruining their shopping experience, their day, and their entire life. If you’re interested in quitting, I recommend doing the whole retail world a favour and responding to such rude customers with “I did not even give a monkeys about helping you anyway you bridge troll.” Or something of the like? 10. When you get a call between 06:00 and 07:00 AM on your day off, you throw the phone across the room. You throw it across the room, then you go out back and dig a very large hole, then you bury the broken remains of that phone, then you napalm the entire backyard, then you have your whole house bulldozed, then you destroy your phone service provider’s headquarters. You are not going into work today. They are not going to get you. Someone once said “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” And in my 40 years plus of working life in various industries I have definitely come to the conclusion that an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory and theory is

splendid - but until theory is put into practice, it is valueless.

Most people have proper nightmares about being chased by monsters or falling out of an airplane or falling overboard on a ship and drowning. I have nightmares about working in retail. These nightmares make me long for the good old days of my childhood when I dreamed of werewolves, plummeting from a cliff or aliens bursting out of my chest. But in

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my current nightmares, it's always December. There's a framework of twinkling red and green lights to illuminate the horror. Just the memory of these nightmares is enough to get my heart pounding and my stomach acid churning. How I managed to get through various years in retail alive and in nearly one piece, I'll never know. Now, every time I pass by a Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s I think, "There, but for the grace of someone..." I've survived years of being homeless and I can honestly say that I'd rather be homeless than go back to working retail at Christmastime. Learning the Hard Way You can learn incredible skills in retail, whether you are behind the cash register or stocking a shelf. You learn the skills all employers look for -- showing up on time, prioritizing, following a dress code and keeping a fake smile plastered to your face. You also learn to be polite, to have a tough skin, and to keep your revenge fantasies completely to yourself. You also learn how to recognize a shoplifter ... and then realize that retail security personnel are never armed, unlike a lot of the shoplifters. I also experienced the priceless moment of a customer threatening to come back with a machine gun or chainsaw and mow everyone in the store down, starting with me. This was all because we were out of stock of a Managers Special that was on sale. I just blinked, nodded and said, "What an interesting mental picture that would make." That was already back in the winters of the sixties and today I still wonder if that fellow ever did go postal with a gun or chainsaw on one of the many mall or fast-food restaurant shootups that have happened since. Trail By Fire Admittedly, I didn't like my various retail years, either behind a cash register or working the graveyard night replenishment crew. I did not like having to put up with haphazard schedules, rude customers and idiotic supervisors. It was especially hard when I had two college degrees, one university merit but still could not find a better job than retail. In ancient societies, the test of adulthood for a young man or woman of the tribe was to go out in the wilderness alone and do something incredibly dangerous like hit a lion with a stick or get bit by a rattlesnake. When the child returned, they had permanently put away their childish ways and were treated as adults from then on. This tradition has never passed. Only now, we send our teenagers off to survive the wilderness of Christmas season retail jobs. If you can survive retail, especially at Christmas, then you can survive almost anything.

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Now I am going to tell you the REAL reason why Retail Sucks... I don't care what you do in retail; you are working much harder and longer for less pay than any other industry on this planet. I'm sorry but it's painfully true. The hard truth is than all Retail related jobs just SUCK when it comes to pay. They will burn you out and milk you dry if you let them. In retail you will notice right away that you cannot even SIT DOWN to do work that any normal person would sit down to do. In retail, they force you to stand for 10 plus hours a day for some insane reason. In Retail you are expected to work insane hours and you will very often be asked to work through your lunch break. If you "move up" in retail and become a supervisor or assistant manager then you will find yourself working 50/60 plus hours a week on a regular basis and you'll also find that no matter how hard you work to get ahead on the workload, the workload will be adjusted higher so you'll never reach a resting point. If you bust your backside and process 50 boxes of freight one day; well; you just set the new STANDARD; they expect you to achieve each and every day after that new record you just set. You just shot yourself in the foot because NOW they will expect 55 boxes a day... If you should reach that level by some miracle, then they expect 60 boxes a day... And so it escalates until you have a heart attack… Let's say you get a busy day and your sales hit UK£10,000 a day for the store setting a new sales level for that particular day of the year. Well, from now on they will expect UK£10,000 on every day afterwards and failure to EXCEED this sales goal means you are NOT doing your job well enough... You see where I'm going with this... No matter what you achieve, you’re just setting the bar higher and making your life harder and harder. Many smart retail employees realize that the

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Harder you work, the Harder you make your job. Or as I have already mentioned - In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not. I have worked in between in various retail jobs over many years, but I got smart and realized how I was being USED by the retail industry. I found another job and my starting pay was much higher than any retail starting position. The workload at my new job is 1/10 the workload I had to do in retail and I can actually SIT DOWN at my job. Retail forces everyone to STAND all day for some insane reason. The biggest difference however is that I am now treated with RESPECT by my managers and even the customers who frequent our business. All I can say is GET OUT OF RETAIL NOW (2013 onwards) because working retail is a black hole that will suck you in and the further in you go; the harder it will be to escape while you still have a chance at sanity. Recently I decided in my need for extra cash to take a side job in retail. I figured the position would be a fun one; I would get to work with friends, chat up customers and obtain a heavy discount at one of my favourite stores. And for the first few weeks this is exactly what it was. The work wasn’t hard, I got to be social and I eventually even bought discounted goods. What I didn’t expect, but quickly remembered from my college years, was what we all know - Retail Sucks. But why does it suck? It doesn’t just suck because the work is boring, the pay is low or the management are frequently unpleasant, nasty and ghastly; it sucks because its method is essentially flawed. Consider the hierarchy for a moment. The majority of retail, the positions we described as containing the most suck, are sales. These underlings range from pants folders to customer service reps but the bottom line is they all have quota and typically, very particular instructions. Above them are managers. These middlemen and women were chosen for their ability to follow these instructions, and in turn make quota. Above them, and I’m hugely oversimplifying here, are the corporate decision makers. These people are the ones who come up with the quota, concepts and rules everyone else will follow. Now, take a minute to note these people either come from backgrounds in these types of decisions or have climbed their way from the lower levels of the business for the last twenty plus years. So, who is actually facing the customer? Well, the most economical option of course—sales— the lowest paid due to the least amount of training and easy replace-ability. And how does corporate make up for this lack of knowledge for every customer-facing rep? They give them tag lines, uniforms and scripts to read from. So each employee looks and sounds the same.

