OK, the title of this blog leaves little to the imagination for anyone from the accounting department.  Their world is purely black and white, numbers driven, and results-only focused.  That’s important, of course, but it hardly tells you how your stores are truly performing.

Consider these two examples. 

If you didn’t attend the Retail Council of Canada’s HR Conference this year, you missed the best one ever!  We work with retailers, so joining a conference that is designed by retailers for retailers only makes sense for our team; plus, Kevin was moderating one of the best roundtable discussions with leaders from Home Depot, Town Shoes and Canadian Tire, so I just had to go and support our fearless leader! 

Outside of the eye-opening discussions about creating affirmative work environments for people who identify as trans and gender non-conforming, the other main take-away for me was at the very end of the day. 

Why should you listen to me when you can have 300 Leading HR Managers tell you what’s driving staff and store performance?

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the Retail Council of Canada’s Human Resource Conference in Toronto.  In addition to moderating a HR Leadership Panel, I took the time to listen to all of the speakers and talk with dozens of delegates.  It was an amazing show, and it’s clear that this ‘ain’t your Grandma’s’ HR world anymore.  Thank goodness for that!

The title of this blog likely gives away where I’m heading with this posting.  But, think about it for a moment.  What have you actually taught them about how to manage the store?

Yes, you’ve likely trained them on a multitude of paperwork related tasks, how to build a schedule (including the essential, ‘don’t you dare go over on hours’ module), merchandising and other basic store requirements.  All good and essential stuff to be certain.

But, ask any Manager what the toughest part of their job is and they’ll almost universally tell you it’s dealing with their staff.  We know that’s true because we surveyed almost 700 Managers a couple of years ago and that’s what they told us.

It only makes sense.  Paperwork, merchandising and other tasks are very much an “A + B + C = D” process.  Whereas when it comes to staff, what we’re really talking about is human beings.  We all know how unpredictable they can be!  It’s not easy getting them to work for you, work hard, work smart and work together.

Now, step back for a moment and think about the elements of a store’s success that a Manager can actually influence. 

Pricing? NO.  

Product Selection?  NO.  

Location?  NO.  

Marketing?  NO. 

Staff?  YES!

I say it all the time … front line Managers and staff are more important today than ever before.  If you’re going to run a brick and mortar business, you better provide a great shopping experience through your staff.  Otherwise, roll up the carpet and make way for someone else.

Take a good hard look in your training cupboards and ask yourself how well you’ve trained your Managers on the following:

  • How to recruit staff, develop talent and reduce turnover
  • How to prioritize your time so the most important things always get done
  • How to maximize the productivity of every associate
  • How to be a Leader that your staff will want to follow
  • How to deal with all of those problem performers and turn them around
  • How to achieve compliance on store standards and run the store the right way every day
  • How to motivate and engage your staff every day of the year
  • How to drive the metrics that determine store success
  • How the business of the business works and how they can improve it

When you consider the list above, you’ll likely discover that those are the things you really need your Managers to do better at.  Your staff needs them to do those things better too.  And so does your company.

So, have you taught your Store Managers how to manage the store, or just the paperwork?

If you’ve discovered the training cupboard is a little bare, don’t fret, but don’t hesitate either.  Pick up the phone and call us today at 905-842-1275. Or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We’re here to help.

Kevin Graff is the main guy behind all things Graff Retail. A renowned retail expert, Kevin is recognized in the retail industry as a speaker, author and expert trainer. Kevin's main passion is to help retailers drive staff performance.

Attention all Store Managers! 

It's time for some "Spring Training" in your stores! 

Everyone knows how satisfying it is to do spring cleaning around the house; the same can be true about spring training for retailers!  The winter blahs are over and it's time to get the cobwebs out and get back to the basics.

If you're not sure what you need to do to refresh your training and/or performance coaching in the store, here are a few Spring Training Tips that you can start working on right away; even if you don't have a solid sales training program in place yet!

I've often heard leaders say things like…'My staff doesn't have to like me, they just have to respect me'.  Well, I'm afraid that's not true.  In fact, it’s a non-negotiable that your team likes you…a lot!  This is the difference between managing people while telling them what to do versus inspiring people to do what’s right because they want to.

Think about why we like our favourite brands. 

Are You Getting Great Performance From Your DMs? 

What happens when you transfer a 'high output' manager into a poorly performing store?  No surprise here.  As every experienced retailer knows, this single action ensures that results will improve almost overnight.  Solid reinforcement of the old expression "As goes the manager, so goes the store."

Considering the power of this 'retail truth', why not take it to the next level?  If a good manager can almost guarantee strong store performance, what is the impact of a top notch District Manager?  After all, your fortunes aren't based on the output of a single store.  You need consistent, collective results from many locations.

In the roles I’ve played in my retail career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Retail District Managers in various capacities.  As a Store Manager, I’ve reported to District Managers.  As a Marketing Director I’ve relied on District Managers to help execute campaigns in their stores.  And now, in my role at Graff Retail, I collaborate with DM’s on rolling out and sustaining new training programs at store level. 

In all of these roles and through all of these initiatives I’ve learned that there are 2 kinds of District Managers; one is The Pencil Pusher and the other is The Sales Driver.  There’s a big difference between these two types of DM’s.  Let’s take a closer look. 

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a group about leadership; one of my favourite subjects!  One of the characteristics of effective Leadership we focused on was Enthusiasm. I'm not talking about running into the office or your stores and high-fiving everyone, every day. I'm talking about the type of enthusiasm that inspires people to want to achieve their goals.

To train or not to train?  The answer to this question usually comes down to a core belief in a retail organization.  It’s a mentality or culture that we see when working so closely with retailers for so many years.  The organization either believes in growing and developing their teams, or the organization just doesn’t “get it”. 

If you’re wondering which side of the fence you (or your organization) are on, I’ve listed the top 5 reasons not to train below…or, as a retail training company with proven,  award-winning training systems available to all retailers, we refer to these ‘reasons’ as excuses.


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