Sir; The Coca-Cola Retailing Research Group (CCRRG) report about recruitment in the food industry ('Food must try harder for talent, The Grocer, May 24th) and Nigel Broome's article ('How to banish retail myths', The Grocer, May 24th highlight two critical issues facing food retailers today - retention of the right employers and the attitude and performance of the store manager.
The two issues are linked, not only to each other, but to the most difficult piece of the HR jigsaw to measure ­ behaviour. What is it that makes a top performer a top performer?
We can measure all kinds of key performance indicators and ratios, but how have these results been achieved? How do employees really think they are being managed?
The most effective way of gathering honest, focused behavioural information is to use a programme of 360 degree feedback.
It provides a vehicle by which everyday management activities and behaviours are captured, and measured against the retailer's own success criteria. This establishes how their behaviours match both the corporate objectives and, importantly, compares the manager's own view to that of staff, colleagues and line manager. This measure reveals unique information about the gaps in perceptions of their performance and highlights how self-aware the manager is.
The benchmarking opportunity the surveys provide are invaluable in recruiting the right people first time, helping to improve retention but also matching the recruited skills to those of the top performers.
There are now many ways of accessing 360 degree feedback programmes.
Internet, intranet and extranet along with paper-based solutions all provide retention and performance management benefits beyond traditional methods.