According to a recent study, ‘The World of Retail: How Employee Engagement Can Help the Registers Ring’ released by Kenexa High Performance Institute, examined employee engagement trends in the retail sector since 2007 in the US, Brazil, China, Germany, India and the United Kingdom. The study reveals that employee engagement has a direct correlation with customer satisfaction and organizational performance. No wonder then that companies like Mahindra Group, Shoppers Stop, Pantaloon Retail and Reliance are either hiring specialists on board or grooming existing talent to establish a better connect with their customers.
For instance, Mahindra invites on board, ‘super moms and dads’, whenever they launch a store for their speciality mother and child retail venture Mom & Me chain. These experienced parents or grandparents offer customers, especially first-time parents, advice on choosing the right product and its usage. At last count, Mahindra had appointed more than 60 super moms and dads across India, at a much higher salary than what its customer care executives earn per month. Hiring specialists help them to influence customers positively, especially at time when slow economy has affected consumer buying sentiment.
Many retailers have also tied up with grooming schools to train their employees or are hunting for specialised graduates or domain experts as a part of their shop floors. The best example of this trend is diamond jewellery chain, Orra, which has appointed designers on shop floors to help customers in making their purchase decisions. The company has also started an extensive training programme for such designers on various types of jewellery, gold and other precious stones.
Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN), a non-profit organization founded by Shoppers Stop’s vice-chairman B S Nagesh has tied up with Aptech for training people working in the retail sector and Future Learning, an education and training arm of the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group, formed a partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development to train young people from poor families for employment in the organized retail industry.
Reliance Retail too has been hiring specialised talent from fashion institutes to run its chain of 55 premium stores for global brands like Diesel, Timberland , Ermenegildo Zegna, Paul & Shark and Steve Madden. And this year, Reliance Brands hired 32 people from National Institute of Fashion Technology and three to four designers from London College of Fashion.
While retailers’ efforts are paying off with their sales showing positive results, with much higher pay-packages and great career opportunities, employees of course are not complaining. The new trend is either boosting their existing career or opening up new doors to further growth.