"It’s hard work but the rewards are great"
What were you doing before you joined Lidl and what attracted you to the company?
I was studying History and Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. My sales experience before Lidl was working in a clothing store for a month at Christmas and it I didn't enjoy it so I had limited experience of what retail was.
Before I left university, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t want to be office based at that point because I wanted to be on my feet and doing things. I saw the Lidl graduate scheme and the way it was advertised and the way it worked and getting to experience a bit of everything, I thought that was a really good way for me to potentially find what I wanted to do. The application process was quick for me and from the get go I could tell the other applicants were quite invested in trying to get the best out of it. I obviously wanted the job when I applied for it because of the versatility of it and the different pathways it offered, but actually the further I got through the application process, the more I wanted it from the people side of it as well.
Everyone I met seemed so approachable and invested in you. I remember doing the interview and the assessment day and walking away form it like I really want that now.
What does a day in your life look like?
For the first three months I worked in sales, working from Customer Assistant to Shift Manager. I then went into logistics for four months. The first two months was mainly seeing the different departments, spending time with managers and Warehouse Operatives and seeing what they do and how the shifts run and how it all works.
I then chose to stay for a bit longer and did a project based in performance management of the warehouse operations. So I worked with selection and the Team Managers, and I picked the people who weren’t performing as well and worked with them to try and improve their performance. We developed plans and set targets and it was really good because I hadn’t experienced much before in terms of conflict management and dealing with difficult conversations.
They also let me choose my own projects and organise it in a way that I wanted. My manager was great in giving me autonomy to do it myself and he kind of said if you need me, come and get me, but if not then you do it. So, they let me be really free with it which gave me a really good understanding of the logistical systems.
Then COVID happened and I got thrown into store as a Store Manager for three months. After that I changed stores and for the next nine months I went into and worked across about five different stores and ran them from anything between four weeks to three months at a time. It’s been really good to see so many stores because everywhere is different and all the teams are different. It’s good to get that overall understanding of it and I’ve learnt a lot. I’m about to sign my Store Manager contract and then I’ll be waiting for a store to be given to me to run permanently.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like how varied it is, as much as it’s a challenge to come in and not know what you’re coming into every day, I actually quite like it because it keeps things interesting and the time goes so quickly. No shift is the same. Ten hours sounds like a long time but it’s really not once you get into it. I like being busy and being on my feet so it’s good and you don’t need a gym membership or anything.
What do you enjoy most about working for Lidl?
For me it’s the responsibility and the trust you get from day one. I didn’t have bags and bags of confidence when I joined and I probably would never have pushed myself to do some of the things that I’ve been able to do if it hadn’t been for Lidl and the team that have worked with me and behind me. My Regional Training Consultants have always been open to pushing me to do things that I wasn’t 100% sure on doing but it’s worked out for the best because I haven’t given myself credit for what I could do. Their constant support you get of knowing my RTC is always there is good. You have a safety net of knowing you have someone you can go to if you need but you’re also trusted with things and you can go off and do them yourself.
Lidl is great if you make it great. You can take it and roll with it and you can make it what you want. The scheme is so flexible and you can tailor it to do what you want it to do. That side of it is the best. It’s hard work, the rewards are great but they get their money’s worth out of you. The support and the pushing you to constantly improve and be better is what I think I thrive on.
What three words would you use to describe Lidl?
Fast-paced, innovative, supportive.