Client story: retail

Delivering a leadership development programme, bringing in the right HR resource and launching compelling employer branding

Client: Retail

My client was a rapidly expanding retail company who over the period of ten years, had achieved huge success selling luxury household furniture, both in store and online. Operating out of purpose-built offices in the Cotswolds, the company had further plans for expansion into the North of England.

However, with no HR presence in the business, other than the administration of staff pay and benefits, it fell to the Regional Managers. They were tasked with managing recruitment, development and talent management but this was not their main responsibility and with a lack of specialist knowledge, HR was sporadic and inconsistent.

The company had a very positive working environment, competitive benefits and a positive flexible working model. Turnover was low but recruitment was difficult. The lack of an employer brand, voicing the strong employer value proposition that the company offered was a priority to ensure they managed to gain the new recruits needed to continue the planned growth strategy.

Development and training for the store manager was focused around the technical aspects of the role. Although performance management wasn’t a issue generally, some stores clearly needed to improve their results through stronger performance and absence management.

How I helped

It was clear that investment in a permanent dedicated resource was needed but to provide the best platform to recruit that person into, I supported the company through the development of a set of company values and behaviours. These provided the basis for the leadership development programme for all store managers. Together, we identified the key competencies that the company needed to see from its management team. This was then turned into a rolling programme of development workshops, delivered to more than 75 managers and deputy store managers.

The employer branding project involved working with the senior team and developing a compelling message that really spoke to potential employees about the company values, positive working environment, autonomy and career progression that was on offer. Our work included the development of the company website pages, a heightened awareness of the use of social media to drive ongoing interest and engagement with potential candidates, branded advertising and targeted recruitment campaigns.

Finally, I helped recruit a Talent and Development Manager to progress the foundations we put in place and provide ongoing development and support.

The outcome

The leadership programme was for many of the managers, the first formal and developmental training they had had. Key takeaways that managers took from the training were: developed self awareness on how to lead and motivate teams and the individuals within them; significant confidence in managing performance issues; and a real sense of what a high performing team looked like. All of this began filtering through to the bottom line, with store takings increasing on average by 3%.

The new employer branding was the key to bringing in higher quality candidates, with a real passion for retail. It has also provided the company with a high-quality pipeline of talent to develop in the months and years to come.

Having supported the appointment of the new Talent and Development Manager, there was a smooth transition for them into their new role, picking up what we had put in place, meaning the company very quickly had a new team member up to speed and delivering in their role.

I remain retained as coach and mentor to support my client’s development and the company’s broader strategic people plans.

2ThePoint brought a solid understanding of the retail environment to our company. We weren’t sure what exactly we needed and Karen very quickly grasped the issues, some of which we didn’t even recognise at the time including the importance of our employer brand. The manager development programme has brought some real improvements across many of the stores and I can see there is more to come. Karen continues to work with us on strategy and resourcing – she’s great value!


Bristol based with national reach

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