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Chapter 2 of 4

Hiring, managing, and paying staff

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Retail guides > Retailer's guide to managing time and people > Hiring, managing, and paying staff

Hiring, managing, and paying staff

About 40% of Kiwi retailers have staff to help them out. And why wouldn’t you? There’s a lot to do between open and close. But hiring is a big deal. Here’s how to work through it.

Can you afford staff?

While 4 in 10 businesses have hired, many more would probably like to. But it’s a big expense and perhaps you’re worried you can’t afford it.

There’s only one way to find out. You need to run a budget. List all your business costs on one side and income on the other. Now add an employee to your costs and see if you’re still in the black. If not a full-time employee, what about a part-timer to help out for a few hours? There’s a big and flexible workforce out there. Don’t forget that an employee may also boost sales or reduce other costs, so consider those things in your budget, too.


Finding and hiring the right people

There are generally plenty of people looking for retail jobs, so finding candidates is rarely a problem. You can often go through your personal networks, advertise in-store, or run your own ads. Before putting the word out, write two things:


A job description, which spells out the employee’s daily activities.

avatar and checklist

A list of qualities the person will need to do the job well.

Retail is often personality driven. You want staff who customers will like, and choosing someone can feel like a very subjective decision. Try not to let it. Use your list of required qualities to help. It might include things like punctuality, attention to detail, interest in what you sell, schedule flexibility and so on. List those criteria in order of importance and evaluate each candidate against them.

Whoever you choose, contact their references. A phone call isn’t difficult and it's worth seeing if what a candidate says about themselves is true. That one simple step could save you from a world of unnecessary hardship.

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Training staff and customer care

Once someone’s hired, start thinking about their onboarding. Do a walk-through of their workday and make notes of all the things they need to know to do the job right. Think of things like:

  • paperwork and filing processes

  • software like POS 

  • health and safety

  • how they’ll clock in and out

  • when and how they can raise issues

  • what you want the brand to be 

  • how to interact with customers

  • how to handle customer complaints

  • your returns policy

Just remember that customer service comes down to more than a one-time pep talk. Give employees the information they need to serve customers well, and keep reminding them how you want things done. Be specific about how to greet people, when to try and upsell them, and how to farewell them.

Managing (and recording) employee time

Most hires are intended to free up time for the business owner. But then you have new jobs like scheduling employee time, answering their questions, handling timesheets, calculating pay, and dealing with taxes. Do yourself a favour and use apps to handle as much of that as you can.

Workforce management apps like Deputy's make it simple to set schedules, share them with staff, then record time and attendance for payroll.


You design and share work schedules with employees on their phone.

time recording
Time recording

Employees clock in and out of shifts from a device and the info flows into payroll.

Trends in retail employment

Deputy notes that a lot of retail jobs are filled by part-timers, such as students, new parents, and people with second jobs. That’s great for small businesses who only need a few hours of support a week, but of course it can create scheduling challenges. Be as open and flexible as you can. And make it easy for them to find out what their weekly schedule is.

How to pay employees

Besides paying staff the correct (and legal) wage, on the agreed days, businesses must also take care of employee PAYE. That means you need to calculate the income tax they owe on each pay packet and withhold that money for IRD. 

You’re also required to take care of KiwiSaver contributions, and student loan repayments or child support contributions too, if they apply. This is how it goes.

how to pay employees

After following these steps, you must summarise the activity for your employee in a payslip, and for IRD in a report (this is known as your payday filing). As with many things in the world of accounting, you can use software to streamline the process, or outsource the job to a professional.

For more detail on doing pay runs, check out chapter 7 of our guide to hiring.

Chapter 3: Customer service and customer rights

Retail is a people business. To win repeat business, it helps to do more than provide a good product. Most businesses aim to impress during the sale, but it’s also increasingly common to connect with customers online.

Read chapter 3


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