How to Staff a New Store Opening Smoothly

Photo Credit:  James and Sons Blog

Photo Credit: James and Sons Blog

By Lisa McCann

You always want to make a good first impression, especially when it comes to your customers. Staffing your new store opening smoothly will allow you to give customers a great first impression of your store and what your brand has to offer. There are a few key areas to focus in on that will help your business better prepare for your new store opening. 

These include: having a strong understanding of your immediate needs, a vision of the people you want to hire, a pipeline to support your vision, and a grasp on the cost effects of incorrectly staffing. 

1.    Understanding your needs

Do you have a strong understanding of your immediate needs? What is holding you back from opening your location tomorrow? 

Setting realistic hiring targets based on prior experience with store openings or other locations with similar profiles will help you not to feel under staffed from the start. Do not rush an opening! Make sure you have the right personnel to support your operations before you open your doors. When setting your hiring targets to fill your store’s needs, it is important to make sure you set timelines and budgets for each and stay within those frames. Also, identify if there are any roles you could develop internally. This may include growing an employee’s role from another location or hiring staff to start off in one role but anticipating growth within the future. 

2.    Understanding what kind of people you want to hire

What would my ideal employee look like?

Building out candidate profiles of the ideal employee can help with your recruitment efforts. Having a clear vision of the type of employees you want your new store to have will help you be more selective and create stronger screening and assessments to make sure there is a match. Creating strong job descriptions will allow you to share with your candidates a clear vision of your expectations and corporate culture. The next step is making sure your screening and assessments are measuring the right competencies and key performance areas that make for a great fit. By understanding the roles you need to fill and the people you wish to fill them, you will be hiring quality candidates who will save you time and money in the long run.

3.    Building a talent pipeline

How can I use my current candidate database?

When looking to fill roles for your new store opening, it’s essential that your start building a talent pipeline to work from. These may include candidates who are already in your company’s database from other locations who may not have been hired, but could still be a great fit for the organization. Reconnecting with these candidates will help you build a pipeline to work from. Also, connecting with potential job seekers and passive candidates on their social and professional networks can also help create brand awareness and increase your potential talent pool. This pipeline needs to continually be grown and improved to help with future needs that will arise. 

4.    Understanding the cost of turnover if staffed incorrectly

How much does turnover really cost me?

Staffing your new store with average employees may be sufficient for your opening but in the long term these are not employees who will grow within your organization. This is why it is essential to build a talent pipeline and be clear on the types of people you want to work for your business. Every company faces turnover issues, especially in the retail sector. 

On average, last year front line part-time staff positions saw a 67% turnover rate. This was followed by a 24% turnover rate for full time staff. These numbers are daunting and for a retail hiring manager they can cause major disruptions in operating a store. The costs associated with turnover can be very high and when calculating direct and opportunity costs, we found that on average the price of losing a front line retail position is approximately $2,000 per employee. This includes costs such as training, onboarding, recruiting, lost experience and lower morale. Turnover is an issue companies will always have to face but by planning and hiring the best fit quality candidates, you can help your new store opening get started on the right foot!

Lisa McCann is the Corporate Marketing Manager at Vancouver-based recruitment company, Mindfield Group

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