The retail industry has changed dramatically in the last year, with the Covid-19 pandemic providing an acceleration of a number of trends that were already on the way – it’s just that now these trends are in full swing.
One of the major trends of the last few years in retail, and in business more generally, has been the need to upskill workers to ensure they are staying ahead of industry developments and customer expectations.
And, with the huge changes that came to customer expectations last year (dubbed the ‘new normal’), there is perhaps no time more urgent to reskill and upskill than now.
According to training specialists RedSeed, staff that work in an environment that invests in training up its employees are more than twice as likely to hit performance targets.
“Training is a form of recognition and reward for many employees,” RedSeed chief executive and co-founder Anya Anderson said.
“They see the company is investing in them and their skills and it has a powerful effect on [workplace] culture.”
While years ago such training needed to be delivered onsite, with staff members required to take time out of a day to go through an intensive training program, in today’s world it’s possible for staff to learn the skills they need to succeed online – broken up into lessons developed by qualified trainers and available to be viewed when they have time.
This also helps keep staff that may be spread across a wide geographical area on the same page – if everyone can access the same training, everyone has the same opportunity to succeed.
“Online training offers organisations a way to engage their team even when social distancing is required or stores are locked-down,” Anderson said.
“They can connect and support their team in a safe way. Using downtime to improve your skills also offers a way to transition to other roles either inside or outside of your organisation.”
Regular training boosts employee commitment
This kind of regular training also has the added benefit of making staff feel more connected to their workplace: RedSeed data shows 48 per cent of staff feel more committed, and 30 per cent feel more excited about work, when they have undergone regular training.
“There has been a shift in buying behaviour with COVID and there has also been a shift in employee engagement through lockdowns and continued uncertainty around employment,” Anderson said.
“Now more than ever organisations need to be looking after the wellbeing of their people to keep them engaged and productive. Training can take many forms and we have retailers asking for dealing with stress and anxiety training to support their teams.”
However, this only works if lessons are relevant: 62 per cent of employees have had training made available to them that is not applicable to their job.
This can easily have the opposite effect, so it is incredibly important for training to be simple, accurate and relevant or else staff can feel misunderstood by and alienated from their workplace.
Bring it all together with a strong strategy
How do you achieve this? Develop a strong training strategy.
“It’s important to spend time getting your strategy right first. A training strategy helps to reduce the chance of a course or program of work failing, which happens more often than you might think,” RedSeed said.
A good strategy, according to the business, identifies the problem to be solved as well as the audience of the training, and decides on a defined, measurable objective.
“Not having clearly defined learning objectives is like trying to navigate from A-to-B without a map,” the business said.
“You’re likely to get lost on your way, and you’ll probably end up in the wrong place.”
Using its online learning management system, RedSeed can provide API integrations, resources, content, learning pathways and a training dashboard to help your business keep your staff motivated and succeeding.