“We are attentive to customers, but even more to our employees,”
Thierry Lopez, Director of Marketing, Future Shop Quebec
WHAT PROPORTION OF YOUR EMPLOYEES WORK PART TIME?
About 60% of our employees work part time, which is the majority of our workforce. Employees often have to work weekends, or evenings until 9 p.m. Our schedules require flexibility. We organize a pool of people who want to work—we have a large number of employees who divide up the work, who collaborate with each other. Having long hours is fertile territory for part-time work.
WHICH JOBS HAVE THE MOST PART-TIME STAFF?
Part-time work has always been part of our way of doing things. So you find part-timers in all kinds of positions, that’s how we work. We look for quality people. You can be a cashier, salesperson, or advisor, etc. The jobs are not worse or different depending on the schedule. It’s all a question of skill and responsibility. Obviously, our managers are generally not part time. They may have started out part time, but gradually, managers usually find themselves working full time.
WHAT IS THE PLACE OF PART-TIME EMPLOYEES IN YOUR COMPANY?
Our employees all have their place. We encourage innovation. We provide a lot of training and seminars. We are attentive to customers, but even more to our employees. You have to make room for initiative. At Futureshop, there are very few management levels. Our employees all have access to their managers, whether they are part time or not. We want as few barriers as possible between the company and employees, who must be able to easily consult their supervisors or bosses as needed. It’s a state of mind that you need to develop.
WHAT IS THE COMPANY DOING TO HELP EMPLOYEES BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY LIFE?
We are very mindful of the balance between work and private life. Employees have pressing responsibilities at home, and flexibility goes both ways. Part-time work allows long hours to be shared, and also gives employers greater flexibility. The work can be adapted to the employee and to situations that arise. For example, we can arrange a replacement for a maternity leave very quickly. We also have many paternity leaves.
WHAT ARE YOUR RECRUITING OBJECTIVES?
In Quebec, we have 2,000 permanent employees for 25 stores. We are continuing to recruit—we’re in full expansion mode. We opened four new stores in 2008. Another example, we are recruiting hundreds of temps for the holiday season. And students, older workers and new immigrants join our team throughout the year. Our industry never stands still.