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Fusarius
21-10-2011, 07:41
This may be an isolated thing, but;

Today I go to my local GW to see if my order had come in, only to find that there is a new "manager" for the store. In meeting me the manager tells me his name and asks about the armies (OnG, Dwarfs, SM) I use and as I tell him (he) procedes to get a stupified expression on his face. Low and behold he has NO GW hobby experience at all, none.

I really have no intention of sticking around the store if i feel like i have to teach the guy how to sell to me, or that i have to teach him how to play...

The truly sucky part of it is they transplanted a great manager from the store to put the newbie in...

tu33y
21-10-2011, 07:52
i understood that the rank and file grunts (no offence) are like super uber hobbyists, but the managers are often picked for retail and managment experience?

lijah_cuu
21-10-2011, 08:19
A retail managers role is to ensure that the store runs smoothly, the staff sell, and that it makes money. It doesn't matter if the shops sells plastic crack or electronics, the principle is the same.
Knowledge of the product can be learned as you go.
If you ask most retail managers whether they actually care about what they are selling they will more than likely say 'no'!

Grimtuff
21-10-2011, 08:27
A retail managers role is to ensure that the store runs smoothly, the staff sell, and that it makes money. It doesn't matter if the shops sells plastic crack or electronics, the principle is the same.
Knowledge of the product can be learned as you go.
If you ask most retail managers whether they actually care about what they are selling they will more than likely say 'no'!

This of course ignores the fact that a lot of GW stores are now 1 man stores and the manager is the only staff member.
If they're now hiring people that have no hobby knowledge (which from what I remember from the old application forms is a straight no no) then what fresh hell do we have here?

StraightSilver
21-10-2011, 08:36
I totally agree with lijah_cuu on this one, as I know we both come from the same background. :)

I have worked in various forms of retail for just over 16 years and retail management is fairly standard.

The manager is there to oversee the smooth running of the store. Most of his job will actually be back office, making sure the store reaches its targets, that it is making its bottom line and that things like rotas, sickness and stock are all managed.

From a retail point of view it really doesn't matter whether the manager has an interest in the product, the principles of running the store are the same.

For many, many years GW employed hobbyists first, retail experience second.

Having said that GWs staff training is in my experience second to none and I appreciate all the training they gave me.

However experienced retail managers are like gold dust at the moment, and in time of austerity when a company needs to be profitable a good manager who knows a P and L inside out will make all the difference, as long as he is backed up by knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff.

I think we will see a big shift in the way GW is run, with recruitment outside of the hobby to streamline the company.

GW is a bit behind other retailers in this aspect, they have only recently introduced stock turn targets into their stores for example, which other retailers have been doing for years.

This is why the GW store range has been reduced and only core sellers are stocked, the reason why metal blisters were abandoned in store.

This may be bad news for the average hobbyist, but from a business point of view makes a lot of sense, and is a sign of GW tightening up their act, which in the long run can only be a good thing.

I understand that long time customers of GW may not like the idea of a manager not being a hobbyist, but trust me it really won't make a huge difference to the store.

I have taken my management experience from toy soldiers, to comics and models, to books and beyond.

You don't need an interest in the product to sell it effectively, retail is retail.

Edit: just got ninja'd. I must admit the one man store model does make this a bit trickier, as if the manager is the only hobbyist in store that does take away the hobby centre aspect of things a bit so I can see where the OP is coming from. However it is much easier to learn to play Warhammer than it is to learn to be a good manager. :)

Steve54
21-10-2011, 08:51
If you are a experienced retail manager who has no interest in the hobby I'd question why you would take a job at GW with the working conditions and benefits compared to other retailers.

It might well be that they are experienced but not good

Osbad
21-10-2011, 08:53
A retailer actually knowing the product he is selling, I would have thought, would be pretty important to a retailer business?

Seems odd in the age of low-density staff presence in GW stores to recruit guys who know nothing about what they are trying to sell.

There's a world of difference between trying to sell a box of random bits of plastic and resin, and trying to sell them participation in a hobby! I would have thought that it is the "how to use this stuff" that is a key skill.

If I walk into a premium consumer goods store, say, a musical instruments store, and engage the guy on the floor with conversation about the range of guitars on offer, and all (s)he can tell me about their various qualities is the price and the colour... then I'm just going to walk right back out of there pretty quickly!

I'm fairly certain that this will also be the case with GW. Particularly as these days everything is geared up to sell to the n00bs, not to the experienced guys who have been in the hobby for years!

Yet again, GW are counter-intuitive to the max!

Still, what do I care? It's their funeral!

