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Get On The Floor! Why Retail Managers Need To Get Out Of The Back Office

Posted by Chris Moulton on May 28, 2014 3:30:33 AM

Managers on the floorCongratulations. You’re the one in charge. The leader of the pack. The one running the show. All are turning to you for advice, guidance and leadership. The problem? They’re all out on the floor! Meanwhile you’re in your office sitting behind a desk doing administrative work.

We see this problem all of the time with the retail clients that we work with. The employees are out on the retail floor while the manager is in the office - when they should be anywhere but. If this sounds like your company, we have a couple of lessons that we wanted to share from the highest performing retail organizations we've come across:

The best managers are on the floor

When we look at high-performing retail organizations, we see store managers as an extension of the workforce. We see them being visible to customers and assisting their employees in all areas of the store. We don’t see them in the back office spending countless hours working on the administrative stuff. Administrative work can draw managers deeper into the management marshmallow – the soft, comfortable, gooey cloud of detail that keeps them from seeing the big picture. That big picture being to bring the most value out of their people in order to maximize the customer experience. You can accomplish this much more effectively by being with people, not stacks of paper.

They invest in technology for their managers

Of course, getting out on the floor is easier said than done. There is administrative work that needs to be done by managers. So how do the managers of these organizations find the time to get on the floor and get their administrative work done? It’s simple, they invest in the right technology. We see so many companies with managers that waste hour after hour scheduling their employees and making timecard corrections when, in this day and age, it is simply not necessary.

The use of mobile technology allows management to be on the floor with a tablet, know exactly who is in the building, and in what department. It allows them to do exception tracking and corrections while still maintaining visibility with the customer as well as the employees. It allows them to fill open shifts if there is a need and to call in additional staffing.

This technology also helps their employees

Not only does this mobile technology help managers, it helps employees as well. With smartphones, they can see their schedule, fill an open shift, request time off and even punch in and out once they are on store property. This saves managers time in taking those requests, filling shifts, etc. While the organization saves even more money because the employees no longer waste time clocking in on an expensive piece of hardware.

It's also more effective

Have you ever seen a store manager try to put together a schedule? The typical process is to sift through reports to know what days generally have more volume, who is available, and who has a certain skill-set to do a certain job. This is a time-consuming and inefficient task even with the best of managers. With automated scheduling, a schedule is generated taking into account all of these factors. The business volume, employee availability, employee skill-set, and so many others. There is no more guess work because the numbers don’t lie. This reduces long lines at the register during the busy times and saves budget as people aren’t standing around during the slow times.

Are your retail managers getting on the floor enough? What advantages have you seen with those that get out of the back office? I would love to hear your comments below!

Topics: Retail

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