Archived GSA training

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What tips/advice can any GSAs/GSTLs/LODs give me about being a good GSA.

Also I will probably end up being a 1st time GSA position at a Super Target. What does that entail? Differences between smaller stores and Supers for GSAs? Are the GSA/TL expected to attend huddle? Is there usually more than one GSA/TL on duty at a Super? Thanks!!
 

mrknownothing

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A lot depends on your sales volume and how your STL and ETL-GE do things. In a Super, you have two sets of checklanes to watch.
 
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I'm in a ultra low volume store. I'd say DO NOT hang out alllllll the time with the service desk person!! Stay up front and help the cashiers move guests along...put bags in carts, help remove hangers when a guest has a MOUND of clothing on the belt, speedweave like you're supposed to, keep up with the break schedule!!
I freakin hate it when I'm blinking my light and no one is to be found up front. It makes us look unprofessional and the guest gets pissed when they have to wait. It ticks me off when I walk around the $1 area and the gsa and sd people are chatting it up and there's zero guests up there!!
 

mrknownothing

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Speedweaving is supposed to be an important part of your job. One of our GSAs is the slowest person I think I've ever seen. I don't think they are capable of hurrying.

I'd also love it if the GSAs would stop hanging out at GS. and quit calling us for back ups when we aren't needed!

Yes and yes! Don't call for back-ups unless every lane is at least 1+1, and make sure your entire team is busy before you start borrowing from other areas. One or two of our GSAs have a tendency to let certain cashiers lackadaisically wander through One Spot while us sales floor folks are being yelled at by the LOD to respond to un-needed back-up calls.
 
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Like! Like! Like! Like!
Ugh! That drives me crazy! We have a chosen few cashiers that are the same way. Don't call me up to the front lanes when you've got your cashiers on tasks! (meaning standing around talking to each other)
 

paidtosmile

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Alright, so I'm going to break away from the trend here and tell you what you should be doing in order to be successful :)

1.) Make guests your priority. If that means being late on setting a checklane endcap (or some other task) then so be it, you need to put guest service first.
2.) 60% of your job (give or take) is simply your presence at the lanes... Granted, you shouldn't just stand there and stare blankly at guests/cashiers, but you should spend your time speedweaving and incorporating little tasks into that. Bring bags/receipt tape/etc. around to your cashiers, work checklane candy out, help a cashier bag items or put bags into a guests cart, take hangers off clothes to increase cashier speed, redirect guest traffic to different checklanes to minimize unnecessary backups. Set a checklane endcap if you have time. Greet and thank guests heading in and out the door (depending on your store layout.) Really take control of the checklanes and make sure everyone is aware that you're not up front to be a cashier, you're up front to run the lanes. Get little things done while showing guests and TM's that you're present and willing to help them.
3.) Stay logged in on your LPDA as GSA, and check the alerts you get. Makes it easier to facilitate communication between yourself and the checklanes/service desk.
4.) Don't stress out when it gets busy. Stay grounded and remind yourself that you're literally just selling toilet paper to guests. It'll make it easier to respond to 10 different things at once.
5.) Minimize the need for unnecessary assistance from other teams (including LOD's.) Be Bold, utilize the front end team efficiently, make it right for the guest, etc etc. You're up front so the LOD doesn't need to run up every 15 minutes. ;) This one really depends on your stores front end layout and sales volume.*
6.)Don't be afraid to call for help when needed. Whether it's additional cashiers, guest service, somebody to help retrieve carts, or additional Team Lead/Supervisor presence. There will be times when guests literally flock to the checklanes like migrating birds, and if you can notice this early and call for backups that helps a lot. I always looked at it like "Will we be able to clear this within a few minutes or do we need help?" It's difficult to plan for guest traffic and, unlike Walmart, we're supposed to care about checkout times. The sales floor will probably be irritated about backing up all the time, but they can and will get over it. And if they can't, that's something you should pass along to your team leads and they can handle it appropriately.
7.) Lead by example. A GSA is not a team lead, so we can't coach team members. We're supposed to model ideal brand behavior, so to speak. We can "train" team members but cannot coach. I do quite a bit of observing and recording, then I turn it over to my GSTL.
8.) Similar to number 1, stay guest focused. You aren't asking for additional help for yourself personally, you're asking for your guests.
9.) Put some thought into writing a break schedule, and keep up with it! Really, you'll be thankful you did. Once you get into the swing of things, you'll notice various trends and identify the best times to schedule rounds of breaks. Peak sales hour isn't always completely correct, but it's a good point of reference for what your day will be like. You're still going to be short a person regardless, because they're on break, but a little planning goes a long way.
10.) The service desk TM will call you if they need you. Don't spend your entire day over there. Check in with them periodically, backup as needed, check their CRC bin, ask about anything you think needs to be corrected, but keep it short and sweet! Most of your time should be spent at the lanes!
11.) Redcards, Redcards, Redcards.
12.) If you have guests waiting to be helped, nobody should be standing around up front doing nothing.. Regardless of who it is. Guests are simple creatures of habit, who aren't capable of high-level thought. They see somebody in red and khaki, and they see that they're standing around talking instead of helping them. Little unofficial huddles look bad anywhere on the floor, but especially bad at the checklanes when guests are waiting.