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This is supposed to be a comfort to the customer, like going into every McDonald’s and getting the same Big Mac. On some level this is a success. People like dependability, but is that really what they’re getting? Let’s take a deeper look. Whenever anyone starts in sales they suck. Overtime, one of two things happens: they quit/get fired or they get it. They learn how to connect with customers and actually meet and eventually excel past their quota. Then they quit or get moved up. So basically the exact moment a rep truly understands sales, they’re removed from where the company needs them most. They get moved to administration or management, where they are told to tell others what they’ve learned while taking directions from upstairs. There is no room for innovation. Only until you’ve put a lifetime in with a company are you able to actually change the rules and by then your customer experience is most likely outdated. This model has been around for a few generations for a reason. It made sense for what resources were available. Our governments and educational institutions were run in the same hierarchal system. Experts led the masses who helped the customer. This is changing. During the industrial era many manufacturing jobs became obsolete. The ones that didn’t we shipped to China, India, Malaysia, etc. Now we’re in the middle of doing the same with customer service and even occasionally sales. And some people are getting upset about that: they shouldn’t be. We are entering a new digital era where, not unlike the industrial age, more of the process is automated. Only now it isn’t just the production process, it’s also the selling. And customer service is selling. Look at Best Buy, a multinational consumer electronics corporation in the USA. In 2001, Best Buy was named “Speciality Retailer of the Decade” by Discount Store News. In 2004, Forbes magazine named them “Company of the Year”, and in 2006 even made their List of Most Admired Companies. This was a company that had the in-store retail experience down. They had massive store fronts that housed hundreds of big screen TVs and electronic devices. And customer service was important to them. They are known for having a greater positioned at the door of every store to make sure you find everything you need. In 2011 however, things changed. Best Buy saw its revenue slide to US$651 million on revenue of US$16.26 billion. The following year they closed at least fifty stores and started to shift to, wait for it, Best Buy Mobile stores.

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This particular business marks a very specific shift in the marketplace. If you were to look at book sales you would have seen it for the last decade as Borders and Barnes & Nobles went down like dominoes. What was happening was customers were coming into Best Buy, testing the products, gathering knowledge about them and going back home and purchasing them online at some 30% cheaper. Heresy! So, you’re saying they’d prefer to buy from a website than a person? Yes. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. You can’t indoctrinate someone for National Minimum Wage and expect them to give a genuine piece of themselves to a job that requires connection. And customers know this. In fact, many times it’s even uncomfortable to watch someone degrade themselves to this, and by now we’ve gotten REAL comfortable with the internet.

We trust Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia and Apple more than we probably trust our local grocery store. The structure that uses in-store people for sales is no longer valued. That isn’t to say that we won’t have customer service—but these people will be highly skilled, well-paid and use their own creative personality across tools to reach larger audiences. A great example of one of these positions is a community manager. I know when I tweet a complaint to some Urban Outfitters or Supermarket, I’ll get a carefully crafted response from someone that matters. Not a replaceable face at a storefront who is working for National Minimum Wage an hour. Through the internet, connectivity and widely available information has allowed thousands of jobs to be reduced to hundreds. For some people the question is daunting: Does this mean there will be layoffs? Yes, but I prefer the word liberations, because less people indoctrinated means more people creatively thinking, and more people creatively thinking means more industry leaders, increased market competition and better careers that don’t suck.

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The customer service industry or should I say the retail industry sucks. I totally feel for everyone that is in that industry. First of all the pay is not much. You barely scrape by. A lot of people are not kind, not caring and definitely fake as make-up. You have to talk in a manner that is pleasing and also reach the goals that your "store" requires. Like whoever the heck is in corporate is dumb as hell you can't reach the same damn goal every damn day. For instance, your co-workers are mean, the customer is a nasty sod, and your shop floor manager is lazy. Target are required so it is going to be a hard long day. Things go wrong customer is unhappy, but you are unable to use your own initiative with the customer, you cannot find the shop floor supervisor to get authorization and the customer get even more ratty. BUT you can not say all of this, you have to SUCK it up and say thank you and have a nice day. Some of these people don't even hand the cash in your hand they just put the money on the table and want YOU to hand their change back in their hand! LIKE WHO ARE YOU? You are a nobody! And you cannot even advice “Don't shop if you’re not going to conversant, stay your home and order online and be a Debbie Downer at home…... Then you get your manager or supervisor, now depending on how they got the position, this person is lazy. They expect something but can not even get it. For instance they wanted to reach a percentage goal of blah blah on blah blah. They EXPECT you to get it, but are dumb founded on giving you an example on how to get it. The WHOLE CREDIT CARD or card frenzy is something too. Like NOT EVERYONE IS TRYING TO CARRY all those store cards and keep track of this phenomena. It’s fine if it offers great benefits, but all you can do is inform and ask, not WHY YOU DON'T WANT IT, ITS GOOD I AM JUST GOING TO GO AHEAD AND HELP YOU SAVE. Like no; if they don't want it, they don't want it. There is LITTLE to no COMMUNICATION, no game, no encouragement, and no nothing. You’re going to work looking stupid as hell with a lot of things they EXPECT you to get down. It is like your Driver’s License, when you got it and have been driving for a couple years it differ when you was getting your license or being taught. This takes time to perfect. You are not going to get it down in one day. If it is teamwork, then there should be team players! How many times have you thought - Not one do all and all do nothing or anything! I am so confused on what I want to do in life, there is a con to everything... I have been so drained out that I actually just rather stay home, but have got to pay bills. Hopefully life gets better and I can find something where I am happy doing it. DO NOT LET ME GET STARTED ON THE SCHEDULING! Whoever does scheduling for the hours are truly dumb? Especially for a big store, like the person closing the store and then opening the following day, they are not going to have the same energy. We don't do the

