Q&A: Jasleen Gill, Solutions Consultant at UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group)
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Prior to joining UKG in November 2019 I spent close to 15 years working in the retail industry. A large portion of my retail career was spent with Asda starting off as a weekend worker on the checkouts and progressing my way up through the company taking on various different roles in a variety of different locations. I had the privilege of becoming George Manager in one of the largest George clothing departments in the company. I then went on to work for Debenhams for just over 2 years working as both Fashion Accessories and Menswear Sales Manager. This was when I was nominated for and subsequently won a Reading Retail Award. I was fortunate enough to go on to be nominated again for a further 2 years in the Manager of the Year category as well as going on to win the award for Retailer of the Year whilst working for House of Fraser as a Store Manager. Aside from Retail I also have a great passion for Film and Television obtaining a BA in Media Arts from Royal Holloway, University of London. I was very fortunate to be able to spend some time working in both London and Sydney, Australia producing various different documentaries and short films. However, Retail has always had and will always have my heart!
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Here at UKG we specialise in providing companies with the best Workforce Management tools to help you manage your business effectively. But really, we do so much more than that, it’s not just about selling you a tool and then that’s it, we want to be your partner working with you to not just overcome your business challenges but going on the journey with you to help you be the best, have the most engaged workforce and really just go from strength to strength. It may sound cheesy but I really think our USP is how much we care, for me it’s never just about making a sale, I want to make sure you are getting the products you need, the ones that are going to make a real difference and for me that really stems from the fact that I worked in the industry for so long, I understand the challenges, I remember the pains and I really care about making sure you get the product that is right for you and something that will grow with your business.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Here at UKG it’s not about trying to get everyone to fit into the same box. We know that every business is different, they all have their unique challenges and different priorities. Our platform provides our customers with the flexibility to configure the platform so that it is right for them. We want our platform to fit your needs, not you to adjust your expectations to fit our platform. It’s really important for me to really gather as much information from a prospect right from the beginning of our interactions. This approach helps me to not only build a great relationship with my customer but also ensure that I am building the absolute best solution to fit their needs. Trust is a key part of my relationship with my customers as I find when they trust me, they feel so much more confident in opening up and we are able to have a really honest conversation about their current business practices, their key business challenges and what they are looking to achieve out of the project.
What advantage does it add?
At the end of the day its all about people. Give your people the right tools to do their job effectively, give them tools that allow them to work their way and give them tools that engage them and allow you to communicate with them effectively. It’s about bringing it all together and making it easy. So many times, during my retail career I found that the tools that were supposed to be helping me manage my business were actually creating more work for me, or forcing me to be stuck behind a desk doing administrative tasks when really, I wanted to be out from behind the desk and interacting/engaging with my colleagues and customers. That’s why its so important for us to build a partnership with our customers really understand their needs so that we can ensure they are getting the best tools.
Are there other companies you partner with? UKG has various different service and technology partners a full list of partners is available on the UKG website.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2022 / What challenges are retailers facing right now to prepare better?
The challenges aren’t really that different from the ones that have always been there in retail, they’ve just evolved slightly since the pandemic. I always found communication was one of the biggest challenges, and this isn’t just special to retail, most industries struggle with communication. It’s about finding that balance, you don’t want to bombard you employees, but you also want to make sure they are aware of keys things that affect them and the business. Effective communication can really be one of the keys to driving an engaged workforce and I would definitely say it could be one of the biggest opportunities for any business. However, from experience I’ve found its often one of the most difficult things to achieve. The pandemic has made communication even harder with people being remote and not being able to get together. Working as a Manager in Asda I often found that some of the best communication happened in the break room, employees sitting together and talking about things that were happening either locally or within the wider business, you’d be surprised how word about a new policy spread in the break room! Covid bought with it a sense of quiet and isolation, people could no longer socialise together in the breaks room and along with that ended some of the chains of communication we often relied on. So how do we make sure in this new world our employees still feel like they know what is going on, know about the latest policies and procedures and most importantly still feel a sense of belonging?
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
UKG really recognises the need for effective communication and how it relates directly to employee engagement, that’s why we have really focused on how we can drive better communication through our platform. We’ve also really focused on the changing face of communication, what in years gone might have been a phone call then became an e-mail which then became a text message and is now evolving again into maybe a direct message, post to a timeline or group chat on a social media platform. Also, it’s not just about sending out a memo or posting a schedule anymore, the communication platform needs to deliver so much more. It’s about being able to celebrate employees, recognition posts, giving employees a forum to engage with their peers, create a running group for people who want to stay fit, sharing your favourite lockdown recipes and so much more. Additionally, more than ever now people want communication at their fingertips, they want it to be mobile and available anywhere and on any device. UKG recognises these changing needs and provides a platform that really allows you to communicate to your employees effectively and driving employee engagement.