Holiday Help Unprepared

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about training: Helping untrained holiday employees adversely affects my sales; what should I do?

I work for Macy’s Co. Obviously this is a large corporation and we have a large corporate office that controls how the stores are run. I have been at my Macy’s location for a year and a half. During the holiday season, from approximately Halloween to New Year’s we are very busy, which magnifies the problem that we have.

The training program Macy’s provides is very generic and hands free. It is an eight hour computer demonstration that involves little to no human instruction. The computer trains the newly hired employees how to use the cash register, complete merchandise returns and how to interact with the customer. Although eight hours is a long amount of time, the missing human interaction leaves many questions unanswered.

During the holidays we hire many new employees to assist with our increased store traffic. However, many of the new employees are unsure what to do on the actual sales floor. This places a strain on the more veteran employees who not only must assist the customers, but must also help and even sometimes continue the training of the newer employees.

My question is what advice to you have for me when I am busy with my own work and my co-worker is not able to do his or her job? Should I help them as much as possible or focus on my assigned tasks? Macy’s does value teamwork; however, we all have our own individual sales goals to meet and balancing the two is often difficult.

Signed, Should I Help When I’m Busy

Dear Should I Help When I’m Busy:

I think it is very important that you speak with your supervisor about this issue. Maybe she/he is unaware that helping unprepared holiday help inhibits your customer service. I believe that this problem is bigger than you and that management may want to consider supplemental training to aid the corporate program. Is this an issue that would cause you to leave? If not, speak with your manager or move on from there.

The new employees will learn the ropes over time. Be patient and helpful, but do not do their job for them. Stay positive during the holiday season, even if your manager does not notice, the customers will. This answer is short, but makes sense. If you want a more detailed advice scan the Workplace Archives, they have detailed suggestions, such as focus on cutting wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted money and also ask your manager to have you who are in your area to develop a set of dos and don’ts about when you assist one another. Best of luck.

Guest Respondent Courtney Sveda