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exact same thing everyday, and that what bugs me when they expect the same goal; a ridiculous one at that too. What if you live far from the store? Life issues?... Many senior executives attended annual ‘Great Place to Work Conference’ that are staged around the world at different locations to focus on the art and science of creating workplace engagement, job satisfaction, and happy employees. Just reading that sentence causes involuntary eye-rolling from plenty of leaders in the retail industry who either don't think it's necessary or don't think it's possible for a retail environment to be a "great" place to work. There's plenty of evidence to support the eye-rolling leaders in their belief that happiness, engagement, and satisfaction may not be possible to attain in a retail workplace these days. Not only are retail employees participating in walkouts and mini-strikes in major cities, but also a 2013 survey conducted by Manpower Group revealed that 74% of the survey participants were occasionally or often using their computer to look for a new job while on the clock at their current job. That's not exactly a marker for job satisfaction. Another survey from CareerBliss.com produced a "50 Happiest Companies for 2013" ranking list, based on more than 500,000 employee-written reviews. Of the 50 companies on that "Happy" list, the only companies that have even a remote connection to the retail industry are companies that have retailing as a significant, but not primary, part of their business like Apple, Dell, Ford, and Google. Where are all the companies whose primary business is just retailing? You can find those retail companies filling up the ‘Worst Retail Companies to Work For’ List instead. And not surprisingly, the retail companies that employees rate as being the "worst" places to work are also some of the retail companies that are floundering in the last few years - Radio Shack, Sears/Kmart, Rite Aid, GameStop, HMV, Comet, JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Game, Borders, Barratts, Alexon, T J Hughes, Jane Norman, Habitat, Focus DIY, Floors-2-Go, the Officers Club, Oddbins, Ethel Austin, Faith Shoes, Adams Childrenswear, Thirst Quench, Stylo, Mosaic, Principle, Sofa Workshop, Allied Carpets, Viyella, Dewhurst, Woolworth, MFI, Zavvi/Virgin Megastore, just to name a few. Could it be that there is a correlation between happy employees and retail sales performance? That's a cutting edge managerial hypothesis? Retail experts often get lost in a chicken-egg debate about whether unhappy employees are at the root cause of their struggles, or whether, after the company started struggling and started demanding more and caring less that its employees became unhappy. "Both" is almost always the answer to that discussion. But even if it's one or the other, the important point is that there IS a connection between happy employees and company performance. The awareness that happy employees produce happy results is not helpful to the retail leaders who have the chronic conditions of low pay and limited advancement working against them. Additionally, the retail industry is often viewed as having the "jobs of last resort" for those who can't find work in their own field. There are plenty of those wrongly-employed people working in the retail industry right now.

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Is it possible for employees who are underemployed and uninterested in a long-term retail career to still be happy in a retail workplace? "Especially great question," was the response from Scott Crabtree, a cognitive scientist who started the Happy Brain Science consultancy based in Portland, Oregon. "Yes, some in retail may not be working at their 'calling.' But happiness is largely social. So retail employees can choose to have more happiness by focusing completely on every social interaction they have each day," Crabtree says. "They can go out of their way to be kind to every person they deal with, spreading happiness and building their own happiness with each interaction." That may sound like a page out of the Touchy Feely Management 101 book, but an important premise behind Crabtree's work is the scientifically proven fact that real happiness is a function of the brain and resides with the individual. In other words, there is not a cause and effect relationship between work conditions and happiness. Rather, as Abraham Lincoln has been quoted as saying, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." Anybody who's been a frontline retail manger for more than a week knows this to be true. Some employees take their happiness with them wherever they go, and other employees (seemingly a much larger number of them) take their miserable-ness with them wherever they go. More than one retail leader is right now mentally crafting an e-mail to store-based employees which opens with that Lincoln quote and concludes with a strongly worded mandate about bringing your happy brain along with your name tag and corporate ID when you come to work every day. If only it was that simple. Unfortunately happiness in the workplace can't be mandated, and it can't be bought either. Many retail workplaces try to use some kind of incentives or perks to keep employees happy, only to find that workplace bribery only creates temporary results for only as long as the bribery is in force and is still exciting. "Unfortunately incentives usually backfire," "The research described in Dan Pink's book 'Drive' shows that, at least in the short-term, if/then incentives usually hurt performance. The perks that will make a lasting difference in employee happiness are the ones that keep on giving: a fun break room that brings employees together, childcare that helps working parents be better parents, etc." (These perks refer back to the premise that happiness is largely social.) My own experience in both frontline and corporate workplaces has repeatedly shown me that pay, benefits, and perks are definitely not the creators of happiness. Some of the most professionally dissatisfied and personally unhappy people I have ever encountered were also voluntarily wearing the biggest, shiniest pair of golden handcuffs issued with every salary check, bonus, and 401k contribution.

