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recruitment-retail-sussex

The Shore Group’s Meet the Retail Team

In this month’s instalment of Meet the Team, we will be talking to Dan Chittenden, our
Head of Retail based in our Nottingham office. Dan is going to tell us about the work him
and his team have been doing recently to support the country’s supermarkets during
COVID-19.

Hi, Dan. So firstly, could you explain your role at TSG:

My primary role is to head up our Retail division. The division has a broad customer base of
blue chip national multiple retailers, product vendors and other service providers, who we
support with a range of Retail based services from Programme/Project Management,
Equipment Management and Installations to Merchandising, the latter of which remains our
core offer.

The services provided support our customer base deliver new stores, refits, category range
reviews and estate wide implementation rollouts as effectively and efficiently as possible, as
well as general store support for peak trading periods or other exceptional store trading
circumstances.

We provide a unique end to end service that allows us to take full accountability of delivery
whilst passing on cost savings to our customers. However, each customer is unique and as
such our service can be uniquely bespoke to match from individual services to a full end to
end solution.

I oversee a top team of Managers that manage the accounts, scheduling, risk, compliance
and for me most uniquely of all, a fully operational 24/7 manned support centre office. This
means that we always have somebody at the end of a phone or email at a time when
needed the most, given that much of our activity takes place at what others call ‘Out of
Hours’.

How long have you been working at The Shore Group?

4 amazing years. WOW, where did that go?

What do you most enjoy about working at The Shore Group?

The ‘Can Do’ attitude. The diversity and the willingness of the business to diversify into
other areas. Above all, the way that the team from top to bottom, work together to not only
deliver but deliver having fun along the way.

What have been your greatest achievements at The Shore Group?

Helping to build a team that has taken the Retail division from a regionalised sub-contractor
to an industry leading national direct provider. Building a unique service offer with unique
ways of working, that we will continue to develop. Watch this space.

How many workers have you guys provided to supermarkets across the UK?

We peaked at 1272 retail workers being provided across several Retailers within the UK in
varying sectors. We had requests for hundreds more, but we have a unique way of working
to our industry, whereby we supply own labour only and will not subcontract any of our
works to third parties, so we limited ourselves to this. We believe that you lose control over
HR Compliance, training inclusive of Health & Safety, as well as suitability and quality of the
labour provided by doing it any other way.

Our Installation teams have also been supporting various retailers up and down the UK with
the installation of protective screens.

What challenges have you and the retail team been facing throughout this?

There have been many but the key one has without question had to be the reactionary
nature to our customers requirements. Usually operating at circa 400 field operatives within
the division, we not only managed to achieve increasing this by more than three-fold within
7 days, but were then also able to react to changes in requirements (up, down or alternate
locations, all driven by the different trading patterns individual stores were facing
themselves, as well as the everchanging day to day and varying absences from site to site, as
more of our customers own colleagues self-isolated).

It was very satisfying that we achieved this in a way that stuck to our core principles as
described above.

We utilised field resources from within the other sectors that we operate within as a
business, entered into working partnerships with other businesses who were significantly
impacted by the effects of Covid-19 (the greatest example of which was the way in which
we engaged with Carluccio’s after they fell into administration, offering their workforce the
opportunity to join us for work in retail initially and really helping that particular team of
people through what was already a tough period worsened by losing of their jobs).

We also supported a local taxi business redistribute 30 of its self-employed drivers and
worked with small pockets of workers from Virgin Atlantic, prior to them eventually being
furloughed.

All went through our initial telephone interview process for suitability, referencing and RTW
compliance checks, in quick time.

What was most satisfying about this was the way in which we all pulled together, as a
business with support from other members of the Shore team that usually work in other
sectors and/or offices, with our customers ensuring sites were covered most suitably in
order of where support was needed most and other businesses where workforces were
severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19 in terms of work and subsequently income
available to individuals.

It was a monumental example of people working together to truly help our customers feed
the nation.

What has been the biggest problem you and your team have had to overcome?

Remote working. Not only through the impact of Covid-19 on our own Retail Operations
team, but also the sheer workload driven by this has seen the utilisation of a number of our
colleagues from the wider business, who usually work in other divisions and from other
office locations as far North as Glasgow and as far South as Hove, Southampton, Chatham
and London.

We’ve had to ensure that everybody has been set up to work remotely, giving all office-
based colleagues remote access to our server and the tools (i.e. Laptops, Mobile Phones) to
do so.

Communication has had to be slick, which has been achieved through shared documents,
daily conference calls (twice on some days), getting everybody working in the same way and
following the same slick processes.

It has been challenging at times, but with the learnings that we have all taken along the way,
we are all set up ready to do it all again should there ever by this type of need. Clearly, we
hope that once we have all fought back from this pandemic, that there will never a reason
such as this to see this type of need again.

Have you and your team grown closer throughout this huge push to get keyworkers out
there, helping these supermarkets?

Without a doubt. I would go as far to say, I don’t recall ever working in a team or business,
that could come together as we have, to help deliver what we have delivered, for our
customers.

Nothing has been too much trouble for anybody. Everybody has worked outside of their
normal routines to support where needed. Some individual people have probably spoken to
each other more times over the last 5 weeks than they have over the last 5 years.
Every single person in the team is immensely proud of each other in what has been achieved
and I truly am looking forward to us all being able to get together again, whenever that may
be of course once this awful situation has past us.

I can’t also not give a mention to our field colleagues, all of whom as normal have been
amazing in their efforts, flexibility and willingness to support the business and our
customers, at such a critical time. A real team effort.

P.S. hoping everybody feels the love back now, with all their love and likes off this post ��

What advice would you give someone starting work at The Shore Group?

Work hard but have fun. Embrace the culture. Believe in yourself and share your ideas. No
idea is a bad idea and 99 times out of 100 those ideas will develop into something real. If
you want career development, the opportunities here are endless, take them and make it
happen. Finally, my favourite saying, “Don’t ever stand still and rest on what you have
achieved, the day you do this, is the day somebody takes over you”.