Human Resources in Retail
Employment within human resources in retail does not differ greatly from human resources in other areas of business but as much of your focus is on the recruitment and training of new staff and because issues such as staff retention will be important, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the types of skills, personal qualities and qualifications that are needed to work within other occupations within the retail sector.
There are a whole range of functions which you will be involved with as an employee within retail human resources. Here is a brief outline of some of the activities you’ll be involved in.
RecruitmentOne of the most important aspects of a human resources role is making sure that you’re recruiting the right people for a particular role. Therefore, you will be involved in developing employment descriptions, preparing job advertisements, reading through CVs, devising application forms and then short listing, interviewing and selecting new members of staff. In doing all of the above, you’ll also need to liaise with different departmental managers in order that your recruitment process reflects the types of people which are needed to fill a particular role.
Dealing With Grievances and Disciplinary MattersAnother important role in the retail HR function is in dealing with staff grievances and any disciplinary matters. This could also incorporate issues such as absence management, performance management and working conditions.
Liasing With External OrganisationsLaws and workplace rights are constantly being updated and improved so it’s important to constantly keep abreast of these changes if you’re working in a retail HR position. Therefore, you’ll regularly need to liaise with external organisations who deal with issues surrounding disability, race relations and other organisations relating to discriminatory practices as well as health and safety bodies.
Staff PlanningHuman resources staff in all companies have a significant role to play when it comes to planning staff resources but none more so than in retail where 24 hour shopping, Sunday working and cyclical trends such as greater demand for goods at Christmas can all put pressure on staffing levels. Therefore, you’ll work closely with line managers on both immediate and long-term issues relating to staffing numbers and skill levels.
Staff Training and DevelopmentThis will involve issues such as training for the inductions of new staff as well as the training and career development of existing employees. This is an area which has taken on even greater significance over recent years with job satisfaction and the opportunities for career progression often scoring much higher than salary in terms of what people are looking for from a career. Staff retention can be a costly business so you’ll be involved in devising and implementing strategies to ensure that staff morale is positive and to encourage your best people to stay with the company.
Payroll and AdministrationYou may also be involved in administering the weekly or monthly payroll procedures even if that just involves providing a finance section of employee attendance and overtime records over a particular period.
To progress to management level in retail human resources, you’ll probably have a business related degree. Personal qualities that are highly sought after in this area include having excellent communication skills as you’ll be liasing with people from numerous departments. And, as several aspects of the role can touch on sensitive issues such as those regarding sickness absence or disciplinary matters, it’s important that you’re able to demonstrate a great deal of tact and diplomacy too as well as having a thorough knowledge of workplace law.