StraightSilver
21-10-2011, 09:07
My point is that GW are trying to attract experienced Managers, not retail staff.

A good manager shouldn't really have to spend any time on the shop floor selling, that's what his staff are for.

GW has recently completely changed its pay scaling for managers.

They are still low compared to some, but much more competetive than they used to be.

I agree that in a one man store this doesn't work, but in stores where the manager has sales staff it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately retail has had to change a lot in the current economic climate, and running a store is more about managing its expenditure than maximising sales.

Store targets are now more interested in cutting costs off a P and L than they are about selling product, although of course if you can sell more product that's all the better.

lijah_cuu
21-10-2011, 09:12
If you are a experienced retail manager who has no interest in the hobby I'd question why you would take a job at GW with the working conditions and benefits compared to other retailers.

It might well be that they are experienced but not good

Comparing a GW store to another small square footage and low staff count business such as Claire's, Clinton's, Whittards, etc - the pay is pretty average tbh.

I would say that the exmaple of a musical instrument store is very different to what we are talking about here. That would require a level of skill above 'normal' retail in that you would actually have to be able to play an instrument. Learning to play a tabletop wargame to a basic beginner game level requires a hell of a lot less patience, practice and skill than learning the drums or violin. We are also looking at a company that is targetting a different age group.

I run a high turnover, high transaction, business and I employ the right people to do the shop work so I can focus on the overall store, and the most effective way I can improve my £ profitability is to control my P&L:costs, overheads, and staffing. Just putting up prices can be counter-productive.(Unfortunatley, GW has yet to learn that...)

Chaos and Evil
21-10-2011, 09:15
So what armies did you tell him you play? :)

Steve54
21-10-2011, 09:19
The question still stands though - if you are a good experienced retail manager with a track record why would you work for a niche shop with lower than average pay for your post, few benefits, little upward mobility, sales target but little scope to increase sales, very little freedom in running your store and at a small scale in terms of other retail outlets. Unless you are interested in GW, or can't get a mangerial job elsewhere, its not very attractive.

lijah_cuu
21-10-2011, 09:24
The question still stands though - if you are a good experienced retail manager with a track record why would you work for a niche shop with lower than average pay for your post, few benefits, little upward mobility, sales target but little scope to increase sales, very little freedom in running your store and at a small scale in terms of other retail outlets. Unless you are interested in GW, or can't get a mangerial job elsewhere, its not very attractive.

Thats retail....

StraightSilver
21-10-2011, 09:31
The point is that retail in the UK is going through an incredibly tough time at the moment and so Retail Manager jobs are actually very few and far between.

Many Retail Stores are closing, and that means retail managers are being made redundant.

There are also a lot of very experienced Assistant managers who simply can't get a management postion as many companies cannot afford to promote them.

A GW manager in London can earn up to £21K inclusive of London weighting and this is far more preferable than being on benefits.

GW is also a company that rewards its managers, and there is always the possibilty of becoming a regional manager or going to head office if you are good enough.

So if your career is in retail, and you want to stay in retail then GW actually is a safe bet.

Edit: And yes, that is retail! :) Been there, done that.... It's a tough time to be in retail right now, personally I'm glad I got out when I did.

Korraz
21-10-2011, 13:30
At least around here, the competency has taken an extreme dip.
From what I was told a few years ago, to get a redshirt job you had to be decently competent at painting and playing two of three main systems. Over a year ago, two guys got a job that had literally no experience with GW systems and no knowledge at painting whatsoever. I think they got the hang of painting by now, but neither of them has an army or any game experience whatsover...

eron12
21-10-2011, 16:17
I don't know about the UK, but here in the US the economy isn't doing so hot. Unemployment is high, and more and more people are happy to just have a job, even if it isn't their dream job. If I saw a manager in a less than ideal job I would just think "It's a sgin of the times"

Plus I think it would be easier to teach the hobby to someone who know how to sell than to teach how to sell to a hobbist.

Spider-pope
21-10-2011, 17:19
The question still stands though - if you are a good experienced retail manager with a track record why would you work for a niche shop with lower than average pay for your post, few benefits, little upward mobility, sales target but little scope to increase sales, very little freedom in running your store and at a small scale in terms of other retail outlets. Unless you are interested in GW, or can't get a mangerial job elsewhere, its not very attractive.

Given the craptacular state of the economy in the UK, any job is going to be damn appealing at the moment. When we arent in a depression, then it'll be time to get picky over who offers the most appealing package.

Fusarius
21-10-2011, 18:50
So what armies did you tell him you play? :)

Night goblins, Dwarfs, and space marines. I also mentioned that I play a bunch of specialist games.

