Retail is evolving at an unprecedented pace, leaving management teams behind
The retail industry is evolving due to advances in technology and customer expectations, but to date there have been minimal changes to store leadership structures and staffing approaches. Omni-channel retailing, infusion of technology into operations, ever-increasing customer expectations, and rapidly growing competitive pressures are impacting the effectiveness of store management teams.
An uncommon blend of quantitative and qualitative approaches
To gain clarity on the challenges the retailer was facing, West Monroe needed to measure the current workload of store leaders, identify potential gaps in training, and assess performance management tools, span of control, and team engagement.
The approach aimed to provide qualitative and quantitative outputs. First, West Monroe facilitated focus groups and interviews with leaders, frontline employees, store managers, and supervisors across the organization to gain a first-hand account of their capabilities, workload, and engagement levels. The team also studied job descriptions, training materials, and work designs to understand the current expectations of store management.
Through immersive job shadowing and work sampling studies across all hours of the operation, the team was able to measure how management teams were spending their time with details on what tasks managers were completing, where they were in the store, who they were interacting with, and what technology they were using. This approach provided a data-driven foundation to support insights collected during the focus groups and interviews.
The combination of measured data and interview context painted a rich and insightful picture of the day in the life of store management and provided direction for improvement.
Transitioning leadership focus to drive value
The team built a tangible “Day in the Life” write-up of each management role, highlighting time allocation, key challenges, emotional journey, and sources of engagement.
West Monroe found that store management teams were spending 20 to 50 percent of their time completing below-level tasks, such as cleaning, stocking shelves, unloading trucks, and checking out customers, which was impacting their ability to manage store operations and coach their employees.
The team highlighted factors such as staffing, training, technology, front-line employee development, overall employee engagement, and work/life balance as opportunities to improve overall manager effectiveness and shift store management from doers to leaders. This assessment provided management with the necessary information they need to streamline operations, provide a consistent customer experience, improve store appearance, and recognize top-line sales growth.