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MAY 2004                                 STORES                                                                           ...
EMPLOYEE SCREENING   staff to more than 700 employees. Since               The team completes the PRO survey to           ...
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Qualities Need For Success In Retail


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Leading Retailers need to have employees who are proactive, to create "actions" with customers and truly get "into the world of the client"

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Qualities Need For Success In Retail

  1. 1. MAY 2004 STORES WWW.STORES.ORG EMPLOYEE SCREENING Measuring the Qualities Needed for Success iParty uses survey tool to define behavioral traits for managerial positions and match candidates with jobs they naturally enjoy openness or perceived need to support, it can be closed,” she adds. iParty change to adapt to his current work- administers the PI to all prospective man- place environment, and a combina- agement employees. In the future, the eing able to understand managerial tion of the two. retailer plans to extend its use to selectingB candidates’ natural needs and behav- iors is essential to finding a person who will find his assignment energiz-ing and satisfying, and, therefore, will do wellin the job, says Lori Chamberlain, vice presi- In effect, the PI measures how well an individual’s natural self is in sync with the current or prospective work environment. An ideal match identifies a candidate who can slip into a job situation like a hand fits store associates. iParty also uses the PI to help managers interact with employees in a manner that meets and nourishes their personal and pro- fessional needs. Managers are trained todent of human resources at Dedham, Mass.- into a custom-made glove. interact with individual employees in waysbased iParty. That, in turn, leads to increased “People are most effective when they are that suit both their styles, for example. Theproductivity. able to tap into their natural behavioral goal is to create positive relationships that Party goods specialty retailer iParty is traits,” explains Handalian. “That means stimulate creativity and productivity, whileusing PI Worldwide’s Predictive Index (PI), most of their energy is going into their jobs minimizing negative, energy-draining andto help define job positions, the qualities instead of changing themselves.” non-productive exchanges.that individuals need to perform well in NOURISHING NEEDS Chamberlain first “It helps everyone understand everyonespecific jobs and whether a candidate has, began working with PI Worldwide in 1992 else, and it helps us understand ourselves asor can develop, the qualities needed to be when she led human resources at Iron well,” says Chamberlain. “One of the firstsuccessful. Mountain, a records management compa- things we do with a new employee is sit Dan Handalian, senior consultant at ny. For her, PI Worldwide is an extension down and say, ‘Let me tell you what yourWellesley, Mass.-based PI Worldwide, says of iParty’s human resources PI says about you and what my PIthe Predictive Index measurement tool is an department. says about me.’ It really pro-efficient system because “you put very little “The Predictive Index motes strong communica-in and you get a lot out.” allows us to define the tions throughout the Based on how an individual responds to behavioral traits that organization. It pro-qualities identified in the PI survey, a hiring we want someone to motes understand-executive trained to read a PI can measure have to be promot- ing, and it keepswhat a specific individual needs from the ed or hired into a people energizedwork world, says Handalian. “The needs specific job. In a and productive.”we measure are every bit as real as the needs very objective way, iParty also usesfor food and shelter.” PI allows us, as the PI for conflict The survey is a concise list of personality managers, to say resolution, teamtraits. Individuals who take the survey high- whether an individ- building and em-light those traits on the list that they believe ual job candidate ployee describe who they are and who they has those behavioral When iparty.combelieve others expect them to be, such as “I am traits,” Chamberlain was launched in Octoberbrave,” “I am persistent” and “Others expect explains. 1999, the e-retailer had 25me to be brave and persistent.” The survey “If the natural traits are close employees and no bricks-and-takes about 10 minutes. but not exactly what we mortar stores. By the time Interpreting the PI is accomplished by want, the PI helps us deter- iPartys success Chamberlain joined theclustering answers in three areas: an indi- mine whether the gap is too depends on good company in December 2001,vidual’s self, a measurement of his most nat- far away to manage or if iParty had acquired a chainural behaviors and needs; an individual’s it’s close enough that, with store managers of 33 stores, increasing the
