Retail Operations

4 Human Resource Issues Wireless and Repair Retailers Can Avoid

Sophie McKee-Wright | Jul 30, 2018
human resources, training, women in wireless, cell phone stores, cell phone repair

The Wireless Telecommunication reported that the average loss of employees from wireless retail stores rose to 82% in a four year time period, making employee retention a focus for many cell phone store retailers and repair stores. (source) Losing employees, for any reason, is among many human resource issues faced by both industries.
But all hope is not lost! From managing for generations to implementing training programs, read on to find out about ways to tackle potential HR issues in your business.

Avoiding High Turnover

Think about the amount of information sales associates need to know in the wireless & repair industry—how to activate a phone, how to process a broken phone during a repair, specs on ever-changing devices, carrier plans; the list goes on and on. If a new employee leaves after working for you for six6 months, it has likely taken about five months to ramp them up on all the information required for the role. Turnover comes at a high cost to your business. Strategies to avoid high turnover involve: having a management strategy that fits with each generation, implementing a training and onboarding system, and actively working to bridge the gender and diversity gap (don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything! I’ll cover the gaps in hiring in point four).

Managing for Generations

Today, there are 5 very different generations in the workplace: The Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and, most recently, Generation Z. Some have lived through the Great Depression and fought in and won a World War, while others may not know or remember life without the internet and communicate primarily through social media. It’s no surprise that these groups work and act differently and managing them effectively is challenging. Understanding the strengths and limitations of each generation is the first step. What’s next is learning which management styles fit and are successful for each. Consider the different communication types: does your employee prefer to communicate in person, over a phone call, or through email or via text? When doing work, are they more reserved or do they like to collaborate? Set up cross-generational mentoring programs—each group has different skills so help them learn from one another. Overall, managing for generations is about creating an environment where your employees understand and appreciate the many points of view, even if it differs from their own.

Implementing a Training Strategy

Having a strong onboarding program as well as ongoing training is important for many reasons. Firstly, to ensure new staff feel like they are getting the focus and information they need to succeed in their new role. Secondly, training ensures sales associates are up to date on the latest rate plans and device information in an ever-changing industry. Thirdly, to maintain employee engagement so that your staff feel plugged into the industry as well as provided with opportunities to learn and grow in their role. The way training material is provided is important too—gone are the times of paper manual books behind the counter. With the constantly changing nature of the wireless industry, this will quickly become outdated and is not readily accessible to all employees wherever they may be looking for training material. Consider a web portal where employees can log in, keep up to date on announcements, training material and industry trends on any device. This way, all staff can engage from wherever they are, internalize what’s being taught, and find value.

Women in Wireless: Bridging Gender Gap

It’s no secret that there is a gender gap in the technology sector—only 20% of tech roles are held by women. The part that is spoken about less, however, is how employers are changing their hiring strategies and business objectives to close the gender gap and attract more female employees. As an employer, it’s important to be conscious of the gender gap and hire accordingly, while still hiring the best person for the job. How are companies overcoming the challenge? Intuit—a software company providing business and financial management solutions—is investing in the recruitment and retention of women and encouraging leadership development among those female recruits. They have established policies that focus on results as opposed to time spent in the office. Finally, Intuit offers flexible work policies and career support. On top of the efforts listed, companies must foster a culture that encourages and celebrates diversity. As more women join your company, the resources and strategies must be in place so that they want to stay.
  

Succeeding in the wireless and repair business goes a lot further than offering the right selection of phones and accessories. To limit employee turnover, therefore reducing the cost to your organization, consider the learning and communication styles of the many generations you employ. How do your staff want to be trained? Do they want to be coached or left to work solo? Acknowledge the gender gap by addressing the pay gap and by offering flexible work policies. Put a strategy together to create a safe, inclusive work environment.

Want to learn more about how to succeed in the wireless and repair space? Join us at our annual Meetup event and learn how to make your workplace the best it can be from our expert keynotes, Reshma Saujani and Shelly Palmer. 

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Retail Operations