"You'll be challenged, but you'll also be really well rewarded."
Robyn joined one of our graduate programmes back in 2016, after being impressed by the positive things she had heard about us as a graduate employer. Now a Consultant in our Head Office Logistics team, Robyn feels that she has been given all of the skills she needs to succeed. Find out more about her Lidl journey so far.
What were you doing before you joined Lidl?
I came to Lidl straight out of university. I studied History at UCL in London and, whilst I was there, completed an internship with a blue chip FMCG company. I was offered a place on the Lidl graduate programme during my final year at university and started work a couple of months after I graduated in August 2016.
What made you choose Lidl?
Lidl has one of the best reputations as a graduate employer and as I learned more about the graduate programme, I realised how varied my training would be. Compared to graduate programmes with other companies that my friends were doing, my experience was incredibly hands-on. I was exposed to so many different parts of the business at a very early stage and as a result learned a lot very quickly. I also spent six months in Germany completing a language course and a secondment to Lidl’s international headquarters. That experience couldn't really be paralleled anywhere else, and it surpassed my expectations in a lot of ways.
What does your current role involve?
My job at the moment is split between project work and consultancy work. The project work involves seeing a project from its inception right through to its closure – often overseeing a successful trial period, making any required changes, collaborating with key stakeholders in Head Office and the regions and ensuring the project is launched effectively in a way which is beneficial to the regional teams. The consultancy side of my role involves spending time out in the regions, building relationships with warehouse teams, following up on our key focus areas and providing suggestions for cost-saving and productivity initiatives that we're rolling out.
What sort of skills does that take?
The main skill I have learned at Lidl is being able to adapt my style and work with lots of different groups of people. This was something I was definitely exposed to on the graduate scheme, as I worked in so many different teams – regionally, nationally and internationally. You also need to be organised, able to manage your time and willing to ask questions - but Lidl really helps you to develop those skills along the way.
What would you say to someone thinking of joining Lidl?
I would definitely encourage potential applicants, especially those in their final years of studying, to consider applying to Lidl. It’s rewarding to work for a company which is growing as quickly as we are, and my friends and family are always keen to discuss what I’m working on and what Lidl might be doing next. You'll definitely be challenged, but you'll also be really well rewarded - Lidl takes good care of its employees and provides plenty of opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally. If you enjoy working hard and learning new things, Lidl will be a natural fit for you.
Throughout the graduate programme I worked for several managers – in store, in the warehouse, in Head Office and in Germany - and each had a slightly different management style, however I have always been coached and never micromanaged. This has allowed me to feel supported whilst being encouraged to take on responsibility and accountability for things that I am working on. Now that I’m off the graduate programme, there is a real culture of continuous development – I have weekly meetings with my Line Manager to discuss my current projects, as well as more formal meetings throughout the year to assess my development. This year I have completed training courses to develop skills such as negotiation and people management – there is always something new to learn at Lidl!
It's very fast-paced and collaborative here. Everyone in my team is very like-minded, so it's productive to be surrounded by people who work in a similar way and have similar goals to you. We're always happy to bounce ideas off one another and support each other with ongoing projects and tasks. We’re a hard-working team, but definitely find time to have a laugh along the way as well.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about Lidl?
Honestly, I've surprised myself consistently with what I can achieve if I set my mind to it, which has been really satisfying. The culture has also been a positive surprise – no matter which area of the business I have been working in, my colleagues have consistently been motivated and proud to work for Lidl, which has created a fast-paced and productive working culture. My colleagues are also always supportive and willing to help, no matter how senior they are - my Director is never too busy to sit down with me and go through my ideas, which isn’t something you would get in all companies.
The rewards package was definitely one of the things that attracted me to Lidl initially. It's one of the most competitive ones you'll find coming out of university. ‘Millennials’ have a reputation for changing jobs quite frequently, but at Lidl it’s common for people to build their entire career here. I think that speaks volumes about how the company values you as an employee.
Finally, what four words would you use to describe Lidl?
Fast-paced, dynamic, ambitious and rewarding.