Practice these 5 Skills to Make Employee Training Easier

Retailers consistently look for ways to gain a competitive advantage in their marketplace. One way owners can distinguish their operations is to hire talented people with an aptitude for sales and customer service. While the preference may be to hire someone with experience, other qualities can make a less experienced candidate a better fit for the position. It’s best to keep an open mind and consider the specific contributions each person can make to the business. Store owners should avoid feeling pressured to make a quick hiring decision since the long-term goal is to have a staff of motivated employees who ultimately will become top performers. 

There are several measures retailers can initiate to train new employees or improve the performance of their current staff. At some point, everyone may need training on a new POS system, setting up planograms, managing product demonstrations, or interacting with an angry customer. 

Hire positive people with good attitudes
Specific skills can be taught but teaching people to be nice isn’t one of them. People with a positive outlook on life are open to learning new things and are easier to interact with than someone with a sour disposition. Since every person you hire comes with unique experiences, take the time to get to know them—after all, you’ll be spending lots of time together.

Train based on how the person learns information
Understanding the person’s interests and motivations will help you determine the best method to use for your training. Many people are visual learners; others learn best by performing the task. Customized training is more effective than a one size fits all approach. Communicating with the individual about their interests can help the trainer create familiar scenarios.

  • Figure out what motivates the person to work in their role
  • Customize training based on how the person retains information
  • Using images and graphics are helpful tools for visual training learners
  • Role-playing and hands-on demonstrations benefit those who learn by doing

Use Multiple tools and training methods
Incorporating various training methods increases the likelihood that one of the techniques will stick and be retained by the employee. Stimulating the brain’s desire to learn on multiple levels triggers the person’s ability to process and retain new information.    

  • Give clear verbal instructions
  • Show training videos or hold a live demonstration
  • Provide books or manuals for future reference 
  • Conduct role-play to ensure what has been taught is understood
  • Encourage questions at every stage of the training process

Leverage Outside Resources and Modular Training
Training can be time-consuming, primarily when operating a busy hardware storeUse outside resources offered by industry organizations, manufacturers, wholesalers, and co-ops when possible. Most of this training is held online and available to retailers at little or no cost. Employees can train when business is slow or be given incentives to teach at home. If onsite training is the only option, consider breaking sessions into 1-hour timeframes for flexibility. Modular training enables employees to train before work or after the store closes. 

Make continuous learning a best practice
There is always room for improvement. Consumer expectations and behavior are constantly changing. Store employees must provide the level of service shoppers expect if the business is going to be competitive and generate sales. Learning and development should be continuous, providing employees with the tools to perform their jobs at the highest levels. Rather than enforce or restrict knowledge, communicate the benefits to the employee and the business. Employees can teach other store associates when they become adept at a process or procedure. Teaching can be a shared responsibility whereby each person imparts knowledge and creativity. 

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