The 5 Touch Points When You Can Boost Retention Through Training

There are opportunities to improve employee engagement and make working for your company a win-win for the long term.
Guest Writer

Retention is crucial to the success of any company. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for retail employers to reduce their turnover. The best way to improve retention rates is investing in employees and their professional development.

Learnkit’s 2015 report entitled Creating a Win-Win-Win Learning Strategy for Your Organization found that 89 percent of the 421 employees surveyed feel it’s important their employers support their learning and development. With most employees craving growth, why aren’t companies stepping up their development game?

Let’s take a look at how retail employers can improve their retention by focusing on training their employees throughout the employee lifecycle:

1. Hiring

It all starts here -- finding top talent and sending out offers. It’s best to base hiring entry level employees on their attitude and on the degree to which they share company values. This way, employers know new hires are engaged in their work for more than just a paycheck. It’s up to employers to educate their candidates on what the company stands for.

First of all, promote core values to candidates on the careers page and relevant social media accounts. Then, start sharing employee testimonials that describe how current staff members put these values into action.

The main challenge is translating abstract terms and phrases into action, and that’s why it’s crucial to get job descriptions just right. Integrate core values into the postings and show what kinds of behaviors reflect them.

For example, if the company values growth and innovation, describe a behavior that would reflect that, like an employee who actively seeks learning opportunities and jumps in when new responsibilities present themselves. To screen for this, ask behavior-based interview questions, so candidates share past experiences to prove they act according to their employer’s values.

2. Training

This is arguably one of the most common pain points for retail companies. An October 2015 infographic of the State of Employee Training survey conducted by West Unified Communication Services found that one-third of the 200 full-time employees surveyed said current training programs aren’t productive, while another one-third say the material is not interesting or engaging.

The simple fact is that one-size-fits-all onboarding sets new hires up for failure. They want more than boring slideshows and packets of paper.

Break up training into modules that cater to the role and emphasize the big picture. For example, when training sales reps, give them some context on why the company values honesty and how customer satisfaction retains customers and improves sales. Make the training interesting and engaging by using games, integrating educational programs and applications, and role playing.

3. Coaching

Training should get new hires off their feet and onto the floor. It’s in the frontlines that they learn the most because supervisors and management can focus on coaching them in real time. This is where creative role playing comes in.

With creative role playing, employers can coach new hires on how to interact and react in hypothetical situations. They should enlist the help of current employees to present common scenarios. Not only does this help new hires learn, but it also acts as a great tool for team building.

Role playing creates a safe place to show new hires how to deal with conflict resolution and improve their communication skills. Start introducing them to common situations where they need to apply those specific actions and behaviors they learned from the training guidelines, and observe to see how they perform.

4. Mentoring

After onboarding, connect new hires with more experienced employees. Mentors help them build communication and customer service skills in real time. They can also empower them with constructive feedback and recognize them when they succeed.

New technologies are introducing video into the mix to help managers capture and assess performance. These video solutions are perfect for companies that want to establish an employee recognition program where they can review how employees perform and then offer an incentive or reward for the A players.

Employee recognition helps engage employees and keep them motivated. Make sure to celebrate each employee equally, with a focus on new hires.

5. Succeeding

Create a succession structure with assistant managers and department supervisors to ensure that when a manager leaves, there is a smooth transition. Don’t get caught off guard and start to scramble for replacements.

With a strong training program, companies are more equipped to boost retention and build a talent pipeline. This way, when higher-ups vacate, there are plenty of qualified employees ready to jump in and take over.

Integrating technology into employee sourcing and talent management is the best way for organizations to stay relevant and to prepare for the future of the retail industry. When companies invest in their staff’s professional development, employees want to stay and grow.

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