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Specifically focusing on the retail frontline, of all the "My Worst Retail Job" stories that are shared on many website by retail employees working for all different types of retail companies, very few of them mentions pay. Low pay might be a dissatisfier, but low care, low appreciation, and low respect are the workplace unhappiness deal breakers. The notion that true long-term happiness can't be bought is also in alignment with another 2013 report from i-Opener Institute called "Happiness at Work - Maximising your Psychological Capital for Success." Based on a survey of 100,000 employees, this report found that Generation Y employees are more motivated by job fulfilment than by pay. The Generation Y employees surveyed clearly revealed that a belief in the company's mission and a strong sense of pride for their work would make them more likely to stay longer and be happier in their jobs. And on the flip side, these same Generation Y definitively communicated that better pay alone would not motivate them to stick around in the absence of pride and purpose. The disconnect that many retail leaders have with these survey results is the absence of a company mission beyond "selling more stuff so that executives and stockholders get richer." My own informal studies with employees at all levels in all industries has revealed that there is no "Generation" of employees who are motivated by making executives and stockholders richer, except for those who have an assigned seat in the corporate boardroom, of course. So if happiness can't be mandated, and happiness can't be bribed, and retail mission statements are uninspiring, and happiness is a product of each individual's brain, it doesn't seem like there's much that a retail manager can do to create a happy workplace. This is both a relief and vindication for many retail frontline managers who hide behind the mantra, "You can't MAKE people ‘BE’ happy." That is a true statement if you view "managing" and "forcing" to be the same thing. But for those who view "managing" and "leading" to be the same thing, there are an infinite number of ways that managers can influence employees towards more happiness. If the leader sneezes, the team catches a cold, if leaders and managers are happy, and they role model happiness-boosting actions, their teams will be happier as well. But that, of course requires that the retail leader knows how to take responsibility for their own happiness, and that they also know how to teach influence, lead, and coach others to do the same. Which takes us back to the ‘Great Places to Work Conference’ and what senior leaders were doing there? Even in a tight job market, approximately 2 million workers each month are leaving their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Managers with a plentymore-where-they-came-from-attitude are forgetting that the employees who get hired by

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other companies are usually the best ones, and the employees that stick around the longest are the ones who can't get hired into a better position. This is unfortunately the way things go unless, of course, you have a happy workplace which seems to be both the first cause and last word for most challenges in the retail workplace today. Where a growing number of retail workers stand on the National Minimum Wage hike is not complacently behind a cash register wearing their company-issued polyester garb. Instead, where retail and restaurant workers are standing on the issue of increased National Minimum Wages is on the sidewalks of all cities and towns - outside of the front door of their retail employer, with matching t-shirts and ponchos, holding protest signs. Unfortunately, where frontline workers have chosen to take a stand is on a picket line far beyond any President or Prime Minister’s proposed National Minimum Wage line in the sand that lawmakers are unwilling to approach. Retail workers who want to make sure that lawmakers know exactly where they stand on the National Minimum Wage issue are not waiting for a Gallup Poll or Harris Survey to ask them. The sad truth what really sucks in the Retail Business today is the introduction of “National Minimum Wage (UK£6.31)”, and I am not talking about a ‘living wage (UK£7.65)! Unfortunately most companies today pay new entremets only a ‘National Minimum Wage’, the price structure rate for 2013 being:a) Adults get UK£6.31 an hour b) 18-20 year olds get UK£5.03 an hour c) 16-17 year olds get UK£3.72 an hour d) Apprentices get UK£2.68 an hour Now a question I have asked many times and no one has been able give me a satisfactory answer: - When does the cost of living (food, rent, vehicle cost, poll tax, council tax, clothing etc.) for a Apprentice, 16-17 year old, 18-20 year old, an adult from 21 onwards, or even an OAP (over 65 years old) differ in cost? So why is there a variation of National Minimum Wages? And the argument I have been told so many times – The younger people are most likely living at home (with their parents) is in my book a load of codswallop. I have known colleagues, associates and acquaintances verging 60 plus still living at home, as I do a few OAP’s that still live with their parents! Now the next time you walk around your megastore (all of them) take a good hard look at who is working the shop floor?.... Why is the customer service (asking for advice) so poor?...

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If you request a product and/or a question about a product or service, usually it is unanswered; why is it necessary for the person you asked to pass you onto someone in authority?..... You guessed it. The majority of these people on the shop floor are the under 20 year olds, school leavers, work placement etc. The sad truth is, the budgets set by these mega companies are all based on profit and greed, so they employ the majority of employees on the lowest wage rates, and short contract for peak moments anyone with experience getting the National Minimum Wage. Not much motivation for an experienced worker knowing he will not be getting much extra work, because they give this to someone who is at the lowest wage scale. Following an organized retail and restaurant worker walkout staged in New York City, employees from an estimated 30 different retail companies in more than 100 locations in Chicago staged their own wages walkout week. It is only a short matter of time, this will happen in the U.K. Chicago Macy's hourly employees joined forces with Chicago Sears and Victoria's Secret employees. Chicago McDonald's employees walked shoulder-to-shoulder with Chicago Dunkin' Donuts and Subway employees. Altogether it's estimated that employees from 100 different locations of 30 different retail and restaurant companies participated in Chicago retail wages walkout and mini-strike event. Retail employees were not shy about expressing their job dissatisfaction in Chi-town. What the retail and restaurant protesters want is a LIVING wage, which is more than double what the current National Minimum Wage is. So it's unlikely that retail and restaurant workers are going to get the pay that they want any time soon, and it's equally unlikely that they're going to be satisfied with anything less. What's a manager to do in a retail or restaurant environment where employees feel chronically overworked and significantly underpaid? My own experience had taught me to be true as well. That is, that one leader has the power to greatly affect many employees either positively or negatively, depending on how that managerial power is used or abused. Remember back in the 60’s and 70’s retail stores issued their employees FULL company uniforms, which included more shirts/blouses, trousers/skirt, shoes and even stockings for their females. M&S (among a few other companies) even offered their female staff a bimonthly ‘hair-do’! Look at the retail business today; they only give a National Minimum Wage, issue ONE logo labelled sweater, if one is lucky maybe a sweater or fleece, because they save on heating the

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store, but expect you to provide (in company brand colours) your own trousers/skirt, shoes etc. To make things worse, they contract you on a four or five days, with three to four hour shift per day pattern and expect employees to be smart? Then the managers are annoyed when employees are ill. Okay, I see many employees are scroungers and/or play truant because their moral on the company tactics are rated zero. But where the whole media impregnate the population of the increase of illnesses due to various ‘indescribable named’ virus! And what do these companies do? Only give shared PPE!..... My only analysis is - if a virus can be spread by a sneeze or a hand shake, then SHARED PPE is full of spreadable viruses etc. So IMHO before management start to call their employees “Wimps” try looking at the cause which causes so many sick days?..... Do I believe The Power of One can make a difference in a retail environment where employees feel chronically overworked and underpaid? Unquestionably! In addition to feeling overworked and underpaid, these employees will almost certainly feel underappreciated and under respected. Changing these last two things and listening to employee complaints and suggestions can make a huge difference. Retail employees recognize these efforts, and it can make a huge difference in their satisfaction and motivation.

