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A company with wonderful values, but confusion in its place in the market.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Store Manager
Former Employee - Store Manager

I worked at The Body Shop full-time (more than an year)

Pros

Every single day, I wanted to help people with what I did in my employment. When I worked at The Body Shop, I had that opportunity. The stories that people would tell coming in of what their concerns were, I loved being able to really work one-on-one with them and help them feel better about themselves.

I felt that as a Store Manager, I had autonomy to drive the team the way I felt best, and that the company gave me all of the tools that I needed for success in that (more on this in Cons, however). I had a quality product to sell, and good coaching tools to lead associates.

The sales were focused on getting the customers what they needed, even if it didn't make sense (more on this in Cons as well). As a whole, senior management cared, but you had to know how to communicate with them, and understand that they wanted to hear that communication and when you got quiet, then they'd worry about your location.

There's a wonderful loyalty program that while it might cost $10, the benefits to the customer are far above and beyond the cost of the card, so selling it is a fun responsibility.

Cons

Here's where sadly, I have to dissect all of my pros:

The Body Shop is not classified a cosmetics retailer but as a specialty retailer, so associates at all levels other than the ASM and SM are not earning more than minimum wage, with less than 15 hrs/wk at their positions. This how payroll writes it. Most shops only need single or double coverage, it is hard to hire and keep quality employees with such low pay and so few hours, meaning that lot's of good people are lost to cosmetics areas of mall anchors. While values are a great thing, let's be honest: money drives the world around.

When it comes to getting new associates in the door, there is a rigorous interview process. Their scores are subjectively reviewed by a manager who might just kick them out on principle of not scoring high enough. Then, they have to make it through two interviews with two different store managers and a mock floor experience. And if they're a management candidate? An interview with the District Manager. When you have openings and they're looking for cosmetics or retail experience, most people are making more than what you're able to offer them, and candidates without much experience are mostly rejected. Sad, too, because most of those candidates have the best possible outlook on working with The Body Shop and growing the brand. And once someone's in the door? It doesn't matter how talented they might be and how much their manager recognizes this and tries to advance them or help them, promotions are VERY subjective.

Next, while there are a lot of great coaching tools to use as a manager, communication and where to find them was an issue. Between random voicemail messages that were left on a digital system by members of head office in North Carolina and your District Manager, to a computerized organized bulletin board of sorts called "Body Talk," there was a lot of information that would be disseminated out. *IF* you read it all, everything you needed was there, but unfortunately most managers didn't, so on weekly conference calls, instead of celebrating results, there would be manager "hand holding" through all of the events of the week. This would take up an additional hour that the Store Manager couldn't be on the floor, coaching and leading results. When you would try to call the help desk line, it was unfortunately recently outsourced, so the level of service severely dropped.

Regarding communication, sales were something of an issue. The company couldn't figure out what sort of model they wanted to run with promotions. While they were eliminated at one point, promotions are sort of like the mouse in the classic kids book: "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie." Once you introduce the fact to a customer that the price on the shelf could be less than what they see? You have ingrained that promotion with them and lose them as a full priced customer, no matter what the value of the product might be. So when the company isn't happy about the sales numbers that they see? They send out messages, changing the sales in the middle of the sale, attempting to draw in more customers. Contingency sign kits are sent out just for these occurrences. Online runs different promotions that the stores are unable to match.
Speaking of the sign kits, the company likes to reuse a lot of things to be economically friendly. While I agree wholeheartedly with that, not a lot of the stores have the storage space for the props and signage that they expect them to hold onto.

My final point in the cons is about the product. While a wonderful product, there are a lot of issues about the transportation of the product. Having a global supply chain seems to be a challenge because when there is something out of stock, it can be out of stock for months: a concealer pencil from January-July; a face lotion from March-December; a brand new pore minimizer from August/September-NEXT March! Issues like this make it hard to build customer loyalty, especially when they're trying to really grab a solid brand foot-holding amidst the B&BW in the world. And to top it off, while there might be a scheduled delivery day, the delivery driver does not come at a specific reliable time each day, causing issues with payroll and not knowing when to schedule a 10 hour a week person to come in to help process stock.