As far as working at various volume stores goes, I've only ever done low-volume GSA, but here's what I've gathered:
Low volume: speedweaving isn't as big of a requirement, so you'll spend a lot more time ON a checklane covering breaks or just keeping up with guest traffic and minimizing backup calls. You might also spend a chunk of your day pushing carts, covering service desk or FA breaks. At night you might be expected to help the sales floor zone something near the front (we do girls and accessories.) Our Food Ave is usually dead, and the only thing people ever buy is icee's, so it's more efficient at my store for the FA-TM to spend a good chunk of time on the express lane, and I'll just keep an eye on the food ave counter.
High volume: Again, I've never done high-volume GSA, but from what I understand you spend a lot more time speedweaving and responding to supervisor/GSTL calls with a little less of the random tasks I do at a low volume store..

Also, you'll probably be the only one scheduled as GSA. Your GSTL might double-schedule the two of you as GSA/GSTL so he or she can have some off-site time, but typically you'll be the single person running the lanes. Fairly often, especially dayside, you'll have another GSA with you as service desk or cashier or something. Again, this is from a lower-volume experience. I did spend a little time at a nearby SuperT to help with their cosmetics transcend (they were very low on plano TM's) and it looked like they had an opening, mid, and closing GSA/TL. So they did have double-coverage for a while, but quite a bit of it was either the GSTL's offsite time or the GSA covering breaks/cashiering while the GSTL ran the lanes.

I'll go to huddle every once and a while, just to make sure there is a front end presence! But if you miss it, no biggie.

I'm sure there's plenty that I didn't mention, but I'm always willing to answer questions if you have any!
 
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paidtosmile

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It also might be a good idea for you to "own" something if you're looking to continue developing and promoting past GSA. For example, one of my peers owns OneSpot and checklane endcaps/instocks. I captain the service desk and CRC. It can be something small, too! We have one GSA who is just a giftcard captain. Once you're used to being a GSA and get onto your feet, I'd ask about taking on a captainship or owning something at the checklanes

Plus: during the slow hours, you'll be able to spend your time working on what you captain, rather than getting thrown various tasks from some ETL who has no idea how the front end works.
 
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For the love of Pete, if I come up from the sales floor to help you get your lines down - please help close down my lane when the rush is over. Direct guests to the cashier with no line, because I don't like turning people away, but I need to get back to my job.

And it irritates me to see cashiers reading magazines during down time when there are plenty of tasks to work on.
 

paidtosmile

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For the love of Pete, if I come up from the sales floor to help you get your lines down - please help close down my lane when the rush is over. Direct guests to the cashier with no line, because I don't like turning people away, but I need to get back to my job.

And it irritates me to see cashiers reading magazines during down time when there are plenty of tasks to work on.