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What are the motivation strategies that I have found to be effective for managers in a retail environment? In order to motivate employees the first thing you need to do is to eliminate the demotivators. Most of these come in the form of bad boss behaviours - the unappreciative, dishonest, lousy-listening, crummy-communicating type of behaviours. As an example let’s take a bakery manager named Victor. Victor was unable to control his anger. He was known to impulsively snap at individual employees over a trivial offense, like forgetting to place the company's sticker on a box of pastries to go. When Victor was advised that his communications were too abrasive, he said he had no time for sensitive employees who couldn't handle a little man-to-man feedback. The damage Victor could do in one minute of fuming could cause his entire staff to huddle in the back room in fear while bakery guests were waiting to be served at the counter. For change to occur with de-motivating managers there has to be an acknowledgement that a quirky and damaging behaviour exists. For some this can be as painful as a twelve-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, where the first step is admitting that you have a problem, or in this case, admitting that you The bakery manager) ARE the problem. After the workplace de-motivators are removed, then what?  A Power of One boss appeals to intrinsic motivators. Some employees are motivated by contests because they like winning. Some employees like participating in important projects because they find it motivating to achieve. Some employees are motivated when they work with people they enjoy or admire. How do you know which employee will respond to different types of motivation?  That's easy. Try things out like: run a contest and see who is trying to win. Ask who wants to participate on an important project. Ask if anyone wants to work the register with Sarah, or switch to the night shift with Sam. Bosses can also take the time to acknowledge little things. For example; delaying a break to take care of a customer; giving extra good service; tidying up without being asked, etc. Most employees have told me that their boss has never thanked them or acknowledged anything they have done that they thought deserved a little thank you. Beyond just the daily needs for their team to do a good job, how can a retail manager use motivation to prevent a mutiny like the New York and Chicago walkouts?  To avoid a mutiny, retail managers need to create a work environment that is superior to others. This is an easy thing - just by treating employees like they would like to be treated - with respect. Managers can address little things that irritate employees. It is very flattering and motivating to employees when the boss listens to them. I can

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guarantee that in a retail environment there are plenty of opportunities to remove irritations and show the employees that the boss is listening. What can managers in other cities learn from the Chicago and New York retail employee walkouts, and what can they do if they see signs of mutiny in their own retail environment?  When a manager sees that something is wrong in the workplace, the first thing they should do is look in the mirror. Most problems in the workplace are caused by conflict that has occurred due to a manger's inattention to details, including not being in tune to employees who are dissatisfied for any number of reasons. Instead of seeking an answer by pointing the finger at a troublesome or non-productive employee, managers should ask themselves, 'What is the cause of these troubles?' If we leave aside the low pay issue, the causes of employee dissatisfaction almost certainly will be things that a Power of One boss can change and remedy. The above three examples are held true, I once worked at a World Resort where the expectations of the frontline worker were high and the pay in exchange was low. Even though tens of thousands of employees were working for the same low wages, the motivation, performance, and morale levels in their work environments were definitely not the same. What made the difference every time was the quality of frontline managers and team leaders who either used their "power of one" for elevation or destruction of workplace engagement. Not all employees can be motivated in the absence of the pay that they consider to be their "minimum." But not all employee dissatisfaction can be eliminated with an increase in pay either. The best that frontline retail managers can do is to create the highest level of employee satisfaction possible and support their employees on the frontline in achieving some kind of daily successes. Workplace engagement may not completely mitigate the National Minimum Wage issue, but it will keep the best frontline workers reporting to your workplace. When you've got the best retail or restaurant workplace in town and your employees know it, they won't want to deal with the alternatives waiting for them if they walkout for good. This is about common sense. People should be nice to each other, be honest, be restrained, be professional. And yet............ And yet……….. the behaviour of many retail managers is atrocious. The section that now follows come from personal experience or from the experience from associates, acquaintances and colleagues

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I can try to come up with reasons for these behaviours. Most retail managers learn their trade on the job without formal leadership training. Most retail managers are not appropriately compensated for the time they put in and stress they endure. Okay, let's stop making excuses. A manager must have credibility to do a competent job. Credibility extends beyond product information or the ability to build an end cap in 10 minutes or less. It is hinged upon how a manager is judged (yes, judged) as a person and leader by the people he or she is charged with leading. The goal here is to shed some light on behaviours and traits that will destroy credibility. Lies Lying reduces morale, looses credibility, and creates a toxic system of communication. A manager that lies frequently will end up with a staff of liars. I've noticed that managers use lying to motivate through fear or put off their responsibilities. One poor technique I've encountered in several retail environments is the "visit" lie. In order to motivate employees, managers will tell them that an executive visit is eminent. If everything on the work list is not done, trouble will result! This is a trick used to create a management style of fear. Another trick I've seen is during job interviews. Managers will lie about a policy, like the mandatory background check that will tell them everything about the candidate's past. This is used to discover dirty secrets. Some candidates will see this technique for what it is. If hired, the manager will have an employee that already has no trust. Blame There is a difference to attributing a problem to the cause and shifting blame. A retail manager is responsible for everything under his/her roof. Usually blame can be placed squarely on the manager for poor communication, lack of discipline, no motivation (other than toxic motivations), and poor follow-up. To dodge this responsibility, the manager creates a false trail of warnings and communication. I've heard this a hundred times: "I don't know why he screwed this up, I've told him a hundred times how to do it." Odds are the manager didn't. Instead, he or she griped and complained and got the result for which he or she must take responsibility. One big-box retailer for which I worked had a team of department supervisors that consistently blamed a night-shift supervisor for their woes. This late-night supervisor wasn't around for impromptu management meetings and therefore couldn't defend himself.

