Holland & Barrett Retail
Holland & Barrett Retail – Peterborough, England
• be an ambassador for the brand and the values it represents • maximise sales by providing excellent levels of customer service • promote the… Glassdoor
Holland & Barrett Retail
• be an ambassador for the brand and the values it represents • maximise sales by providing excellent… Glassdoor
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Holland & Barrett Retail – Nuneaton, England
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Holland & Barrett Retail – Eastleigh, England
• be an ambassador for the brand and the values it represents • maximise sales by providing excellent levels of… Glassdoor
Holland & Barrett Retail – Egham, England
• be an ambassador for the brand and the values it represents • maximise sales by providing excellent… Glassdoor
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I have been working at Holland & Barrett Retail full-time (more than 3 years)Pros
25% discount on all products even if they are on promotion. There is no limit placed on this but undoubtedly there would be an investigation if someone was deemed to be spending excessively.
50% discount for a 2 week period in December.(This has been changed to a one week period at the ned of October for some reason). This is limited and strictly enforced. In my opinion this is perfectly reasonable as there are always those looking to scam a system such as this. The limit is around 150 which means you can buy about 300 worth of product, not bad at all, especially for those little Christmas gifts.
Comprehensive staff training. 3 different levels, how far you go is in the first instance dependent on your contracted hours. However, all Associates are encouraged to complete all 3, the Induction, Product Advisor and Advanced Product Advisor courses for obvious reasons, the more knowledge you have the better you can advise people which usually means you sell more. Everybody working over 20hrs must complete all levels.
There are time limitations on these but except for the Induction which needs to be completed in 6 weeks I believe that you have ample time. PA is 6 months, APA 12 months. Again, perfectly reasonable in my opinion, H&B are a specialist retailer and you need to know what you're talking about .I should point out that like every other job where training is required you really get out what you put in here. That said, you need 85% to pass each course so in theory people really should know their stuff.
Pay rates for Associates aren't too bad. A new Associate will start on minimum wage (8.65) but progression through the training levels is also financially incentivised. After you complete the Induction you earn commission, currently 1% of all sales (excluding VAT), which is shared, regardless of position held, based on how many hours you worked that day rather on who actually completes the transaction at the till. This is a very fair and sensible arrangement.
Commission will run somewhere between 80c to 2 Euro an hour but the 2 would definitely be a rarely attained maximum figure. What branch you work has a huge bearing on your earning ability as obviously the lower turnover stores will always have lower average commission
Completing the PA brings only a paltry extra 20c an hour, the APA is a more generous 80c on top of that again. It's the commission that make it worthwhile.
Good opportunity for advancement as the company is still in expansionist mode and staff turnover can get high at times.
The customers are in general easy to get on and pretty pleasant in my experience.
The vast majority of the staff are decent people who work hard and are genuinely interested in helping people get the right product at the best price. You can get a real sense of satisfaction when someone returns to thank you for helping them.
Despite what some people might tell you, most (but not all, I admit) of the own brand products are of decent quality and all are manufactured to GMP specs.
Sales target bonus paid to managers.
Stock bonus (based on stock take) paid to managers.Cons
Pay rates for management - Managers can expect to earn between 11.50 to 13 an hour (exluding commission, bonus payments) depending on turnover. Assistant Managers between 10.50 - 11.50 an hour (excluding commission) depending on turnover. In my opinion this is very poor considering the work involved.
Shocking and recurring incidents of incompetence being shown by nameless faceless people at head office. Anyone can make a mistake but when the same mistakes get repeated numerous times despite repeated reporting of said mistakes, you know you've got a serious problem. For example, how hard can it be to ensure that Irish POS is priced in Euro and not Sterling before it's printed up and shipped over?! Do you know or even care how many problems this causes us? How much money does it cost the company to rectify the issue? There appears to be huge blind spot with the Irish stores that serves to make us feel undervalued and disrespected.
The security is an absolute disgrace, there's no other word for it. Far, far too much lone working and considering the vast majority of staff are women this has the potential have very serious consequences. No CCTV in the vast majority of stores which means H&B is a shoplifters paradise. The security tags (for those stores that actually have them) are almost a complete waste of time as they can generally be removed in seconds with very little effort. I'm convinced that a huge quantity of store theft is committed by a small cohort of recidivist criminals and if you could get a good picture of them in the act then at least they could be barred. CCTV would also have the effect of discouraging the opportunists or those who's social standing would make a conviction an acutely embarrassing event (and make no mistake, it's very far from our hoop ear-ringed, track suit wearing cousins who are responsible for all the theft, they're are just the most obvious perpetrators! Frankly you'd be astonished at some of the people doing it, the so called "respectable people" doing it for kicks or just because they can)
After the appalling and tragic events earlier this year in Kilkenny the fact the the company has made no effort whatsoever to improve security is in my opinion an absolutely breathtaking indictment of the attitude of the upper echelons. It makes a lie out of all those memo's we routinely get from Mr. Aldis et al about how "it's the shop staff who make this company so great". According to recent articles, H&B has maintained a 6 year run of continued growth....how come none of that money is put back into ensuring that at the very least nobody will ever be on their own in a store?! Because it'll hit the bottom line is the answer, simple as that.
The stores are routinely understaffed, this is a deliberate policy that makes perfect sense from a business perspective when all you're interested is the bottom line. However, there is a knock on effect (other than security concerns) which is mostly borne by Managers and to a lesser extent Assistant Managers, this being that you work far more hours than your contracted 38.75. You will not ever be paid for this, you will receive no lieu time, you will receive no thanks. It will never even be acknowledged that this happens. In a larger turnover store expect to work a minimum of 45 hrs but often around 50 a week. You will in effect work a 6 day week while only getting paid for 5 and you will do this every week.