I feel like this is a long list of complaints, but I wholeheartedly enjoyed myself as a manager because I tried not to take myself too seriously. I left because there was no room for my advancement without putting in another year or two as a store manager. The company focuses so much on numbers and results (as they should), but they don't look at the comparables when managers are moved around and see the other things that are influenced like employee morale, management relations in the mall and in the district, and overall energy in the shop, the quality of recruiting, and other things that cannot be fully tangibly measured.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Spend some time in your stores while not wearing a suit or not as a member of management would look . Please really look at their operations and think about the communication that you give them. There are a lot of AMAZING associates at all levels within the company, but they're not being paid nearly what they're worth, and not being given the chance to advance due to very subjective systems in place. Even my suggestions as a store manager were never listened to when I knew what people were capable of, neither were much of my peers.

We value you as the company, but we want you to listen to us and really listen hard. And we're not afraid to talk to you about what's wrong, but we're tired of talking when you won't listen. Or when you just won't act.

We really want you to get your act together and really listen to what the stores need and all of these little issues. When we come to you, its a problem that we want to see fixed because we haven't figured out how to handle it ourselves. We're intelligent and resourceful, and we just need your help to run our shops with the same entrepreneurial spirit that Anita started this company with.

Recommends
Negative Outlook
No opinion of CEO

258 Other Employee Reviews for The Body Shop (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Starts off alright, all downhill from there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Keyholder
    Former Employee - Keyholder

    I worked at The Body Shop full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    -Excellent core values, extremely community-friendly
    -Fair trade and organic ingredients that can make you feel good about selling them
    -Easy, comprehensive training program
    -Cruelty-free cosmetics
    -You're allowed to play and experiment with the makeup and products during your shift
    -Extremely generous employee discount on already reasonably priced items

    Cons

    -Horrendous, high school-like work atmosphere, fuelled by gossip amidst management and employees alike. There is an age requirement there of 18+, yet every girl there acted like they were 14.
    -You are expected to wear a minimum 7 pieces of visible (foundation, powder, etc doesn't count) makeup at all times. Your outfit must be exactly to code (all black, business casual, no visible piercings or tattoos, no "bold" jewelry, no bright hair colors or weird hair cuts) and your appearance is scrutinized every single day you walk in.
    -Management at my store would constantly walk all over you. As long as profits were being made, the employees were not cared for at all. If you had a problem, you were basically harassed about it until you stopped talking about it. My manager was dismissed after too many employee complaints. Her replacement was no better.
    -God help you during the holiday season; extremely high standards for gift-wrapping. You are expected to do it as rapidly as possible but if it does not look absolutely identical to the one in the Visual, you have to do it again.
    -There is an expectation to push (unreasonably priced) loyalty cards on customers and daily individual/store sales goals are allotted and tracked every hour. If you don't make your goal, it's a problem. Yet there is no commission, you get hourly minimum wage. Always struck me as a little odd.
    -You are expected to be on your feet for 7 and a half hours in dress shoes, but if you lean on something or cross your arms, you'll get a write up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember your core values and stick to them. You value self esteem; spend time nurturing and complimenting employees, rather than scrutinizing them. When I was hired, I was not anticipating going back to high school. Managers should lead by example. When they are gossiping to one another and playing favourites, they should not be shocked when they find out about gossip going on amidst employees. I worked at one of the biggest profit-yeilding locations for this store, I expected *much* better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Started off great, ended meh

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Body Shop

    Pros

    - Most of the coworkers
    - Employee discount
    - General atmosphere
    - Location's hours

    Cons

    - Expensive loyalty card
    - Some management who didn't know what they were doing
    - Non-competitive pay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take some time to talk to your store associates, not just the manager and assistant manager. Because they're the ones constantly on the front lines, they see a lot of issues that management may not care about. Keep up with the pay rates of the industry.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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