1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is as a sales associate; I provide customers with excellent customer service and assist them in picking out items within the store, as well as assisting with the day to day running of my department; cleaning, tidying and ensuring good stock rotation.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes, I have developed my communication skills; through talking to customers and ensuring I meet their needs as well as colleagues. I have also developed the skill of working under pressure as i am given quite a large amount of responsibility within the department as I have senior systems so have to solve customer issues. I have also developed my resilience, as when I make a mistake I have had to quickly learn from that mistake and improve.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the programme as I get to experience new things (when moving departments), meet and work with new people and learn a variety of skills and selling techniques at training sessions; which i've also found useful outside of my professional life. The staff at Harrods are so willing to help and my manager has been so keen for me to learn that it has made me even more motivated to be successful within the business. I love that every day brings something new.
4. How valued do you feel by Harrods?
I feel very valued by Harrods as everyone invests so much time into the programme, whether that be my sales manager who encourages me and sits down to teach me the computer system or the top directors of the company who give us an overview of their career and provide us with advice in order to be successful.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
So far I feel it has been well organised, we have a schedule of training sessions which has mostly been stuck to, sometimes times or dates have had to change but that is understandable in a large, dynamic business. We have regular catch ups as a group to touch base and revise some of the previous training we have received. There is a good combination of interactive courses (for example training with an actor on improvisation on the shop floor) and courses where we just can sit and take in (for example talks on directors' career paths).
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We have the opportunity for regular catch ups with the training provider to keep an eye on our progress and ensure we are doing everything we can to be successful in our departments.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a large amount of support from my employer, whether that be the season ticket loan they offer to enable affordable travel for staff to the in house doctor if anyone is unwell and needs attention. As well as those in built benefits, the management team within my department have given me a great deal of support throughout my time at Harrods, offering to teach me certain vital skills and checking in on how I'm doing, they made me feel instantly comfortable and have allowed me to gain confidence in an area in which I had previously little experience. Moreover, someone is always available if you have an issue or need guidance, anyone from the team is always open to help.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary meets all my costs and allows me to live in London with a small amount left over for leisure activities or unessential goods.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are wonderful opportunities to assist the local and global community by doing volunteer work or fundraising. Harrods allow you to take part in these during work time, enabling you to be fully committed to the cause. There are also free fitness classes which Harrods fund, providing staff with opportunity to maintain their physical health which then has a positive impact on their work.
9. Would you recommend Harrods to a friend?
Because it is providing me with a vast amount of work experience which is becoming ever more valuable in an overcrowded workplace; the programme not only gives me the skills to be successful in my current position but also provides me with the skills needed to further my career, whichever industry that may be in. In addition, Harrods as a business is a joy to work for, and as someone only just coming into the workplace full time, the company has made the step very easy and welcomed me in a way that has left me feeling completely comfortable and confident to carry out my role and take on increased responsibility. It is the perfect step into the world of work.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Harrods?
If you think the programme sounds like its for you then just go for it, you won't regret it. It is a commitment, however the rewards of this commitment are so great, the experience you will receive, the years of knowledge and experience in retail which will be passed onto you are so valuable and really give you an insight into not only the world of retail but the world of business. Make sure you know Harrods as a business well and are passionate about the opportunity, then you can't go wrong.
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