Lee Jordan, Sales Operations Manager at Lidl Ireland

'Lidl has a culture of coaching and mentoring. Your network is everything and you always feel you can pick up the phone, talk to your colleagues and get advice'

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Lee Jordan

Sales Operations Manager

Lidl Ireland

I’m from Ballina in Co. Mayo and studied business at DCU. I had worked in retail in secondary school and through college, in a sports store, and loved the buzz of it.

In my final year, I applied to the Lidl graduate programme and was accepted. What makes Lidl’s programme stand out is how close the graduate group become. You all support each other and get plenty of opportunities to work together. For example, one of the tasks is to come together and host a fundraising event for our charity partner which comes with lots of learnings in itself.

For the first couple of months I completed my store training and spent the next few months working in Lidl’s Glasnevin and Finglas stores.

By the following January I was shadowing an area manager, before moving into the sales department in head office. It was there I worked on the rolling out of our Waste Not concept, which is designed to reduce food waste. The campaign also gives customers really great discounts on produce.

It was an industry-leading initiative at the time and was launched by Ossian Smyth, the Minister of State. To be able to lead a project like that at 22 was just so cool.

I’ve since taken up a full-time position as a project manager in the sales team, looking at our people and processes and finding new ways of improving customer satisfaction.

I was then promoted to senior project manager and worked on rolling out automated ordering systems. In all, I spent more than three years in head office but to progress you really need to see how these projects impact the stores, so I’m currently training as a sales operations manager and have just taken on five stores in Co. Meath.

Lidl has a culture of coaching and mentoring. Your network is everything and you always feel you can pick up the phone, talk to your colleagues and get advice. Obviously, there’s an organisational structure but not a hierarchical one, in so far as everyone is very approachable.

I’m ambitious. I’d like to keep progressing. Lidl has high expectations for you if you have them for yourself. It’s a great company to work for and I’m really enjoying my job.

This interview first appeared in the Irish Times on July 18th 2023 - Why Lidl’s graduate programme is the fast-track to career success

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