Progression, pace and phenomenal growth.
Michelle, one of our Sales Organisations Project Consultants, is always looking to the future, and can’t wait to see where Lidl takes her career.
What’s your job title and what does your role entail?
I’m a Sales Organisation Project Consultant (SOPC) and my role depends on the week and what's going on, but it’s about working alongside sales organisations and head office and supporting them to develop and trial projects. We then roll those projects out to the regions. On a good week 50% of the role is providing feedback in terms of what’s up and running. The other half of the role is about providing sales and operational support for the region. I manage four sales secretaries and they’re responsible for controlling all communication between head office, the Regional Distribution Centres and the stores. I manage anything that supports the operations in stores to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
What atributes or skills do you need in your role?
You’ve got to be very organised because you're juggling a lot of aspects. This role has its fingers in a lot of pies and so you’ve got to be flexible, organised, have good communication skills and be able to build really good relationships with people because I think that makes the difference in terms of getting the job done. You’ve also got to have a really good understanding of stores and how they work.
Where were you before you joined Lidl?
Before I joined Lidl I worked for another retailer for 17 years. I started as a Christmas temp when I was 18, but worked my way up from managing a team to head office and then in London as a Project Manager on a nationwide project. The career opportunities stopped and I decided to make a move to Lidl. I was unsure whether I wanted to go back on the shop floor or stay involved with project work, but Lidl seemed like such a good opportunity and as it turned out I trained to be an area manager and then moved into my current role, which is very much about project management again.
What was it about Lidl that attracted you?
I have worked in retail all my life and I love the pace of retail – it never gets boring. The retail environment is tough at the moment with the economy and online shopping, but it was exciting to find a retailer that was growing phenomenally and I wanted to be a part of that!
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Moving from clothing to food was a huge challenge. Also, when I was an Area Manager and we were going through our Lidl 2.0 modernisation programme, which improves the stores and makes them more aesthetically appealing, and it happens while the stores are still trading. I had four stores and three of them were being transformed at the same time, it was quite a challenge, but there was a lot of support from the Remerch team who were brilliant and talked me through every step of it. Everyone rallied around together and it was great to see the Lidl teamwork really paying off because it worked so well.
And what’s your proudest moment?
Getting the role as an SOPC after such a short time with Lidl was a huge achievement for me. There were several people who applied who’d been in the business a lot longer than I had, so it was a great boost to my confidence.
What are your future career aspirations?
I'm relatively new to my role as I’ve only been doing it for a few months so my biggest priority is to become established in the role and make a real success of it. Ultimately, I would like to progress to the next level but I'm not too sure if that’s in the sales side or a different role within the region. The beauty of Lidl is there are no restrictions on the possibility and that’s exciting – there’s not one career path set our for me, I could branch off and become an expert in almost anything else, and I love the idea of that!
Why do you enjoy working at Lidl?
Lidl is challenging but I really like that because it’s a really exciting journey. We're on a curve in terms of our leadership principles and the way we are engaging with our people and that’s really exciting because people are a key driver – and everybody is very friendly, very professional and very good at what they do and I like that.