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    Retail booms, Manpower crunch boomerangs

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    Himani Sharma, a statistician by profession recently landed in the national capital from Agra, her home town upon receiving an offer letter from one of the country’s leading research firms. After meeting her accomodation before she become a part of Delhi’s fast life, she visited a leading retail chain outlet to satisfy her appetite for daily usage.

    “Forget about the availability of the goods in the store, the staff hardly bothers to inform you about the placement of the products you demand,” says Himani.

    “Interestingly, most of the things were not available and in case they were; one was cursorily told that “it’s not for sale”. Reason: “Tags have not been received yet so the item is not listed into the computer,” she comments.

    India has already touched population figures of over 1.1 billion. The government never tires of patting the country’s booming young workforce as the key to economic growth. But a glaring crunch of the right work force is what retail businesses faces today. Commenting on the lack of desired talent, , managing director, , stresses on the necessity of trained manpower to manage the recurring challenges that occur on the shop floor. Reason: customers, today, demand more value and look for a better shopping experience.

    “A company spends huge money on advertising and branding of product. What purpose is it for? True! The customers. But sadly at the time, when this excited customer walks into a comapny outlet, the response he gets from the employees present cools down the desire to actually purchase” feels Rajiv Mathur, president and CEO of Delhi-based Aakansha Management Group.

    “The front line staff of a retail outlet should be trained in such a manner that cordiality and hospitality come naturally, from the heart. The organisation set up and motto should be such that the message to serve with enthusiasm should have a trickle down effect to the front line staff,” adds Mathur.

    Taking the discussion further, Dr Santrupt B Misra, director, group HR & IT, , said, “Companies may be very enthusiastic with advertising expenditures but we train the front line staff to maintain a dignified distance from the customer, when they visit the store.”

    “An over-enthusiastic staff can sometimes intrude into the privacy of the customer,” adds Misra.

    “Such factors should be considered during the HR training. While, the employee must work on the behaviour, the HR should identify right candidate” adds Misra.

    —Shailesh Shah