Retailers falling short at training frontline workers
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Thirty-one percent of all frontline retail employees say they do not receive any formal workplace training, according to the “2019 State of Frontline Employee Workplace Training Report” by Axonify. For those receiving training, as many as 27 percent say it isn’t effective because it is too boring and not engaging enough.
“Associates want interesting-looking, snack sized, Google-like access to the information that they’re seeking,” said Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify. “That’s entirely possible now without ever pulling the individual off the floor to do it.”
Ms. Leaman said research into how the brain finds and retains information shows that, in training sessions, the average person stops listening after 11 minutes. This “mental checkout” effect hampers retailers. Due to the overload of information presented, the average person only remembers seven to nine percent of what they learned 30 days after the classroom session took place.
Ms. Leaman encourages retailers to establish repetitive but digestible teaching habits via mobile quizzes and fun facts to ignite memory creation on the sales floor.
Perhaps one of the biggest problems within organizations trying to keep their employees is that they simply don’t think ahead. Only 41 percent of frontline workers across industries say their organization offers additional training designed to develop skills for the future, while 76 percent want such additional training.
Retail employees rate their training as 55 percent effective, a shade below the 58 percent of manufacturing employees who did the same. Retailers rank well behind two industries in training effectiveness: Professional Sales (70 percent) and Finance and Insurance (67 percent).
“Historically speaking, retailers have lagged in terms of their applications of new technologies, new processes and things that are going to help them be much more competitive,” Ms. Leaman said. “Fortunately, I think it’s changing. They’re being dragged, whether they like it or not, into the present day in the modern world, both because of globally competitive factors and also the changing demographic of their customers and their workforce.”
- Study: 31 percent Of Retail Associates Still Don’t Receive Formal Workplace Training – Retail TouchPoints
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice do you have for improving the effectiveness of retail training? What’s the key to helping associates remember and bring lessons from training efforts to selling floors?