If your retail sales are not meeting expectations, it can be quite tempting to focus all of your efforts on hiring better frontline retail staff. While it is certainly important to hire and train your front-facing retail associates, this approach will not solve all of your sales woes. Instead, you need to shift your attention a little higher up the organizational hierarchy and reevaluate your retail management staff.
Retail managers interact with your business along every major touchpoint that impacts sales. Specifically, they are responsible for inventory management, supervising staff, planning store and display layouts, and setting monthly sales goals. If your store manager does not possess the requisite skills to manage all of these dynamic tasks, then your sales will undoubtedly suffer.
To improve sales, boost morale, and set your business up for sustained success, you must focus on evaluating managerial candidates based on their hard and soft skills. Below, we examine the dangers of mis-hires and discuss how you can effectively test communication and leadership skills in retail management.
The Danger of Hiring Bad Managerial Staff
A retail manager with great communication skills can rally a sales team together as they strive to provide exemplary service to consumers. Conversely, a retail manager with poor leadership skills can cause division, confusion, and a decline in productivity.
To make matters worse, they can destroy staff morale, thereby causing your best retail staff to seek employment elsewhere. If you keep a bad manager around too long, your business might even develop a reputation for having an abysmal workplace culture.
If you are concerned that you may have a bad retail manager on your hands, then check out The Retail Doctor’s list of telltale signs that your manager is “rotten.” Constant excuses, a dirty store, and a lack of interest in performance metrics are just a few of the indicators that it is time to either invest in some retraining or find a more suitable candidate altogether.
Leadership Skills in Retail Management: An Integral Component of Retail Sales
One of the most important skills for a retail manager is leadership. The best retail managers can rally their staff to meet monthly sales goals, encourage struggling employees to up their performance, and get the best out of every team member. These individuals should also facilitate harmony between the various personalities in the workplace.
When a retail manager exhibits strong leadership, the entire organization reaps the benefits. Employees perform better; customers are happier; the store is kept in shape, and your profit margins will be stronger.
Modern behavioral assessments and skills tests can provide your hiring team with valuable insight into applicants’ abilities, traits, and demeanor, including measures such as integrity, grit and openness. Using these tools, you can identify and hire your ideal managerial candidate.
Why Retail Manager Communication Skills Are Essential to Improving Sales
While leadership abilities are vital to the success of a retail manager, strong communication skills are equally important. A retail manager must effortlessly communicate with subordinates, superiors, vendors, and consumers. They must also put out proverbial fires, assist employees with conflict resolution, and relay their expectations to the team they manage.
Conversely, if a retail manager lacks effective communication skills, they will create friction amongst the entire staff. Retail employees will become frustrated as they will not clearly understand what is expected. The customer experience will also suffer as retail managers are expected to have all of the answers and be a source of knowledge that can resolve consumer complaints.
If you hope to improve your retail sales, your best bet is to find a great communicator to be the manager. When communication flows freely, everyone from front-line staff and customers to vendors and executives finds better service for their needs. Management is about more than just numbers; it requires a deft personal touch.
How to Test for Skills Required for Retail Managers
Many skills tests are designed specifically for the retail industry. A few of the most popular include General Retail Knowledge, Customer Service-Retail, and Retail Marketing Skills. Any one of these assessments can help you better understand an applicant’s skills, abilities, and talents.
To gain even deeper insights, you can also administer a behavioral assessment, which will provide information about the applicant’s motivations and personality traits including integrity, grit and work ethic. When used together, skills tests and behavioral assessments can pave the way for smarter, more efficient hiring practices.
Identify Skills Required for Retail Managers with eSkill
With the help of eSkill, you can seamlessly determine whether a candidate possesses vital retail manager communication skills before bringing them into your organization.
Request a demo to learn how employment assessments help you recruit candidates with the skills required for retail management.