Retail Job Management Issues

For about a year and a half, during the end of high school and the beginning of college, I worked at GameStop. During that time I had three different managers and many different assistant managers. After learning more about operations management, I can reflect on what my managers did well and did poorly. Some of the things that were managed poorly explain why I did not enjoy working there a lot of the time.

One of the main issues at GameStop was what tasks were seen as higher importance than others. As an associate, my job was to work the register and to organize and put away games on the shelves. I found that the other associates would waste their time chatting while I was always sure to work on organizing games when I was not at the register. Whenever I would work, the store started off as a mess and I would get it organized while I was there. The problem here was that no one was being told that they should stop standing around and actually put games away. My managers would always complain to me that the other employees would not organize well, but did nothing about it.

Although I was always on task, I ended up being told that I was not doing well because my sales numbers were not high enough. Some days I would get great numbers, but other days I would not, which showed that what customers buy is not completely dependent on me and how I sell the game, but much more the customers decision. I do understand that selling the games and memberships is of high importance, but I think my managers could have focused on more than just numbers when it comes to employee reviews.

These complaints bugged me and gave me less motivation to work hard, but what I really thought was a poor decision was how my manager decided to schedule me and the other employees at my level. It was clear that I was better at organizing the store and that the other associates were better at selling. Since my numbers were not great, my manager decided to put me on the schedule for busy nights so I could get better at selling, thus pushing the other employees to less busy days. While it is good to learn and get better at what we are not good at, I think it would have made much more sense to put me on the less busy nights so I could focus on getting the store organized and fixing and cleaning up what other employees had organized poorly. The result of the new schedule was that the store was a mess because I had no time to clean it and we did not get great numbers because I was not skilled at that.

Do you think it is more important to have employees improve on what they are not good at or is it better to delegate tasks according to skill level, in order to have higher productivity levels?

6 thoughts on “Retail Job Management Issues

  1. Very interesting question. I think this plays a role in different managerial styles as well. Personally, I feel it is best to do a combination of both, however only in a perfect world would this happen 24/7. If I had to pick, I would prefer to delegate according to skill level to yield the highest efficiency as well as success rate. I think assigning tasks according to personnel you believe can achieve the task best shows your knowledge of your employee skill-set(s), as well as delegation skills. Often, managers face difficulties in completing projects on time because they do not assign and delegate properly, however if one is able to understand their employees’ strengths and weaknesses it can dramatically allow a project to be completed on time if not earlier.

  2. This is an excellent example of poor operational management and conversely, a great example of a potential improvement in the operational management decisions of GameStop. One of the first things that immediately jumped out at me is the motivation and willingness to work. I believe it us completely a manager’s responsibility if employees no longer wish to work there and if turnover becomes high. Blaming individuals for poor sales metrics, scheduling employees improperly based on different skill levels, and making the workplace an environment of blame rather than responsibility are all clear signs of a need for change in management at GameStop. If I was the manager, I would have placed certain employees with sales skills on shift during busy hours while scheduling the organized employees during slow hours. However, the management shouldn’t stop there. Good management would attempt to increase the strengths of these different employees while also attempting to decrease their weaknesses (i.e Teaching the sales employees how to organize better and teaching organized employees how to sell). Great example.

  3. This was a really interesting post. I found the point where your manager was complaining to you about other employees, as if you are suppose to do something about it, instead of them. Also, your last point was a perfect example of inept leadership. Instead of keeping you on the slow shifts where you excelled at cleaning the store they put you on the busy shift where you may not have been the best sales rep, but you did not have the time to clean the store. Consequently, the store was a mess and the sales numbers were down. This is not to say that you should always be on the slow shifts, but the managers should have helped you improve your selling skills and slowly built you up to the busy shift. And at the same time they should have helped the other employees develop their organizing skills. Overall, I believe we are more willing to work on the areas we are strong at, which will hopefully strengthen our weak points at the same time.

  4. A very helpful topic indeed. I feel that if you look at a larger scale, big projects fail because the managers fail to realize the true potential of an employee. Employers who manage the employees using an autocratic style fail to understand the true potential of their employees. In your case, if your manager would have talked to you about this the outcome would have been different because you know how to manage the stock and inventory and he wants you to manage the sales. A good manager usually has a democratic leadership style and encourages two way communication with the employees which helps in discussion and troubleshooting problems before they occur.

  5. I had the same issue when it came to my workplace. I work in a salon where making number is of high importance. If numbers were not made then the employees hours would get cut. I don’t think this was the right way to help someone try to improve their numbers. I believe it is a manager’s duty to personally help the employee with tips and tricks to help sell. Since I work alone during salon hours I think it is important to make sales numbers with keep up with salon duties. In your case, as a team, I believe everyone should be delegated tasks that they are excel at. This would increase productivity during store hours.

  6. A great interesting post the caught my eye. To your question I would say that it is better to delegate tasks according to skill level, in order to have higher productivity levels because it will run a company better. But i can also see what your manager was trying to accomplish, he wanted you to improve in certain areas for future excellence. However the manager did have faults when it came down to making sure all employees did their job and did it correctly. Every manager has their own way of handling business and we should take that into consideration. All we can do is give a few opinions about what can be done to make improvements.

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