Two young store employees

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Harj Dhasee outside shop

For the last three months, Harj Dhasee, who owns Morrisons Daily Mickleton in Gloucestershire and Wilmcote Village Store in Stratford-Upon-Avon, has been training up three supervisors to eliminate the need for middle management. 

“There’s a massive skills gap,” says Harj. “I was trying to recruit a store assistant manager, but people don’t show up, or have the wrong experience, so we’ve changed tack - we’re training our supervisor group internally. They’re all younger members of staff, under 21. We’re bringing them on a journey - we’ve upped their hours and expressed what we want from them.”

The idea is to help his supervisors to understand the bigger picture and the importance of delegating a task and following it up. “We’re helping them understand our wastage, and what happens when someone’s not performing,” says Harj. “It’s really getting people to understand it’s a team effort. If you have two or three days off a week - they know the other person has to cover. ” 

He’s also looking at the options of increasing pay, or offering a staff discount to reward each individual’s performance. “It’s not about stick, it’s about carrots,” he explains. “We don’t point out where they’re lacking, but we look at areas where we haven’t achieved.”

He plans to score the employees in each area. “What I’m working on at the moment is the audit process, so they have a master sheet,” says Harj. “We’re working out a point-based criteria - Is the section filled correctly? Is it merchandised? Is it clean? Is everything labelled clearly and are the labels up to date? We’ll try and break it down into three parts, and then ask whether the stockroom is tidy for that section too.” 

He has also introduced incentives to keep the employees motivated. “We’ve given them £20 each - and said we’ll take a pound off you for every mistake we notice.” 

Harj concedes that it is taking longer than he thought, but staff are ultimately more fulfilled and more interested in the business, which can only be a good thing. “We’re just trying to work a bit smarter with the team we do have,” he says. “They’re definitely more engaged.”