Hiring Managers For Your Multi-Location Retail Stores
Small business owners who open multiple locations are faced with hiring managers. They are, in effect, absentee owners. Even if you plan to “drop in” on your store every week that is just a fraction of the amount of time the facility will need an authority on the premises. In fact, you have probably already encountered this with your single-location retail store. When you find that you “miss” more and more things, don’t return phone calls promptly, and put off time-consuming or tedious chores, it’s probably time to hire a manager. Don’t be the bottleneck that chokes your own business expansion.
Manager Job Description
The job description for a management position varies according to the needs of the particular store. If your strength is building displays for retail products, make that the focus of your involvement, and give the rest of management to your employee. Here are some of the tasks a manager may be responsible for:
- Staff development
- Evaluation of staff
- Employee motivation
- Creating displays
- Inventory management
- Customer service
- Sales management
- Sales promotions
You get what you pay for, and the same is true with managers. Pay for your manager can be either an annual salary or an hourly wage. The temptation may be to go with a salary, and require overtime. But, this is a good way to lose a good manager. As the business owner, you put a lot of time into selecting and training a manager, so it makes sense to keep him happy.
One way to handle overtime issues is through a bonus structure. This is also a good way to reward managers for achieving certain goals. The bonuses may be paid on a regular basis, or at the end of the year or end of the season. The benefit of this is that it doesn’t raise pay levels but still puts extra money in the hands of your manager.
Where can you go to find managers? Most experts agree that the first place to look for managerial candidates is in your employee pool.
Formulate your list of needs and requirements ahead of time, and then start looking at your current employees as candidates for manager. Your employees are familiar with your product and customers, and with store operations, too. If you have one that is management material, get him the training they need and promote him. If a particular person is not good management material, don’t succumb to the pressure to promote him. You may lose a good salesman, and end up with a poor manager.
Generally, hiring from within the employee pool is good for morale. Most people want to know what they have to do to get a promotion.
If you don’t have the ability or knowledge to train a manager, you may need to hire outside of your company. Explain this to the employees and make sure they understand the benefits of bringing in an outsider.
Be a Manager Until You Hire One
Until you have a manager onsite, you are the manager. Prepare your employees for the new manager. If you have hired from within, prepare your employees to look at their new manager differently. Their employee evaluations may now be in this person’s hands. Listen to the concerns of your employees and respond honestly to them. Help them get excited about the change.
The new manager will also need help with the change. It can be difficult to move into a new role if you hired from within. Team leaders and managers have similar skills but often have different tasks. Provide your new manager with the help he needs to get a good start. For example, provide him with a master schedule. This way, you – the boss – have scheduled people, but you give flexibility for shift exchanges to the manager. As he grows into the job, feed him more responsibility.
Single-owner retail stores require attention to every little detail. If you have been managing your own business all this time, it may be hard to back off and let your new manager do his job. Let him work, and don’t undermine what he has done.