"Well-trained and motivated employees are one of the main competitive factors in the retail industry"

Interview with Christina Stylianou, Spokesperson of Netto Marken-Discount


One of the main factors for success in retail is dedicated and competent employees. This is also true for food retail. German food retailer Netto Marken-Discount is among the Top 3 German food discounters and attaches great importance to the continuing education of its associates. In this interview, spokesperson Christina Stylianou explains which options Netto offers its trainees and employees and why qualified staff is an important factor for success.
Foto: Christina Stylianou; © Netto Marken-Discount

Christina Stylianou; © Netto Marken-Discount

Miss Stylianou, why is qualified young talent so important to a company?

Christina Stylianou: As one of the three leading food discounters in Germany, Netto Marken-Discount employs approximately 69,700 associates. With approximately 6,470 apprentices, we are also an important training institution in Germany. With more than 3,500 articles and a focus on fresh products, we have the largest food selection among discounters. This means that we are not just in need of many qualified in-store employees, but also many experts in the areas of logistics, purchasing, marketing, expansion or quality assurance. Our motivated employees ensure our success as a company.

How does Netto manage to obtain such staff and ensure their loyalty to the company? Are there special campaigns and/or promotional programs?

Stylianou: We offer multifaceted career options and position ourselves as an attractive employer with many great advancement options and fair cooperation. Young people with an affinity for food, who enjoy teamwork and are willing to accept responsibility early on, will find an exciting and versatile work environment for their career with Netto Marken-Discount. To teach our trainees management skills, autonomy and organization from the start, they get to manage a branch on their own as a team during our ”trainee weeks“.

We also support our junior staff members with numerous training courses to optimally prepare them for their exams and the working world after their vocational training. Each year we invite our best trainees to a motivational and tribute event to honor their achievements. We also offer a future-oriented and interesting employment guarantee for our TOP trainees. Aside from developing our junior staff, we also focus on promoting the talents of our longtime employees.

It is not just trainees that begin their retail career at Netto; the company also looks for college graduates. What career options do college graduates have at Netto and do you also have a special promotion in this case?

Stylianou: We offer college graduates nine trainee programs with different emphases – ranging from sales and marketing, purchasing and inventory management, central merchandising, project development and revision all the way to human resources, logistics and expansion. During their months of training, a mentor always accompanies the trainees. In addition, they get regular feedback from the instructors to jointly discuss their further individual development.

Our trainee program has been distinguished as a ”career promoting & fair trainee program“ (German: "karriereförderndes & faires Trainee-Programm") by the initiative with the same name. This does not just recognize the contents and structure of our training programs, but also the general business conditions and the safeguarding of high quality standards.

Of course, college graduates can also launch their career at Netto Marken-Discount by hiring in directly. With five dual Bachelor degree programs (in retail management, business management/wholesale, logistics, taxation and auditing and information systems), we also offer multi-faceted career entry and career prospects for high-school graduates. We attach great importance to promoting our junior employees and prefer to fill executive positions with our own employees.

One important point is also the continuing education of employees. What advantages does this have for employees and the company if they acquire new knowledge on a regular basis?

Stylianou: Well-trained and motivated employees are one of the main competitive factors in the retail industry. To do this, we invest in promoting our employees as well as in recruiting talented junior staff. Aside from seminars or the like, personnel development also includes active mentoring of the individual career path. We prefer to fill executive positions with our own employees and thus create attractive advancement opportunities for our employees.

Demographic change and skill shortage create problems for many economic sectors. What is the situation like in retail from your point of view?

Stylianou: We offer safe and versatile career prospects in an exciting work environment. We introduce our career prospects at nationwide recruitment trade shows and graduate recruitment fairs and actively approach students and graduates.

Thanks to a variety of internships, we offer interested young people the chance to get to know the different work areas and work processes in our markets and subsidiaries before they enter the working world. As a member of the “Fair Company“ initiative, Netto Marken-Discount has already championed fair intern conditions for college graduates for many years. Since 2013, we also compensate students, who do their mandatory internships in our company. Subsequently, many of our interns choose vocational training at Netto Marken-Discount.

This is encouraging to us and we are certain that young people appreciate our promising prospects and that they will also continue to choose a career at Netto Marken-Discount in the future.

Interview: Daniel Stöter; EuroShop
First publication at iXtenso.com