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The general manager fell for this blame. When the blame became to much the GM felt it was time to confront the night-shift supervisor. The conversation quickly became hostile because the supervisor was insulted by charges against him. After the GM saw for himself what the night-shift crew was actually doing (working very hard, working very competently) he made sure to include the night-shift supervisor in all meetings. He also put all of the other supervisors under a magnifying lens. They had lost credibility with the GM and their jobs got harder. The associates found out what happened and the supervisors lost the respect of the people they needed most. Gossip Gossiping can be a fun way to share information about others and while away some time. But more often, "it is used as a form of passive aggression, as a tool to isolate and harm others" This is particularly true when managers partake of gossiping. I've been devastated when I heard a manager launch into a gossip session about an associate. If the manager is talking so harshly about that other person, what is he/she saying about me? I've heard managers’ call associates names like "slut" and "fag" while telling some tasteless story about an associate. Retail managers are supposed to be leaders. How can they maintain credibility if they mean their wards harm? I've seen associates forced out of their jobs because of gossip. I've also witness straight-out hostility because of gossip. Both because of what the manager had said. Managers should never stoop to inappropriate behaviours’. Suggestive Language This is the new millennium. Everyone should know by now what inappropriate behaviour is. So I won't belabour this point much. I will say that managers should never have such low character as to use suggestive language or other suggestive communication. Some managers still do. Stop it. Martyr This is one of the most annoying behaviour traits that I see in retail managers. It annoyed me 40 years ago; it annoys me now. I even annoy myself because I've done it.

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Martyring oneself emotionally is to take on a "poor me" attitude. A manager who martyrs his or herself constantly tells the associates how horrible the job is, how long the hours are, how low the pay is, and how mean the executives are. Martyr managers don't stop at business. They have to tell everyone how awful their spouse is, how bratty the kids are, how the parents are so mad because they have to work another holiday and can't go to a family function. Yes, I've done this in mid-career. Retail management can suck. I was told it could suck. I was told that I would work awful hours and every holiday. But for a half-decade I felt sorry for myself and wanted others to feel sorry for me. Now when a manager starts to complain about long hours or bad treatment by executives I respond, "You should quit." Being Either an Office or Hands-On Manager There are two kinds of managers: office and hands-on. This comes from managers wanting to stick with what they enjoy and avoid what they hate. This can come from a lack of confidence in certain aspects of management. For managers of small stores, it's important to get on the floor and get work done. Usually, managers of drug stores or small mall shops have to roll up their sleeves and work. Some enjoy this too much or use it to avoid responsibility. It is hard to plan, go over sales figures, track associate performance, and come up with wellthought-out ideas to increase sales and decrease expenses. A manager who avoids his or her office (usually a bench in the back room) will never achieve excellence. Conversely, a manager who concentrates on office work will not have a strong picture of his or her staff. Things won't get done. They won't connect socially with associates. Again, they will not achieve excellence. It's okay to be a great stocker or salesman. It's also okay to have a head for numbers and trends. But to concentrate on one aspect at the expense of the other will unbalance the store. Balancing paperwork and floor work can also give the manager a better, clearer picture of the store. Like the example below. If the manager did his job of tracking performance instead of blindly stocking shelves he could have prevented theft and fraud. Relying on Personal Bias Personal biases are formed by our families, friends, and experiences. In its mundane form personal bias provides our personal taste and preference. In more dangerous form, personal bias leads to blindness and ignorance.

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Here's an example: I knew a manager who had a preference for one cashier. His perception was his favourite cashier was fast, took responsibility for her job, and was overall his star employee. He even nicknamed her "The Final Solution" because she seemed to fix everything. When I first started working for this manager, I noticed he was not tracking employee performance. He had no logs on things like tardiness, register transactions, and up-sales. His perception was based on what he personally saw. Turns out, his "Final Solution" was the worst employee in the store. She had the worst attendance record, the most requested days off, the most restrictions on her schedule, and was loosing hundreds of pounds a week in poor till balancing. After I put a security program into place we caught her doing coupon fraud. She admitted to stealing cigarettes for months when Asset Protection fired her. Inadequate Rewards Or right-out insulting. Here's a list of the worst performance or morale building rewards I've encountered. Pushing them as a manager will result in loss of morale and credibility. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, avoid them. Employee of the Month: A social taboo for teens and young adults. Veteran retail associates see it as a popularity contest. It's time to put the antiquated idea in the grave. Lunch with the Manager: WTF? Are you kidding me? Most people don't want to have lunch with their manager. It's awkward at best. Inadequate Monetary Rewards: Hard-sell UK£2,000 in videos and you'll get UK£5 in cold, hard cash! Here's a tip: if an employee would willingly pay you the amount of the reward to not participate, you should think about it some more. Just Kidding! Using humour to harass, belittle, and dominate. Having a sense of humour and knowing when levity will increase morale are important leadership qualities. Using "humour" to establish dominance or belittle others are not leadership qualities. Saying, "Just kidding!" or laughing does not transform toxic communication into something good. Here are some topics that managers shouldn't joke about:  An associate's appearance  Calling in sick  Personal relationships

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   

Inability to perform well An embarrassing circumstance Anything to do with sex, ethnicity, politics, or religion Once again, saying "Just kidding!" does not make it all better

