Following An 18-month intensive induction, Paul has been working as retail director of Specsavers in Norris Green for the last two and a half years and says that one of the best things about his job is witnessing the growth and progression of his team.
A wealth of experience in retail
Paul has worked in retail for years, and has developed a well-honed approach to getting the best out of those that work with him. He is driven to ensure that his customers get a dedicated and well-informed service for the optical and audiology care that is provided at the store. During his career, Paul has racked up an impressive amount of retail experience with numerous high street brands.
Before buying into Specsavers in 2012, he successfully led teams at Sainsbury’s M&S, B&Q and Lloyds Pharmacy. Since joining Specsavers, Paul’s core focus has been developing and growing his team, to enable them to deliver a great service to the store’s customers.
Developing staff is a key focus
A prime example of his focus on staff development is employee Jess Hinnigan. Jess joined the team in June 2011 as an optical assistant, working on Sundays. She enjoyed it so much she completed training to become a full time dispenser in 2012.
More recently she has focussed on taking the next step up - to become an audiologist. In January she qualified as a hearing care assistant, and is now taking an audiology degree. Paul has encouraged and supported Jess’s decision to enhance her skills. So, with help from Specsavers’ support office, Paul has arranged for Jess to combine working at the store with her audiology training at De Montfort University in Leicester.
An ambitious team in Norris Green
Jess is just one example of the ambitious team at Specsavers in Norris Green, many of whom are furthering their skills with support from Paul. And his team-focused approach is working well.
During his two and a half years working as a director at the store, Paul has managed to grow his team from 11 to 17 members and has helped them rack up numerous professional qualifications along the way.
Paul said: ‘Most of the staff at Norris Green have been here for a long time and this is partly because we have been able to support their ambitions. This really does make it a positive and happy place to work and gives the store a great atmosphere too – something the customers always pick up on.
Paul continued: ‘A well trained and well supported team goes a long way in ensuring great service for our customers and keeps them coming back to us.’
Supporting charities in the local area
As the local owner of a well-known national business based in the community, Paul has also enjoyed supporting local charities. Many links he has made have been as a result of relationships he has formed with his customers.
As well as hosting regular fundraising events in store to raise cash for a wide variety of charities, last autumn the store donated over 300 high visibility vests to children from local schools and community groups as part of a wider initiative around Road Safety Week with Specsavers stores nationwide. Paul’s own professional development has also been enhanced since joining Specsavers.
Representing the Granada region
As well as working as director of the Norris Green store, Paul is vice chairman of Specsavers stores in the North West, which are all joint-venture partnerships. Directors from across the region meet regularly to ensure stores keep their service consistent and any issues are resolved quickly and effectively. Next year, Paul has been asked to take the lead for the region as chairman.
Paul said: ‘It’s great to be in a position to develop my own skills and help to support other directors of Specsavers stores in the North West.
He continued: ‘Overall, I’d honestly say the best thing about my job is that it’s so people focused. Whether that’s working with charities to the benefit of local people, helping a member of staff achieve their full professional potential, or working more closely with other directors representing the region in relations with Specsavers support office.
The different challenges each day makes me realise how lucky I am to have this job. At the end of the working week, I look forward to spending time with my wife and three children. I really am a big family man and time off is all about relaxing with them'.