1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My programme involves on the job learning as well as classroom based training sessions. Currently I am within the sales associate role however considered more of a senior sales associate with managerial responsibilities. Day to day I do rotas, trade reports and communicate with my managers on any other additional tasks I can take on throughout the day such as sorting through deliveries or visual merchandising. Being in a customer facing role I communicate with people of different cultures and backgrounds regularly which has contributed to my own personal development and made me more culturally aware. I often am supported by management to conduct projects to increase the performance of the team through coaching on the shop floor and training sessions.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt new skills mainly through the training courses on offer to me from learning and development. I have had in depth training on sales, communicationm, customer service and inter-cultural awareness which focuses on training us about the three major nationalities of clients we serve. These are Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern. I have certainly developed my skills in resilliance and composure as I have been exposed to different personalities and learnt ways of adapting my approach to different characters.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
My programme allowed me to move across the business into three different departments. This has enabled me to meet and work with many different teams whom I have shadowed and learnt from. I have also had the pleasure of having a few different management teams which has exposed me to different managerial styles and which style I respond best to. Overall the culture has been very positive and very supportive and I feel, particularly in the learning and devlopment department, that I always have a point of contact and the team is very approachable. I have certianly enjoyed my time on the programme although it has had its ups and downs. Coming into it I didnt really know what to expect however I was really pleased with the way the programme was structured and the support we have had the whole way through.
4. How valued do you feel by Harrods?
Working in Harrods has meant I have moved across the business into different deapartments. This has meant I have had various different managers and I feel it is fair to say that some managers have shown more appreciation than others. In particular I have found that when my managers have been ex graduates (ie from the graduate programme), they have shown me more recognition as they understand the concept of my programme better and give me the support I need. In some departmemts I have been approached to take part in projects and in others it has been up to myself to initiate projects. This has meant that not all my projects I feel were as valued as others although for my own personal development I have benefitted from the efforts I have put into all of my projects. Ultimately I feel it depends on the department and the management team as to how valued you feel within your role.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
When applying for the programme we were all a little unsure how the programme was to be structured, however in our programme induction we were well informed as to the structure of the programme and how we would all be put into three six month placements. At the beginning of each placement we were provided with a learning overview which was a month by month breakdown as to what we would be learning each month on the shop floor and in training sessions.We would also have meetings with senior directors scheuled in and we would meet with our trainer once a month to catch up and discuss our development. I think we all found that within the first placement we recieved a lot of practical training however the second and third placements were composed of a lot more meetings with stakeholders and talks from people working in different areas of the business (ie personal shopping). Overall I was very pleased with the organisation and support of the programme.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My training provider I feel is very approachable and always helpful. She on many occasions has provided me with good advice and out me in contact with the necessary people across the business. Even though my training provider has a very busy calander she always does her best to catch up with all of us as well as communicating with us all on a regular basis via email to update us with important news or events around the business.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have had some strong managers throught my time in the business. In my current placement my managers are both new however they are doing their best to get to grips with the logistics of my programme and the support I will need. I feel the fact that they are new has meant my support in this placement has not been as strong as other management support although in general I feel that in Harrods there are many channels of support in my mentor and the learning and development team. My mentor is someone who has been successful in the Harrods Management Programme and he catches up with me regularly on my progress and to give his best advice on my next steps.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary meets with my costs well. Although my travel costs are expensive, for a school leaver and where I am currently starting out my career I feel my salary is fine.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a few fitness opportunies where Harrods provides fitness classes weekly in the evenings although I have never attended as they are not that local to me. When I am not working I read, go to the gym and engage in other social activities.
9. Would you recommend Harrods to a friend?
Harrods - The support is fantastic and you get a really good, sound knowledge and experience of the world of luxury retail. There are also great development opportunities within the business.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Harrods?
My advice to apply for the Harrods programme is to be well prepared. Make sure you research the Harrods brand and history. Be confident and ask questions in your assessment centre and one to one interview and make sure you look the part. Have a look at how Harrods staff dress and use this as an example for how you should dress.
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