I would get it If the store had a manager and a couple of guys on the floor, but it is a one man operation.

Skaven13
21-10-2011, 19:44
Night goblins, Dwarfs, and space marines. I also mentioned that I play a bunch of specialist games.

I would get it If the store had a manager and a couple of guys on the floor, but it is a one man operation.

So it was a one man store. Sales, managing, and promoting products himself with little hobby knowledge.

If it was a backoffice gig, I agree 100% about the knowledge to be helpful, but not needed.

But this is...baffling...?

popisdead
21-10-2011, 20:11
the managers are often picked for retail and managment experience?

Yeah, hold on. You are saying they filled the position relative to the experience needed? A manager there to,.. <gasp> manage the store and staff?!?!!?

I wish the IT world would get on this bandwagon.

yabbadabba
21-10-2011, 20:48
May I just say that GW changed its requirements for various strategic levels of management from requiring some wargaming experience to having "empathy" with the hobby and its customers. As GW started recruiting these people in it had a two-fold effect. The business did become more competant as a business (there were some real horror stories), but the company began to move further and further away from contact with its roots as can be seen today.

In my experience even having outstanding retail managers in GW stores doesn't always work if they do not connect with the customer base. The best GW store managers have always been hobbyists of one sort or another before they hit the shops. They are far better at building relationships and sales because they have a better understanding of what the customer needs and how to keep that customer coming back again and again. However a below average skilled manager can keep a small shop successfully ticking over due to sheer hobby enthusiasm and good communication skills. Those guys are often the hardest appraisals to do.

Anyway if GW is heading towards a toy-market based nusiness then hobby skills become less and less of a necessity.

Tay051173096
21-10-2011, 21:04
I suppose it depends on how much floor time (in store) they have to do... Some of the kits now produced would definatly require some hobby skill to assemble and paint, but if your job means handleing a group of staff for such thing then it should not be a problem.

Unsure where that leaves 1 man ops though, maybe travelling managers are expected to pick it up as they go along.




Anyway if GW is heading towards a toy-market based nusiness then hobby skills become less and less of a necessity.

As will the painting tables... Feel sorry for the 1 man ops on that front.

wascloud
21-10-2011, 21:04
Thank you so much Yabba, for yet again hitting the nail on the head. So often in these kinds of thread it degenerates to name calling and GW hate, thanks again for being awesome
:D

Shamutanti
21-10-2011, 21:44
This may be an isolated thing, but;

Today I go to my local GW to see if my order had come in, only to find that there is a new "manager" for the store. In meeting me the manager tells me his name and asks about the armies (OnG, Dwarfs, SM) I use and as I tell him (he) procedes to get a stupified expression on his face. Low and behold he has NO GW hobby experience at all, none.

I really have no intention of sticking around the store if i feel like i have to teach the guy how to sell to me, or that i have to teach him how to play...

The truly sucky part of it is they transplanted a great manager from the store to put the newbie in...

Which store is it out of interest?

eriochrome
22-10-2011, 03:17
I am not sure even in non one man stores if the manager has full time off the floor responsibilities. The ordering system is automated right, there are probably only like 3-4 other employees so personal issues cannot take that long, you do not have a ton of suppliers to worry about, no control of location. Probably less than half time could be filled with manager stuff. The rest of the time is probably floor work.

Now in a 1 man store you have even less to manage. Now retail experience can help you sell any product and I am sure GW will get him trained up to at least passable knowledge of the product. He just has to repeat the corporate line to the youngens.

andyg2006
22-10-2011, 06:07
Just a thought. It seems that sometimes when I encounter newer staff, they always want to talk about the new products.
Granted, it's the new stuff which they're trying to sell and get customers enthused about, but might it also be the case that the new stuff is all they mainly know about (eg which is why you get people who can sell, but they only push the new stuff as they haven't got the deeper hobby background)?

radical ed
22-10-2011, 09:50
I can understand hiring people on experiance, but the whole point of the stores is to get people into the hobby. Not just to sell stuff. New players need to be given demo games, and painting tips, and even the best retail manager in the world cant do that if he dosent have any knowledge of the hobby.

With the way the economy is, you would have thought there would be hundreds of retails managers with GW experince waiting for a job. Why would they go for one that had none, especially for a 1 man store? This is a worrying trend.

colonel kane trine
22-10-2011, 10:14
I never go into games workshop stores anymore. I went for a job interview there to be told id have got the job if I wasnt tattooed. They then went on to employ a guy with tattoos.
Games workshop as a store and in regards to its treatment of customers is the sh*ttest thing ever

iamfanboy
22-10-2011, 10:57
Did anyone else hear the start of a Jerry Seinfeld routine when they read this title?