Using humour to establish dominance puts a manager on the same level as a dog trying to climb to the top of a pack. Comments such as "So... ha, ha... I guess you don't want to work here anymore because you're always late! Ha, ha!" are put-downs, demoralizing, and will result in an immediate loss of credibility. Sarcasm is awesome. It allows witty, intelligent people to express themselves at the expense of the unimaginative and self-important. Managers should never be sarcastic towards their employees. Sarcasm should be saved for the manager's boss, such as the district manager. I can respect that. But never, ever, should manager use sarcasm on an associate under her charge. How does a manager know that he's gone too far with humour? That's easy: If you can tell the "joke" to an eight-year-old without hurting his feelings, then it's probably okay. How does a manager know he's using "humour" to establish dominance? That's easy, too. I call it the "f*** off" test. If you make a joke and the employee tells you to f*** off, then you've gone too far. Since most employees won't tell a boss to f*** off, here's some other ways they say it:  Silence  Breaking eye contact  Leaving  Refusing to converse other than necessary communication  Stapling a two-week's notice to your forehead  Just kidding Performance Punishing Behaviour I saved the best for last. Almost all retail managers have done this. In another line of profession, I have done this, knowingly. I now regret it. Performance punishing behaviour is when you treat your best people like dirt. Managers put their fastest, most reliable, most competent people on the worst jobs. Reliable associates get the worst shifts. Competent associates get the worst tasks. Fast employees get the most tedious jobs. After a while, these associates have to be rewarded and recognized. Definitely promoted (if they want). Most managers I've witnessed in performance punishing behaviour use the rest of this page's headers as excuses to keep going: lies, bias, poor rewards.

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Conversely, the same managers will let poor performers slide. They will make excuses for Suzy Comes Late or Johnny Does Meth in the Bathroom. But if Kristin the Superstar comes in three minutes late, then the manager goes into full lecture mode. This is unfair. As a manager, you will loose whatever credibility you have with either set of employees as being both a cold-hearted bastard and an easy push-over. As I’m still connected to the retail environment and I have experienced many things, positive and negative on both HR and at operations level so I pick up new ideas all the time and here are a few more examples of IMHO bad administration tactics. Spying In the break room, a group of employees were venting about several stressful occurrences that had just happened. They were getting nasty about it. Already agitated, one discovered an assistant manager crouched just outside the door, listening. Threats to Terminate A new manager comes into a store full of fire and enthusiasm. She dislikes the way one of the shifts handled safety concerns and threatens to fire the next person who breaks SOP. She looks impotent when the entire shift ignores her. Punishment through Third Parties Not wanting to confront employees directly, a manager uses his supervisors to dole out discipline. They don't do a very good job of it because they don't like the confrontations themselves. So essentially the sad fact is nobody is getting coached, feedback, or warnings. The "Retail Promise": A young clerk wants to move up in the ranks. He is told that if he works real hard, takes on responsibilities that are way above his experience and position, and shows he's totally awesome, he'll get a promotion. He becomes less enthusiastic as time goes on and realizes he's being taken advantage of by the managers. Dealing with an A55hol3 Manager I once did a period of training reps that had to work with scores of various managers; also in the retail trade; a week. Some hit a wall when dealing with a manager that is not only unhelpful but outright hostile even if the rep is there to help them out. When a rep becomes frustrated, I tell and ask them the following: Do they know how they choose people for management in retail? It's not because of management skills or charisma or business sense. They pick people who can work long hours with low pay under stressful conditions in no-win situations.  I tell them that a ‘jerk’ manager will eventually come around. One day, if the rep keeps being friendly and helpful, the manager will mention a vacation coming up, or a kid's birthday, or divulge a career milestone. That sharing will be the rep's "in" because it will personalize the manager and the rep.

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Now if you're not lucky enough to be a field rep but instead have to work with a bad manager, I can suggest two things. Wait for a moment like the one above and get your résumé polished off and start looking for a new job. Remember an official title may be store manager, but that's only because your employee name tag is too small to include all the other jobs you do -- including salesperson, stock clerk, cashier, accountant, in-house psychologist and employee-conflict mediator. Tips for Management Success An effective manager pays attention to many facets of management, leadership and learning within organizations. So, it's difficult to take the topic of 'management success' and say that the following ten items are the most important for management success." Thumbs up for making managers better leaders! Bad Retail Management - 101 For the genuinely determined, there are a number of creative ways to be a downright awful retail manager. Some ideas I have observed include:  Whenever you give employees a pat on the back, affix a "kick me" sign.  Post a notice suggesting that employees interested in making scheduling requests should first look over the choice of Amway products for sale in the break room.  Replace the music currently played over the store's sound system with selections you've recorded on your home karaoke machine. Unfortunately, most lousy store managers follow more tried-and-true paths to mediocrity. Retail experts say the following five bad practices are among the most common. Read, learn and avoid. 1. Assume Staff Members Have No Outside Lives Since they tend to view their employees as little more than working automatons, bad managers think their staff should focus 100 percent of their attention on their jobs. These managers don't take associates time away from work into consideration, But a lot of retail associates are going to school, for example. They need time for classes and homework. If you act like your store is the only thing that should be important to them, they'll see that as a lack of respect, and performance will suffer." 2. Treat Everyone the Same On the surface, it might seem like a good idea to treat all your employees alike. That way you're not showing favouritism, right? Wrong, what you're really doing is failing to acknowledge them as individuals. Every employee has unique needs and desires, and they want to feel valued, treating employees without regard for these personal needs sends a clear message that they are not

