Recruiting, selecting and training entrepreneurial managers
An Arcadia case study

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Page 5: Training

The Arcadia Group regards training as vital to the company's continuing success. The Group believes that high quality training will provide the company with its future managers. The Group provides new recruits with a structured training and career programme. This develops their portfolio of skills and builds on their potential.

Recruits experience both informal and formal training. For example:

  • on the job training- working alongside established and experienced managers in the branches. Approximately 90% of a trainee's time is spent on the shop floor so on the job training is very important.
  • workshops- in the training year there are six group workshops. Each focuses on a particular issue e.g. team motivation, planning for future success, developing others.
  • formal training courses
  • coaching and mentoring
  • placements - in the first year, each trainee works in a particular branch. They also have a minimum of two placements at other stores for at least two weeks each. During these placements, trainees are accountable for branch profitability and performance.

 Arcadia sets out a clear career path for employees who join the Management Programmes and who are successful at each stage. A trainee will typically be appointed to their first management position within 12 months of joining the programme.

At Arcadia, the responsibilities of a Retail Manager include:

  • motivating and coaching team members
  • championing brand initiatives
  • delivering excellent customer service
  • keeping up to date with new fashion trends
  • being aware of competitors
  • making crucial decisions regarding a store's day to day operations.

Head Office functions within Arcadia that have entry level positions for Graduates include Merchandising, Buying, Distribution, Human Resources and Finance. On the job training is competency based within Head Office.

This structured framework not only allows training and development requirements to be identified and acted upon, but also gives complete autonomy for the speed of personal development and related rewards. Whether based in Head Office or in store, there is considerable responsibility given at an early stage.

Wherever possible, the company encourages recruitment for particular positions from within the group. This is known as internal recruitment. Some benefits of internal recruitment are that these people:

  • know the culture of the business already; this means that they understand how the business works and already have a network of contacts so can adapt to their new role more easily
  • know how the business works; this saves time in training
  • are motivated to remain with the business because of the promotion opportunities; this reduces recruitment costs because staff stay longer.

One trainee's view of the MTP

Sara Caleb - Management Trainee, Evans

'I started the Management Trainee Programme with an induction in Evans, Bluewater. It was a really hectic few weeks with plenty for me to learn! Whilst on the training programme I've been involved in so many exciting things. Along with daily tasks and the training programme workshops, I've attended meetings with all managers from my area and I've worked with visual merchandisers. I've had placements in other branches, which gave me a taster for what is to come in the future when I have my own branch. I can't wait to see where the programme takes me next!'

Links with schools and colleges

To develop its links with communities and students, Arcadia is a major business partner to 50 secondary schools across England. The company is supporting them in their bids to gain specialist status as Business and Enterprise Colleges.

Arcadia provides both financial and business skills support to each of the sponsored schools. Every school will be linked to an Arcadia employee, who will provide support such as:

  • talking to students about retail careers and interview techniques
  • providing work experience opportunities for under 16's in local Arcadia stores
  • setting business studies projects.

Philip Green is keen for Arcadia to be involved in the education of young people. He is looking to help them develop their entrepreneurial and business talents. The Group's funding initiative promotes the attraction of working in retailing and builds school links with the local communities.

Arcadia | Recruiting, selecting and training entrepreneurial managers