This type of scenario is I'm sure being replicated to a greater or lesser extent across the retail and other sectors as most businesses just expect their managers to get on with it without ever acknowledging how much money they are saving by having those hours worked for free. This wouldn't be so bad if you were getting well paid....you've seen the rates, what do you think?
Initially you don't really think about it, you tell yourself it's normal and shows you care, that you're hard working and conscientious. You get stuck in as you want to make a good impression, you want your store to make target and to keep your Area Manager happy.
The thing is, after doing this for a few years you begin to look around and take stock. You see other managers move on and hear them being bad mouthed on the qt... how dare they leave the much loved, good for you H&B?! They were rubbish anyway!... despite years of service running target making stores.You ask yourself, why would they say this about a colleague you knew and respected? The answer is if course that too high a staff turnover makes the upper echelons/company look bad.
It dawns on you that upper management don't really care about you or all the time you've taken from your personal life and put into your store. They don't care about the stress you're under trying to provide great customer service and giving advice while trying to keep the store cleaned, properly stocked, paperwork 100% Sarbannes compliant, staff trained all while woefully under resourced.You begin to feel used and you become utterly disillusioned and it occurs to you that all the goodwill you had towards the company when you started has been squeezed out of you by ever increasing, never ceasing demands coming down from on high.
I spoke about the commission earlier in the pro section. It's great bonus and a properly run scheme but there is of course a caveat. This being that it's dependent on customers going online and filling out a minimum number of surveys every month and ensuring that you get top marks.
Not enough surveys? - no commission
Under 60% average? - no commission
Between 60 and 80% average? - Half commission
This affects the entire team too, not just the person who may have messed up somehow.
Stock bonus, you can pretty much forget about it. The targets are very tight and it's also dependent on a myriad of other factors outside just the stock take. The company never release the figures of what % of stores make it but I suspect it's a very low. I put it in the pro section too because getting it is a possibility and they are reviewing the scheme so it may get better in the future.
Target bonus About 25%of our area would make it any given month. Not ludicrous but not particularly good either. Expect to get between 92 - 137 per month based on store turnover. Again, it's not great but you feel it if you miss out.
Pricing - far too many of our products are so vastly overpriced it's embarrassing. You'll get asked the question "is it on offer?" many, many, many times...just a heads up :). The prices are of course deliberately set this way so we can then put them on "sale". Most people are aware of this practice but you still get a percentage of people who need to vent their spleen about the prices and will have a real cut off you about it.... because of course you're the one who sets the prices right?...oh hang on!
That said, Google Ron Johnson from JCPenney in the states and see what happened when he set all the prices at their "real" value. People love to get a bargain even when it's patently obvious that it's not a real bargain.
We will always price match branded products if asked but when there are well known brands that can be bought for 25% - 50% less across the street that is simply gouging people in my view and is something that is also contributing to my sense of unhappiness with H&B.
The vast majority of customers are great but H&B does seem to attract a higher than usual (even for retail) percentage of unpleasant, obnoxious people.The training is good, but we're not doctors or pharmacists yet some people expect that sort of knowledge from us and can occasionally get quite agitated/rude when we are, for obvious reasons, unable to provide that kind of service. If you haven't worked in retail before just be warned that it can be hard going at times.
Very poor communication about important issues from upper level management. It's absolutely mind boggling. If you were to ask them about it they'd probably look at you cross eyed in utter bewilderment as they're so convinced of the great job they're doing!
Finally, the amount of questions we have to ask at the till....You've shopped in there, you know what I'm talking about! This is company policy and universally despised by the staff, but we have to do it, so the next time you're in a H&B and the Associate is going through their 20 questions routine, just cut them some slack...Please!Advice to ManagementAdvice
You should be aware that if/when the economy picks up anyone worth keeping will leave. Most managers are already keeping an eye on the jobs pages. All you do is talk about improvements, but nothing changes. You carry a big and growing stick but you dangle a small and shrinking carrot...and people are totally fed up. Most would be gone in the morning given an opportunity. They'd go for better money with the same conditions maybe or perhaps the same money with better conditions...but you want it both ways and somethings got to give.
My advice to anyone thinking about H&B as an associate is that it's challenging but can be a great experience especially if you have a good manager that'll shield you from most of the nonsense.You will work harder than in most other retail jobs and that may not be reflected in your pay packet though and most of the training will be done on your own time too. Another thing to consider is that you will be expected to engage with customers and be confident with the advice that you're giving them so if you are on the the quiet side then maybe this won't be for you.
For people considering management, yeah, well you've read my review. If you're younger with less experience it might well be worth it. You'll work very hard but you'll also learn a lot.n You'll also have pretty stable job security as H&B are still expanding in these trying times. My advice would be that if you go for it then go in with a plan to get out after 3 - 4 years max. You'll have gotten your experience but will leave before the disillusionment sets in. You should also be aware that this is a very hands on role, so you need to be physically fit. There's a lot more doing than delegating!
Don't believe any of the promises that might be made at interview, the reality is what I outlined above. There hasn't been a pay rise in the Irish stores in over 10 years so don't expect one. All you'll get is excuses as to why they can't pay. Get the details about pay bonus scheme etc as they can be pretty light on details sometimes. Again, it's just a culture of poor communication at the top levels.
If you're older/more management experience I think you could do a lot better to be honest. There are other retailers out there who will pay better, treat you with more respect and will have more realistic expectations about what you can do with the resources given to you.
So, there it is, not all doom and gloom, but definitely a company that could and should be so much better than it is. I hope it helps!Doesn't RecommendPositive OutlookNo opinion of CEO