Your GSA should be doing that, it's a part of speedweaving; if they aren't you should consider asking the GSTL about helping you get off a checklane when the rush is over. Granted, if the guest you're helping has a huge cart full of stuff, the cashier next to you might be free'd up a few seconds before you are. Don't be afraid to turn somebody away, too.. If the cashier next to you doesn't have anybody, and your light is off, just politely say "Sorry, I'm not open, but checklane 14 is on and ready to help you!"

If cashiers don't have guests in line they should be: 1) zoning checklanes 2) restocking bags/supplies 3) cleaning 4) standing at the front of their register greeting guests and offering to ring them out. But we usually don't send cashiers out to the floor because they'll get about a minute worth of work done, the lanes will get backed up again, and they'll have to come back up for 20-25 minutes; their schedule is created completely from guest-traffic so while they might have a minute or so without a guest, it definitely will not last long. It's meant to be a stationary position.

IMO it sounds like your GSTL/GSA team needs quite a bit of work.. This is all stuff that's easily fixable with the right front-end leads
 
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I've never seen one is our main GSAs speed weave. She's the slowest person I think I've ever worked with. Most of the time whoever is watching the front lanes just stands in one place. There is usually a TL or TM standing around keeping them company.
 

Cel

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I'll admit I don't get a ton of speedweaving done at my store, but that has more to do with the fact that 70% of the time I'm either on a lane or out getting carts or helping clear a line at guest service/covering a GS break or lunch or any of the myriad of other things that our ULV ridiculously hour-starved store requires me to do. That plus it's rather pointless to legitimately speedweave with 1-2 cashiers unless you're either trying to make busywork for yourself or grandma is blind. I'll usually be zoning/fixing an endcap/making labels/clearing baskets/clearing hangers/cleaning a lane/directing guests to areas of the store though.
 
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Cashiers can also stock candy, zone the check lanes, and look for out dates in the candy.
 
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I'll admit I don't get a ton of speedweaving done at my store, but that has more to do with the fact that 70% of the time I'm either on a lane or out getting carts or helping clear a line at guest service/covering a GS break or lunch or any of the myriad of other things that our ULV ridiculously hour-starved store requires me to do. That plus it's rather pointless to legitimately speedweave with 1-2 cashiers unless you're either trying to make busywork for yourself or grandma is blind. I'll usually be zoning/fixing an endcap/making labels/clearing baskets/clearing hangers/cleaning a lane/directing guests to areas of the store though.
I'm at a high volume super so things are very different. Our GSTLs & GSAs have tasks too, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the ones that just stand around talking. We have one who hides. The cashiers have to wait forever when they need something & you hear the ETLs asking, "Who's watching the front?" They are the ones that call for backups when they don't need them.
 
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RG, please don't be like that. I'm the TM that always responds to the backups. I also respond to any requests for price checks or anything else all over the store. The FRO, GSTM, GSTL and GSA all love it when I'm there because I always respond. I think GSTL/GSA is probably the hardest job in the store. I don't want or expect them to do any more than their required core roles. In our store speed weaving is at the very top of their list. Also, do you really think wishing that they would not stand around visiting with their friends or hiding is "having an opinion about how they should do their job?" Sorry to be grouchy about this but these things really matter to me.
 

paidtosmile

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I'll admit I don't get a ton of speedweaving done at my store, but that has more to do with the fact that 70% of the time I'm either on a lane or out getting carts or helping clear a line at guest service/covering a GS break or lunch or any of the myriad of other things that our ULV ridiculously hour-starved store requires me to do. That plus it's rather pointless to legitimately speedweave with 1-2 cashiers unless you're either trying to make busywork for yourself or grandma is blind. I'll usually be zoning/fixing an endcap/making labels/clearing baskets/clearing hangers/cleaning a lane/directing guests to areas of the store though.

Same. In ULV-land I feel like I'm only there to be an extra cashier sometimes haha. I want to be at a high volume though.
 
B

Barcode

Guest
Yep... Filled in again as GSA tonight, with a whopping 3 checklanes open, speedweaving is pretty pointless... I'm basically the backup service desk cashier.
 
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