When Laura joined Lidl, she was impressed by the training and support she received. And whilst she’s enjoyed the challenges of being an Assistant Team Manager, she’d like to help others benefit from the training and support she can now offer.
What attracted you to Lidl?
I was a fitness manager whilst studying for a degree when I found out Lidl were opening a new warehouse, so I thought it would be good to target Lidl for new gym memberships. Then I spotted they were looking for managers. There wasn’t a lot more I could achieve in my role, so I thought I’d apply. And I was successful! I joined two and half years ago.
Can you give a brief overview of what your role entails?
I manage the day-to-day running of the afternoon shift which is 1pm to 9pm. My focus is temperature control, which includes the chiller, meat, poultry and milk. My job is to manage the team that picks out stock, as well as looking out for other departments that are on that shift. I deal with everything from absences, to productivity, to pallet errors, and manage the team by ensuring that they’re following policies and procedures. Part of that is training and development. I also look after the recruitment for the selection department – from interviews, to the initial training plan and contract signing.
What do you enjoy most?
The training and development side and watching new starters come in to the building. I can relate to the new starters who think they’re going to struggle because they’ve got no previous warehouse experience. But with our training and support, you don’t need it.
What kind of support is there?
We can call on other more experienced warehouses if we’re struggling. It’s been finding what works well for other Regional Distribution Centres and pulling it together to find what works best for us. We’ve had to find the right fit for this building in the way we recruit, train and manage the people.
What’s your personal experience of training and development?
I had 12 months training before the building even opened – six months in Bridgend, two months in Southampton and two months in Weston-Super-Mare. I also did six weeks store training as well, so I could see what the stores expect from the warehouse in terms of service. Every day you learn something new. The next step was a management training initiative, which allows you to see what your strengths are and the areas you need to improve. As a manager, there’s always something that you can develop on and progress to.
What qualities do you need to be an Assistant Team Manager?
Good people skills; being able to cope under pressure and you need to like a challenge. You do need to think on your feet and be prepared for anything.
What do you think makes Lidl special?
Lidl is dedicated to developing people in the business, they spend a lot of time investing in their people.
What’s the environment like as a place to work?
I love working here. Every day is different, every day is a new challenge. It’s a very fast-paced environment, so you can never guess what each day is going to be like. You can have a plan of action for the next day, but when you walk in it can be completely different. At the end of the day when we’re all walking out the door together and we say, ‘we didn’t think we were going to get through that at 1pm today, but we’ve got through it’. It’s great when we have a day like that.
How’s your work-life balance?
The realistic expectation is that the job is hard. As a manager it’s down to you to be organised and manage your time. Some days you will need to work a little longer but if you do, you might go home a bit earlier the next day.
What about your plans for the future?
I applied for a Regional Training Consultant role six months ago, but I didn’t have enough Lidl experience. Since then, my manager has pushed for me to spend days in store with training consultants and with recruitment consultants, so that when the position comes up again, I’ve got the experience I need.
What words would you use to describe Lidl?