Career pathway: growing your career as a Store Manager

Author: Staci Hearnshaw
Author: Staci Hearnshaw
Posting date: 10/01/2022

At Vision Express, we’re passionate about training and development which is why we offer a range of career pathways for all of our colleagues. Your learning matters to us, and we care about your growth. We’re proud of our colleagues and we want to help those who are looking to take their next step, we’re always keen to share careers advice. We spoke with Mickey Daniels who began his career with us, as an Optical Assistant and now works as a Store Manager in one of our Top 50 Vision Express stores.

What are your career options?

We make sure you can achieve your goals and get the support you need at every stage of your career. That’s why we have various career pathways that set us apart from the competition. With more customers visiting our stores, we have more opportunities than ever. Mickey has lots of experience with us and shares his thoughts on the different routes to becoming a Store Manager:

“There are quite a few different pathways for our colleagues, in all roles. Historically, you start as an Optical Assistant which is our entry-level role. You don’t need any optics experience or any qualifications to join us, and that’s what I started as, straight from school when I was sixteen. From there, you’ve then got a few options. There are the Vision Express Sponsorship programs to then becoming a Vision Express Dispensing Optician, a Contact Lenses Optician and even eventually an Optometrist, or you can go down the management route.

The different management roles that I’ve had are Team Leader, then Assistant Store Manager and then my current role which is Store Manager. You could even look at the Store Support Office route, which could be working in Operations, Loss Prevention or Training. There are loads of different avenues you can choose depending on where you want your career with Vision Express to take you.”

How to take a step up the ladder

The climb up any career ladder is always a challenge because it often means stepping outside your comfort zone. However, communication is also very important. Mickey has experience developing a team and he’s seen first-hand that speaking to line managers about your career goals, is the key to making progress within a store environment.

“I think it’s about speaking up and expressing your interest to your manager. It’s also about working towards your current role and current goals, to show that you’ve got the capabilities – and then speaking up about where you want to go.”

Having guidance and support from your leader will help you move forward. We’re always here to support our team to be the best version of themselves. Our managers are able to help become more confident in certain areas and deliver personalized development plans, which will give you the support you need to step in the right direction. Your vision is our vision.

I had that experience with some of my Optometrists who have both developed into Optometrist Store Managers. They expressed an interest in it, so I started giving them one on one time with me, so they can see what I do on a day-to-day basis as a Store Manager, as part of their development plan. This was to check that they do understand the role and that it’s definitely for them, it gave them a clearer understanding of the requirements of the role and if this was something that interested them.”

Therefore, having the right attitude and communicating your needs to upper management is crucial for taking the next step and moving your career forward as a Store Manager. The day-to-day responsibilities of a Store Manager include creating great customer service, providing exceptional care for visitors and managing a team. All of this requires commercial understanding and excellent people skills.

Growing your career with Vision Express

We understand that career growth is important. We make sure our employees always have something to look forward to, even when you’ve been working as a Store Manager for a long while. But why is Vision Express a great place to grow your career?

“It’s the support you get from the start. I think it’s knowing exactly who to go to and the support from your managers. I look after twenty people in my store in Manchester and they know I’m the point of contact for anything they need, I make sure I’m there for my team. Vision Express are really good at supporting and knowing who to go to, depending on what you need. I just think it makes it so much easier for everyone to decide what they want to do and who to speak to.”

“We also have talent maps at Vision Express, so every year the Store Managers and the Regional Managers will be given a talent map to plot people as to where they’re at in their careers. Then what happens is that when opportunities come up, anyone that’s recruiting for a role can pull up that talent map and select the people who are overachieving and invite them for an interview.”

Talent maps are also a great motivator for our colleagues. It gives them the opportunity to see different options and where they can take their careers, as well as share their skills and knowledge in other roles across Vision Express.

We’re an employer that’s focused on professional development, and we believe everyone should have equal opportunities. By joining Vision Express, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and ensure you keep learning and growing.

Let Vision Express help you

Whether you’re just starting out in optometry, or looking for your next Store Manager role, Vision Express can help you. We’re committed to giving you the best support to help you progress on your path faster. If you enjoyed Mickey’s career advice, now’s the time to take advantage of our great opportunities.

Take a look at our store management jobs today and contact us to find out more.