Gamages is a long-established department store inLondon’sOxford Street. After a periOD of decline,it was turned round a few years ago under the leadership of a dynamic andcharismatic new Chief Executive whose AIm was to make it a customer-drivenorganization. A creative approach to people management had played a key part inthe corporate renewal programme. Particular attention had been paid to theleadership skills of line managers. The role of sales associates was redefinedwith much more attention BEIng given to their customer service skills. As theChief Executive said: ‘We sell high-quality merchandise at above averageprices; our customers therefore demand high levels of service.’ As the valuestatement of the store emphasized, customers want great CHOice, good value andservice excellence.
Regular surveys had shown that levels ofstaff engagement and commitment had risen steadily in the last four years andthe rate of labour turnover had decreased. It was noted that commitment levelswere significantly higher amongst those staff who had been with the store fortHRee years or more. A revised performance management process had beenintroduced two years ago and this also indicated that the ratings andassessments of potential were higher for those staff with three or more years’service. As a guide to selection and development, an analysis of the characteristicsof high-performing sales associates was carried out. This showed that those whowere ‘living the values’ and, as the chief executive commented, ‘turning valuesinto value’ were achieving the best results. A sample of the high performersagreed to take a GMA (general mental ability) test and this revealed norms thatwere well above average.
Gamages is now opening a new store inNewcastle. Key departmentmanagers fromLondonwill be invoLVed in setting it up. A senior HR business partner fromLondonhas been appointedas HR manager for the new store with two HR advisers responsible respectivelyfor recruitment and learning and development. A total of 80 sales associateswill need to be recruited and trained to start operations.
The HR adviser responsible for recruitment, a qualifiedpsychologist, organized the campaign, making use of the internet, agencies,advertisements and a recruitment fair. She also considered what selectionmethods should be used.
Describe the approach to selection that theHR adviser might adopt and how it would be developed.
TheLondonexperience has given useful information about the characteristics of effectivesales associates. Consideration would have to be given to the extent, if any,that these might need to be modified to fit the culture inNewcastleand the North-east. Next, a roleprofile for a sales associate could be produced that would spell out thecompetencies required. A framework for a competency-based structured interviewcould then be prepared (it might be useful for those tackling the case to beasked to draw up the framework). One of the things to be decided is how theselection procedure can identify the personal characteristics required forsuccess in Gamages – behaviours, values and attitudes – as well as the extentto which candidates have relEVAnt skills and experience.
The use of structured situational-based orbehavioural- (competency-) based interviewing techniques should also beconsidered, possibly with examples of the sort of questions that might be putto applicants.