CSD: Train to Retain
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
Employee exit interview surveys tell us the main reason outstanding employees quit is because they think they aren’t well managed. In other words, they joined the company but leave the manager.
Convenience store operators need to thoroughly understand the key areas where managers and employees interact and share what has been proven to work, starting with training.
When left to our own devices, most of us tend to deliver training in the way we prefer to receive it. This creates problems because different people have different learning styles. Some learn best by reading written instructions; some by hearing or seeing the task performed; and others learn by doing it themselves. Managers who don’t allow for each of these learning styles create unnecessary frustration for the trainee as well as themselves and are often perceived as "bad teachers." The best way to train and keep good people on board is to incorporate all methods of instruction so they naturally reinforce each other.
The three keys to an overall training philosophy are to:
- Set clear expectations: Employees perform better if they know exactly what you want them to do. This includes communicating the consequences. Let employees know the impact their work will have on the organization or its customers if they do it right, do it wrong or don’t do it at all.
- Provide necessary skills/knowledge: Once they know what you want them to do and why, they need to know how to do it.
- Remove obstacles: Think about the task at hand and ask yourself, "What might prevent a person from succeeding?" Faulty or wrong equipment, cramped or crowded working conditions are examples of obstacles that can hurt employee performance.
While you have a picture of how the task should be done in your head, nobody else, least of all your new hire, can read your mind. Communicate your expectations every chance you get. Ask trainees to read the written instructions and ask them why they think it should be done that way or if they have any ideas about how it might be done better. Regularly review expectations like reliability, dependability and honesty in staff meetings.
When you accommodate different learning styles in a supportive environment, you communicate that you want to help your people be successful. The happy — and profitable — result is that your trainees are more productive and much more likely to stick around.
Discussion Questions: What are some regular mistakes or misconceptions around training strategies at retail? What have you found to be the most effective training methods?