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special to you. If you want the labour of a person's heart and not just his hands, you must treat people with respect." 3. Don't Say Anything Nice I use the term "seagull management" to describe managers who fly around the store squawking loudly, stopping only long enough to dump on any employees within earshot before swooping off to another department. Seagulls deliver only bad news, never offering anything positive. One of the most common mistakes managers make is to combine too little positive feedback and recognition with poorly delivered negative feedback or discipline. You get the behaviour you reward. If you don't like the behaviour you are getting, don't just look at your employees; [look] at your management style, corporate culture and communications patterns to find the problem. 4. Don't Share Expectations Almost everyone has had the unpleasant experience of being reprimanded by a supervisor with no warning and no prior indication that anything was wrong. Employees often won't live up to expectations if you never tell them what you're looking for; Take the employee who shows up a few minutes late for work every day. The store manager keeps letting it slide but inside is getting frustrated until one day it boils over, and he brings the associate into the back and chews him out. But the associate never knew he was doing anything wrong. To avoid this, managers need to be consistently setting and resetting expectations. 5. Be a Bad Role Model "Do as I say, not as I do" is a favourite motto of bad managers. Expecting a certain behaviour from staff members that you can't be bothered to exhibit yourself is a terrific way to turn employees against you. If you tell associates to smile and say ‘hi' to every customer who walks in, but you don't do it, you're going to get pushback. Good leaders are good role models. This doesn't mean you have to be able to do everything associates do. But when it comes to basics like showing up for work on time, being friendly to the customer and staying productive, as a manager, you have a responsibility to be a proper role model." IMHO Managers of these megastores should not get frustrated when they don’t get the required actions, loyalty from employees when they are only giving extra work to inexperienced employees thus helping them (the managers) to reach the targets and budgets and their bonuses set out by theoretical demands from Head Office. Theory and Practice are never the same.

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Remember when the store and/or the Megastore opened? Various media outlets, harped on and constantly mentioned – work places for ‘many’ local people? On the opening day, not only were the mayor, council dignitaries, the media, political personalities, maybe even the prime minister at the inauguration. There were three employees (team members) at the ten cashier tills – one cashier, one packer and maybe a third to carry your wares to your vehicle? Did you notice that there were team members all over the shop floor, a few places at the corner of each aisle? In fact one could say a staff member for nearly every five customers! Visit the store two weeks after its Grand Opening and the chances are only one cashier at each till, a limited contingence of shop floor staff members. Then visit the store again after four weeks, what a surprise, only two till (out of ten) are open for the customer, as for shop floor member, it takes half an hour to find anyone to help the customer? The only time one will see the store full of staff members and all cahier tills open are a couple of weeks before Christmas and Easter. So if you want to know if your job in retail is a secure one… The simple answer is ‘No’ and don’t let any manager try to convince you otherwise at the initial interview for employment……. Saying all this, then every profession has its pluses and negatives. The Pop Star who worries about the next gig being a sell-out; will he still be selling hits in ten years time, will his record company sign him up or another batch of music? The footballer, will he still be able to kick a leather ball around a pitch for 90 minutes and will his sponsors sponsor his club in five years time? Same thoughts will no doubt go through the minds of tennis players of Formula I drivers, etc.? So the retail manager wonders how his bonus will look at the end of the year. As for his employee, will they be able to survive another year paying the rent, food, fees etc., for the next year.

THAT’S LIFE……….

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So now you know and you still want to get into Retail, then I wish you all the best for the future.

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My advice to everyone is:-

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide through life. If it is not truthful and not helpful, don’t say it. If it is truthful and not helpful, don’t say it. If it is not truthful and helpful, don’t say it If it is truthful and helpful, wait for the right time to say it. The traveller sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.

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You might like to also read the following:                                                       

A LEADER BY EXAMPLE A THOUGHT FOR THE NIGHT RECEPTION AFRICA LOST CAUSE AGAINST CHARITY BAD ATTITUDE BLAME CULTURE BOEING STRATACRUISER CAN WE SURVIVE GIVEN THE FOLLOWING COMMON TRAITS OF BAD LEADERS COMMUNICATE THEN DELEGATE CONCEPT OF TRUST DEALING WITH POOR PERFORMANCE DER TODESFLUG DER MOZART DO AS I SAY – NOT AS I DO! DO DONT BOSS DO WE NEED CHRISTMAS DONT INVEST DON’T EXPECT EFFECTIVE TEAM LEADER EFFICIENCY HOSPITALITY EVALUATION WHY WHAT HOW WHO AND WHEN GOOD TEACHER GOSSIP HARARE IS IT THE WORST CITY ON EARTH HOTEL FAILURE HOTEL or INN HOTEL SECURITY HOTELS FAIL ON REALITY HOUSEKEEPING IN HOTELS HOUSEKEEPING IN HOTELS I DONT DO FRIENDS JANITOR PORTER RECEPTION JUST KENYA KENYA REGIMENT LAST MINUTE SALES IN HOSPITALITY LAUDA AIR B767 ACCIDENT REPORT LOW MORAL LYING BOSS MANAGEMENT CHANGE MANAGERS LOVE EM OR HATE EM METHALI ZA KISWAHILI MOMBASA RARA SASA MONEY WASTED ON CHARITY MOTIVATION NEGATIVITY OF KENYA NO CHARITY FROM ME PROBLEMS WITH GENERAL MANAGERS RELIGION RELIGION STEALS SURVIVE A BAD TEAM LEADER TEAM LEADERSHIP THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY THE LUNATIC EXPRESS THE MAN-EATERS OF TSAVO THE WHISPERING GIANT THIS IS NOT IN MY JOB DESCRITION UNLIKE WE IN THE WEST

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        

WANT TO BE A BAD TEAM LEADER WHAT SHOULD A TEAM LEADER DO WHEN TRAVELLING WAS A PLEASURE WHEN TRAVELLING WAS A PLEASURE INDIAN WHY ARE AFRICAN COUNTRIES POOR BUT RICH RESOURCES WHY PEOPLE LEAVE WHY WORK YOU SHOULD NEVER PUT YOURSELF ABOVE YOUR TEAM ZEPPELIN A WAY TO TRAVEL

If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, and it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water and adapt to the situation. [Find the path of least resistance.]

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