List of Hard Skills You Should Search for in Retail Employees
Owning a retail business comes with many challenges and roadblocks that can make you want to rip your hair out and rethink whether or not the decision to open a business was a good idea. You have to worry about vendors, irritated customers, online reviews, employees, competitors, creating employee schedules, along with a host of other issues that come with running a retail business. While being a business owner in this sector can sometimes feel hopeless, having the right team of employees by your side can make all the difference by their ability to make your life easier and lift the spirits of your business. That said, finding quality employees that have the skills you need is no easy feat. The retail sector has one of the highest turnover rates among all industries and store owners must find the hidden gems among their applicants to assure they sustain a high level of quality.
One way of assuring that you only bring in the highest level of applicants is by having a list of hard skills that you would like to have within your team of employees. Along with that, you should make sure to download our guide for asking the right questions to bring in the highest quality of employee.
What are Hard Skills?
Hard skills are very specific quantifiable abilities and talents that can be taught and have a clear way of being measured. These skills are highly valued and sought after in the workforce due to them being rare to find, unlike soft skills, which aren’t as difficult to find among employees. So having a strong list of hard skills is effective for bringing in employees with the skills to help your store.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are defined as character traits and other interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationship and interaction with other people. While soft skills are nice to have among your employees, they ultimately serve as a compliment to hard skills and a person’s knowledge and other occupational skills.
Which is more important, hard skills or soft skills?
This question, in particular, is difficult to answer. Hard skills and soft skills each serve their own purpose and asking which is more important is like asking which departments of your company are more important. At the end of the day, you’ll need all of your departments working together in order for your company to be successful. It’s the same way for hard and soft skills, while hard skills are more difficult to find and technically are more “valuable”, you still need soft skills to compliment them and to make sure they have the communication skills to be successful. That’s why it’s a good idea to build a list of hard skills as well as a list of soft skills.
List of Soft Skills
To give you a better idea of what soft skills entail, take a look at the list below at a handful of soft skills that are valuable in retail environments:
- Public speaking
- Nonverbal/ verbal communication
- Conflict management
- Leadership abilities
- Dispute resolution
- Project management
- Strong work ethic
List of Hard skills
Now that you’re properly filled in on what constitutes as hard skills and soft skills, continue reading as we give you a list of hard skills that are the most valuable and that you should be on the lookout for when recruiting new retail employees.
1. Speaking more than one language
Did you know that the United States technically doesn’t have an official language?
Along with that, did you know the number of Spanish speakers is expected to rise up to 43 million in the US by the year 2020?
These figures are evidence enough to prove that being able to speak more than one language is definitely an ability to add to your list of hard skills. While this isn’t to say that all businesses are expected to cater to all non-English speakers, just that having someone on your team able to communicate with customers in their native language can be a large advantage you have over your competitors. This is especially true if you’re in an area with a large amount of immigrants and non-native speakers. Along with that, this isn’t limited to Spanish, if you’re in an area with a large number of Korean, Nigerian, etc. immigrants, recruit employees from the specific groups so you have someone on your team that can communicate effectively with them.
2. Strong math skills
Have you imagined what would happen if your register were to ever break down or to stop working for whatever reason? While your cashiers could always just use calculators, you still would like for them to have the ability to do calculations within a reasonable amount of time so as to not frustrate or irritate your customers. That’s why having strong math skills should be decently high up on your list of hard skills to look for within your retail employees.
3. Basic computer skills
The retail industry isn’t like what it used to be, computers are seeping into every aspect of our lives and most retail jobs use computers for their POS systems, inventory, as well as a number of other tasks. While you shouldn’t make it mandatory that employees need to be able to do a wide range of excel functions just to get a job, just look for employees that have a reasonable amount of experience with computers. This is especially true if your store’s operations rely on the use of computers for any of its main functions. Also, if they have experience in using Excel, you can use this to your advantage to help keep up with inventory among other things.
4. Driving a vehicle
You probably weren’t expecting this one but it’s important to add to your list of hard skills nonetheless. Having people on your team that are able to drive a vehicle will be priceless when the situation arises. While it may seem like most people have licenses, there are certain areas where driving isn’t very common (ex: New York City) so it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for candidates that have their licenses. If you’re a chain with multiple locations in the area, you may need someone to haul equipment or merchandise to other locations whenever you’re in a pinch. Also, if you’re a restaurant, there’s always the possibility that you all may end up making the switch to include delivery options.
This one is especially crucial for your list of hard skills if you’re in the foodservice industry. The ability to give CPR and properly resuscitate someone is an invaluable skill and having someone on your team with this knowledge will help put a lot of people at ease. While a certificate for CPR isn’t something that is typically found on a resume or cover letter, you want to start asking your candidates if they have the ability to do so during your interviews. You never know when this skill will come in handy, and when the situation arises, you’ll be glad you did.
6. Website design/ HTML
Although this may seem like a step above retail, stores of all types are making the transition to having e-commerce websites to supplement their income and if you don’t have all the skills yourself to make it happen, there’s nothing wrong with getting some help from your friendly team of employees. This is one example of how recruiting college students can come in handy. Html is often taught in many introductory classes and they will be happy to help with projects.
7. Cooking ability
Knowing which ingredients go with which is no easy feat and is the exact reason why many chefs go to culinary school to strengthen their ability. If you’re in the foodservice industry, make sure to ask your candidates about their prior professional experiences. If they mention that they’ve worked as a Culinary chef or a Sous chef in the past, then you know that they have sufficient experience in being able to cook. Looking for candidates with with strong cooking abilities should definitely be added to your list of hard skills.
8. Information technology
You never know when your systems may come across an issue that causes everything to shut down, leaving you scratching your head and wondering what to do next. This is when it’s useful to have a handful of employees that are reasonably skilled in dealing with IT issues.
You want the best of the best for your retail business, this is done by making sure you have a clear idea of what you want from employees. This goes a long way in raising the overall standards of your workforce and will show how your customers feel about your business. Once you build your stellar team of employees, you’re going to want to make sure you have the right operations in place so scheduling isn’t a hassle for your employees or managers. To take a free trial of the same employee scheduling software used by Amazon, Nike, and Ace Hardware, click on the button below.