The good and the bad of the retail workplace checklist

To improve standards, store presentation, profits and customer experience, it is essential that you have a successful workplace checklist; this will ensure that your store is consistently kept to a high standard. You can perform as many as you need and you can perfect them over time to deliver the best outcome.

Without checklists, and the structure they provide, it is hard to maintain a level of consistency. However, when done badly they can be a big strain on time, without actually achieving the desired result. Below are a few ways to spot a bad checklist:

  • Only contains tick boxes – Your list is full of yes and no questions with no room to provide reasons or explanations. When this happens reports are often produced which are of little use because you have no information about why a yes or no answer was given, which can prevent you from providing an adequate solution. With Oplift checklists, if there is a problem you can flag this automatically straight to head office for the most efficient solution.
  • Irrelevant questions – Sometimes checklists are stretched across too many different operations or contexts which begins to make them irrelevant. Having questions which don’t apply to certain stores or areas is a sure way to annoy staff.
  • Goes on forever – It is good to have detailed and refined checklists, but when they keep growing it means the amount of time they take to do can spiral out of control. This can lead to rushed audits which begin to lose quality and usefulness.
  • Values for each question – When some questions are worth more than others it can result in attention being focused on only high scoring questions which can have a detrimental effect on the whole process.
  • Bad order of questions – This happens when the order of questions doesn’t match the order of the tasks or operations in the store. This leads to wasted time going between tasks, and can sometimes mean that processes are modified to suit the checklist.

Now you know what not to do, we give you some pointers on how to set up a winning checklist for your store.

1.hA clear objective is the basis for any successful checklist. You want to ask yourself the following questions to ensure that your checklist is always relevant and useful.

  • Why are you creating it?
  • What do you want the desired outcome to be?
  • Who will be using it?
  • How often will they be using it?
  • What are you measuring? E.g. shop floor presentation, stock room standards, health and safety, learning and development etc.

2.  Determine how long you want the checklist to be. This varies as it depends on how often the audits are to be done.

  • If they are to be done daily, it is wise to keep them to a maximum of 20 checks.
  • If they are to be done for a store visit which is only carried out quarterly you should aim for about 50 checks, but preferably no more than this.
  • If you have a long checklist, you can be assured that Oplift’s checklist feature on Engage will significantly reduce the completion time for you. One of Virgin Media’s checklists, which used to take them four hours, was cut down to just 45 minutes!

3. Structure your list.

  • After you’ve decided your objective, and how long you would like your list to be, you must now decide how you’re going to group your checks.
  • Ensure that your checklist is in the order it would be carried out in store.
  • It is important to write down each thing that you would like to measure and use this for a basis of separating your headings.

4. Define what best practice looks like. 

  • First of all, you must ensure that each check is worded as clearly as possible. Anything that sounds confusing or has multiple meanings should be scrapped. A good test is to ask a few members of staff and get their opinion. Anything they question should be rewritten.
  • Provide a best practice document which staff can refer too, with pictures for added clarity. With Oplift engage you can store this document in the articles section so that staff can easily search for it or provide a link to it.
  • An example would be: Stockroom tidy – All boxes are in order and correct place. All ladders and tables are folded and stored away. isles are clear from obstructions. Product waiting tables are cleared of stock. All order tickets have been collected and placed in the front shop ready for collection.

5.  You can always make it better 

  • Always review your checklist as this means that you can improve operations. Reviews are a chance to see where pain spots are and improve the checklists through better processes.
  • Sit down with your members of staff that complete the checklists to ask for their thoughts and feedback. You can then alter the lists accordingly.

To read more tips for your checklists, have a look at our top ten pointers for the perfect store audit!

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 31st October 2017