Your career pathway

Stephen Jordan, Area Manager, Aldi

What does your job involve?

Over the past two years I've been responsible for up to four stores at any one time and also the early stages of a new store opening. Each week consists of visiting my stores and having weekly updates with my store managers. I then find key areas for improvement across the stores. With up to 100 personnel in my area, a large portion of time is also spent interviewing new candidates and also developing existing staff.

What skills are important to be successful?

To be successful in this role, drive is number one. You need to be passionate about people and results. They both go hand in hand. Drive isn't enough though – integrity, organisation and interpersonal skills are absolutely key to our success. Finally, the ability to adapt in an ever-changing environment.

What do you love about your job?

I think it's the level of responsibility, especially at this age. The variety in the role is also a huge factor for me. There is never a week where you can simply sit back on auto-pilot. There are always new decisions to make and that's what motivates me. But the main thing I enjoy about the role is that it's people based. We value face to face interaction and in all areas of the business the calibre of our employees is second to none.

What did you do in college that has helped your career?

During college I worked as a referee for the GAA, which was critical to my development, teaching conflict management and requiring me to make tough decisions under pressure. In an ever changing environment, as a referee there are tough calls that need to be made and they may not always be popular ones. You're responsible for the well-being of two full teams, spectators and your umpires. It requires you to manage a lot.

What was your 'career break'?

I originally studied engineering as my undergrad. Most engineers tend to end up in senior management and that was always the goal. I wanted to move into business and management so Aldi was a perfect choice for me. Prior to that, an opportunity came up to do a Masters in business operations and engineering. This allowed me to get my ME but also study subjects like business management, psychology, supply chain, marketing and advertising, and that's what led me into the position I'm in today.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

Aldi places a great emphasis on work/life balance. Especially in a role as demanding as this, it's absolutely critical that we're taking care of our personal lives and still maintaining the hobbies and interests that we had before joining the role. If we're not taking care of our personal lives our efficiency will drop and that won't benefit the business. There's a great benefit to being able to share your experiences both inside and outside work.