Putting People at the Forefront of Retail Training

New Leaf Technologies explains why engaging e-learning programmes can help reduce staff turnover in the retail sector

Putting People at the Forefront of Retail Training
Putting People at the Forefront of Retail Training. image source: Unsplash

JOHANNESBURG, – The change the retail sector has undergone in the past decade is staggering.

Particularly with the global pandemic propelling online shopping to unprecedented heights, retailers have had to adopt an omnichannel approach to meet customer expectations.

Staff dare not fall short, whether in-store or online. The bottom line is exceptional service, and no quarter will be given by today’s consumers.

But employee expectations have changed, too. Young people, in particular, want to know before starting a job that they will not be stuck in the advertised position forever and plenty of opportunities for growth exist within the company.

For this reason, onboarding and training programmes not only need to be effective in bringing new staff up to speed but should also be engaging and informative.

With proper training employees are furnished with the type of skills and knowledge that can benefit their careers and even their personal growth, says Mike Hanly, managing director of South African online learning provider New Leaf Technologies.

“It also improves staff morale, which can only benefit the business in the long run as it leads to higher retention rates and improved productivity.”

The advantages of employee retention are numerous.

“Staff feel cared for and valued which reduces the turnover rate and saves the business money in terms of recruitment costs. Personnel are also imbued with a sense of loyalty and commitment, making for a much happier workplace where people are more inclined to collaborate with their colleagues.”

The types of training offered should align both with business requirements and what employees hope to gain. Some examples include:

  • Product knowledge training: This focuses on providing retail employees with a deep understanding of the products they sell, including features, benefits, and customer use cases.
  • Sales training: This equips retail employees with the skills they need to effectively sell products and services, including customer engagement, product positioning, and objection handling.
  • Soft skills training: This relates to developing the interpersonal skills that are critical for success in retail.
  • Compliance training: This is aimed at ensuring that retail employees understand and comply with relevant laws, regulations and policies, such as health and safety regulations and data privacy laws.
  • Management training: This covers topics such as leadership, team management, and performance management.

The key to it all, Hanly says, is to make the learning experience as memorable and inspirational as possible.

“Here it is important to target individuals, addressing their needs, context and goals and

provide the right content to help them. The latest e-learning technology is perfect for this as it uses algorithms to detect a user’s needs and provides personalised recommendations.

“At New Leaf Technologies, we aim to create learning experiences that are designed to attract, enrich, and

retain talent. This learner-centric and accelerated approach to content delivery can also greatly reduce overall learning time and increase knowledge uptake that addresses an individual’s knowledge gap.”

Value-add holds huge appeal for new staff members, especially when it comes to ever-evolving digital learning systems. They will have read and heard a lot about the power of AI, for example, so any company offering it will naturally have their attention.

This means that retailers need to keep track of the latest technological advancements to “keep on top” of learning and development initiatives.

“Staff turnover and effective engagement strategies go hand in hand. Lose an employee’s interest and they will look for work elsewhere. So, make sure your e-learning programmes speak to their individual needs and skill levels to make them feel like they are a valued part of the team,” Hanly says.