San Jose CA (PRWEB) March 26, 2014
In February of 2014 USA Today reported that Home Depot (based in Atlanta, GA) prepared to hire an additional 80,000 workers nationwide. The decision to engage in such a mass hiring was made in response to both the approaching spring season and a rebounding housing market. Although the hiring is intended to be generally seasonal, a number of these employees, staffing the 2,200 Home Depot stores, will remain on as permanent hires.
While many hardware retailers typically do a mass hire in anticipation of the summer season, this Home Depot hiring cycle has occurred earlier than in prior years. This was due in a large part to new housing construction data from 2013 which represented an increase of more than 18%, per the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This type of bulk hire situation always puts a store’s employee training capacity to the test. New trainees must be educated on everything from in-store computer systems to guest relations to product education. When a customer asks, “What is your return policy?”, “Where can I find latex caulk?”, or “Will this plant thrive in full sunshine?” employees are expected to give an immediate and correct answer. Any failures in this regard may result in not only a lost sale, but a discouraged customer who may move on to another retailer.
The best way to ensure employee competency is with a two-phased approach. The first phase involves a comprehensive and detailed orientation process. The specifics of this training, including the duration, will be customized both to the employee’s current level of knowledge and the position for which they were hired. The second phase of this process should involve the utilization of an experienced and skilled mystery shopping company who can impartially and analytically review employee’s level of performance.
States Vicki Dempsey, Vice President of Jancyn Evaluation Shops, “All employees, and new hires in particular, need to be audited on a regular basis to ensure their adherence to company standards, sales competency, and attention to detail. One of the primary ways to evaluate this is with a customized mystery shopping program.”
A mystery shopping service can determine if an employee is meeting the expectations of an employer and can be very specific. For instance, does an employee tell the customer where an item is located or do they walk them to the item? Does the employee suggest additional and complementary items or perhaps ask what the tool will be used for to make recommendations? Nuances such as this can make the difference between a $20 sale and a $50 sale. Across hundreds or thousands of stores, this can mean millions in gained revenue per year.
A mystery shopping program can also reveal to companies those employees that perform in an outstanding manner. In doing so, they may be able to clearly identify staff members who will stay on or may be best positioned for a promotion or a greater level of responsibility.
According to Dempsey, “Because Jancyn mystery shopping reports are absolutely impartial, managers at every level can have complete confidence they reflect the most accurate picture of the stores performance. This may result in more training for sub-par employees as well as a big pat on the back for those staff members that perform exceptionally well.”
Vicki Dempsey was also quick to point out that a mystery shopping program can change over time as an employer opts to analyze various facets of their business at different intervals. Jancyn Evaluation Shops works closely with businesses to develop a rigorous program and refine that program over time and per company demands.