"What IS the deal with GW staffing? I mean, do they go out of their way to employ the dorks who don't know a thing about their own product? Or is there some secret handshake that you learn in Retail Manager School that ensures no matter how little you care about what you sell, you can get a job with someone else who knows the handshake? And what about those tiny paint pots, aren't they just the worst?"

Shamutanti
22-10-2011, 16:55
Carkeek plaza, seattle, WA, USA

Interesting - theyve been doing something similar in GW UK for a while now and it's had a pretty positive impact overall, but most the people start as trainee managers first and are 'taught' the hobby as they go along.

Although I know of a few external managers brought in to run staff stores and they've been fairly successful.

Inquisitor Kallus
22-10-2011, 17:09
I never go into games workshop stores anymore. I went for a job interview there to be told id have got the job if I wasnt tattooed. They then went on to employ a guy with tattoos.
Games workshop as a store and in regards to its treatment of customers is the sh*ttest thing ever

They used to have that policy. They ask you to cover it up if you can. It also depends if they could be regarded as 'offensive' in any way, or inappropriate. With regards to your last sentence, give me a valid reason, or is it just because they turned you down?

Bloodknight
22-10-2011, 17:25
Funny. Tattoos are so burgeois now, it's become cool not to have any. Seriously, the wife of our president is tattooed.

Reinholt
22-10-2011, 18:09
This is one of the traps that I am worried GW will fall into with the one-man store model.

To run the shop effectively, here is a list of what you need to be good at: operations, frontline sales, and hobbying. Thankfully if it is a one man you don't actually need to be good at employee management.

It is actually surprisingly difficult to find people who are good at two of those three things, much less all three. When you create a situation where everything is dependent on a person being a jack-of-all-trades to the extent that they are competent at all of them, you are going to have a problem finding those people in large enough numbers that you can staff all your stores appropriately.

Not to mention having to pay them. I have been in a position at work where I was the only man standing with the skills to perform a certain job. You have a lot of bargaining power at that point. This could be a problem, for as is stated above, the best managers are often not the best sales people; their core skill is in managing. When you need people who can do both for an operation to run well, you have to pay up to get them. Or have sub-par long-term results.

Liber
28-10-2011, 12:10
So it was a one man store. Sales, managing, and promoting products himself with little hobby knowledge.

If it was a backoffice gig, I agree 100% about the knowledge to be helpful, but not needed.

But this is...baffling...?

this is baffling.

not much more too say at all imo.

i was surprised that my local GW went from having 3-5 very experienced, enthusiastic and involved hobbyists working there to just 1 person, who has a very mediocre level of painting and gaming knowledge...

but what the OP describes is unbelievable. matter of fact, i kinda don't believe it. maybe there was some miscommunication there?

i mean with jobs so scarce i find it impossible that there were no out of work hobbyists to post over at the OP's gw and start selling warhammer.


baffling. and i'm thinking (somehow) mistaken.


EDIT @Bloodknight

ha, totally off topic, but that post made me laugh.

i've had a couple tattoo ideas in mind for years now, and one of the reasons i keep delaying getting them done is sorta what you describe...i almost feel more 'unique' or 'rebellious' by not having any tattoos as a 23 year old male living in Southern California :o

Maskedman5oh4
28-10-2011, 16:04
The question still stands though - if you are a good experienced retail manager with a track record why would you work for a niche shop with lower than average pay for your post, few benefits, little upward mobility, sales target but little scope to increase sales, very little freedom in running your store and at a small scale in terms of other retail outlets. Unless you are interested in GW, or can't get a mangerial job elsewhere, its not very attractive.

...because he was able to get a job somewhere....

Fusarius
30-10-2011, 07:09
but what the OP describes is unbelievable. matter of fact, i kinda don't believe it. maybe there was some miscommunication there?


You can believe what you want. When he asked me what I was working on I told him that I was modeling up some mangler squigs and he said "oh, I know those! Those are the things without arms, right?"

Liber
31-10-2011, 09:02
You can believe what you want. When he asked me what I was working on I told him that I was modeling up some mangler squigs and he said "oh, I know those! Those are the things without arms, right?"


Ouch... :(

Brother Asmodeus
09-11-2011, 11:18
Ahhh god bless a central recruitment function. GW tried this back in the late 90's. It failed and went back to training its store managers to recruit their own staff more effectively.