  2. 2. EMPLOYEE SCREENING staff to more than 700 employees. Since The team completes the PRO survey to manager for our positions,” notes then iParty has added about 150 more bring the new position into focus. “It gives Chamberlain. “We use the PI and the PRO employees and opened five more stores. us an idea of what qualities in that new to make sure we have the right profile as Chamberlain brought iParty and PI position we should look for, what behav- well as the right person.” Worldwide together very early in her iors,” says Chamberlain. FEEL THE DIFFERENCE Chamberlain estimates tenure, precisely because the retailer was By defining the position up front, iParty that iParty generated a return on its PI experiencing so much change. “We wanted can also streamline the job search process. investment in approximately three to six to make sure that we were hiring the right “We’ve been able to write ads that are more months. “It took three to six months for us profiles for senior management. These are focused and targeted to what we’re looking to notice something was different. You can not positions you want to see turnover in,” to hire. It’s helped us in our behavioral actually feel PI. You can feel the difference,” she says. “For us, the PI profiles she says. “It’s quite amazing when were, and are, very important.” you read a PI to someone or you dis- LEVERAGING STRENGTHS Because cuss their development plan off a PI. of iParty’s rapid growth, the retail- There’s enthusiasm and excitement. er’s executives realized that manage- “It’s as if you know what they’re rial roles would evolve as the com- feeling and what they’re sensing. pany continued to grow. There’s more camaraderie and “Our management roles are very understanding, and with that interesting to fill, and they have comes a sense of trust. Our employ- some intriguing components to ees sense that they’re in good hands, them that we can’t always figure out that we have their best interests at on our own,” Chamberlain says. heart,” she adds. “PI Worldwide has been great in Although many of the benefits that helping us understand what the Chamberlain cites fall into the soft profile should be. That’s been very ROI realm, they’re also key to build- important because, as we’ve grown, ing a strong and committed manage- our people haven’t gotten bored, ment team with minimal turnover. and they haven’t felt that their roles “Our turnover at the store man- have evolved beyond them.” ager level and above is better than The PI differs from a perfor- the industry average,” notes mance review in that it’s not used to Chamberlain. “The PI and the rate people, but to develop them. PRO have given us substantial According to Chamberlain, it’s bench strength. We know we have great for understanding and lever- people waiting in the wings.” aging people’s natural strengths. Chamberlain also credits PI with “There’s a benefit for the employees helping to enhance iParty’s bottom because they’re matched with jobs line. “We believe that profitability that they naturally enjoy,” she says. can be increased if we hire the right Recently, iParty needed to replace people and focus them on the right a senior executive. Rather than things,” says Chamberlain. “PI launch an immediate search, several seems to have given everyone who iParty executives worked with PI By defining a position up front, works for iParty the sense that they Worldwide to better understand the type of iParty streamlines are all individually responsible for the well person they needed in the position to allow the job search process being of the workplace and for the well the company to be effective today and in being of the customers who shop our stores the future. questioning of candidates,” she explains. and buy our products. To help shape their thinking, the team “We’re able to target our questions around “It’s everyone’s job to make sure we’re turned to another PI Worldwide tool called the PI and what we’re looking for in the heading in the same direction. Everyone is the PRO, a resource that helps clients eval- profile, so it’s really helped recruiting in responsible for creating an environment uate the position instead of the person. more ways than one.” that is positive, upbeat and comfortable for With the PRO, iParty is able to create a iParty also uses PRO to re-evaluate the everyone who works here,” Chamberlain pattern for a position under development role of its store managers. continues. “By explaining the PI and offer- by bringing together members of the man- “As we grew, our store manager profiles ing the PI readings up front, it’s as if we’re agement team to brainstorm what the posi- changed, and our success going forward saying, ‘We’re putting our money where tion’s needs are. depends on our hiring the right store our mouth is.’” — Liz Parks STORESCopyrighted © 2004 NRF Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article does not represent an endorsement by the National Retail Federation or its affiliates. #1-5663111 Managed by Reprint Management Services, 717.399.1900. To request a quote online, visit