But as they have 'lost' most of the people who were around at that time they will probably need to make this mistake again.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” - Sir Winston Churchill

yabbadabba
09-11-2011, 12:35
Ahhh god bless a central recruitment function. GW tried this back in the late 90's. It failed and went back to training its store managers to recruit their own staff more effectively. Depends where you worked and what you mena by central. We were still doing this quite successfully in regions up until... 2004-ish in the UK. Nothing beats managers recruiting their own staff but a good way to get that experience into them is things like centralised recruitment days.

It all depends on need, experience, availability etc.

orkmiester
09-11-2011, 12:37
Ahhh god bless a central recruitment function. GW tried this back in the late 90's. It failed and went back to training its store managers to recruit their own staff more effectively.

But as they have 'lost' most of the people who were around at that time they will probably need to make this mistake again.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” - Sir Winston Churchill

Great comment:D- though be careful with the quote!!! Mr Churchil was known for making clangers pity he didn't take his own advice;)

the one man store thing though is a bit 'odd' i have a suspicion that it is getting clsoe to being illegal... not to be a doomsayer but i wouldn't want to work in a shop on my lonesome, people these days...:rolleyes:

well one i know is a hobbyist through and through, he does a good job pity i haven't been to that particular GW in a bit despite the fact is a a short walk from my uni:shifty: the others i know are 'ok' and know what you are on about, but one of them sounds disinterested. Though i reckon they guess that i know what i am doing:D so don't bother...

it is annoying though, you just want to pop in for a quick sneak peek and pot of paint an low and behold the shop is shut as the one-man-shop has to have his lunch:( a bit mad form my view...

Brother Asmodeus
09-11-2011, 14:57
it is annoying though, you just want to pop in for a quick sneak peek and pot of paint an low and behold the shop is shut as the one-man-shop has to have his lunch:( a bit mad form my view...

And with the 'we don't have it in stock but you can order it to come back and collect it'. Wow, why don't I not leave my cosy house and order it online then (probably from someone who does it cheaper then) this all ties in. poor show all round!

luchog
09-11-2011, 20:11
In my experience even having outstanding retail managers in GW stores doesn't always work if they do not connect with the customer base. The best GW store managers have always been hobbyists of one sort or another before they hit the shops.
The manager of my local battle bunker when I still played there regularly was a fairly hardcore gamer as well as being a good manager. Very knowledgible about the game, and often played himself when he had time. Frequently had his kids in the store, who were also into the games. Even developed a sort of joking animosity at one point, over my Eldar colour scheme (I favour bright colours, with an emphasis on pink and green, and one of his sons decided he wanted to paint his Eldar pink like mine).

More recent management seems to be more focused on the business than the game; but they still have plenty of serious gamers working under them.

fenrisnorth
10-11-2011, 13:03
I never go into games workshop stores anymore. I went for a job interview there to be told id have got the job if I wasnt tattooed. They then went on to employ a guy with tattoos.
Games workshop as a store and in regards to its treatment of customers is the sh*ttest thing ever

WTH?

My store had a guy with full on sleeves with some weird stuff mixed in there, and he was great. That's a situation where the hiring manager was just a ******, and he couldn't or wouldn't tell you the real reason. FFS it's a game with blood and skuls everywhere, the only reason I could see for a tattoo tanking your chances was if you had forearm tattoos of naked chicks screwing goats or something.

luchog
10-11-2011, 18:22
WTH?

My store had a guy with full on sleeves with some weird stuff mixed in there, and he was great. That's a situation where the hiring manager was just a ******, and he couldn't or wouldn't tell you the real reason. FFS it's a game with blood and skuls everywhere, the only reason I could see for a tattoo tanking your chances was if you had forearm tattoos of naked chicks screwing goats or something.

I think it's more of a regional thing. In some areas, tattoos and piercings are still considered to have a low-class/outlaw sort of image, and many businesses not catering to the alterna/underground/trendoid crowd will have serious restrictions on what you're allowed to have visible. Remember, a large percentage of the purchasing isn't done by gamers, but by their parents, who often aren't going to be terribly happy to some tattooed/pierced freak hanging around. Even facial hair can be a huge issue for some; and a suprisingly large number of businesses regulate that as well.


In other regions, attitudes are different. Where I live and work, there's practically a mandatory minimum for tattoos and piercings. Nearly all the old staff at my local battle bunker below management level were pretty heavily tattooed and pierced, as were most of the clientele over 18. It really just depends on your local culture. For big, multi-regional corporations, there are often company-wide dress codes that are set by the standards of their most conservative locations. Others allow their individual offices/shops to set standards appropriate for the region (this is very common in the IT industry, since they'd have a hard time finding employees in many areas if they disallowed visible ink and metal). GW appears to lean toward allowing regional stores to set their own standards.