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Cultivating the Well-Trained Staff

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The first step in acquiring an accomplished staff is their hire, in the first place. Retail Staffing Firms are already equipped with the necessary knowledge of store operations. These firms can integrate with your company so they can quickly find the right people.

They also have the experience and expertise to help stores think strategically about their hiring, as far as the type of people being sought, where to source them, and how to hire the best people for the job.

Some retailers are still in recovery mode from the recession. This makes it all the more important to engage in the focus and leverage that Retail Staffing firms have.

In a recent joint survey by CareerBuilder and WorkInRetail.com, almost 30% of retailers are challenged by the recruitment process and face difficulty when hiring top people for their store—all the more reason to have Retail Staffing professionals in your corner.

The survey found that the biggest concern for retail employers is employee morale, followed closely by employee retention. Rob Morris, director of WorkInRetail.com, notes, “Employees desire a sense of opportunity, and the companies that provide that will attract and keep the best workers.”

Having necessary training programs in place should be part of a retail operation. A store’s employees serve as the point of contact between a retailer and the public. Influencing how a retail employee represents your business can have a great impact on how your store is viewed by the shopper. From the moment a potential customer walks into the store, their spending choices will be influenced by a number of factors, primarily the experience that customer has with the store’s staff. The more successful the store associate is in creating a comfortable environment, the more customers are likely to buy. Training provides the opportunity to influence your staff’s behavior and then concurrently, the perception of your store.

Also, proper training will determine how quickly and efficiently employees can complete key tasks so they can move on to the most important thing they could be doing: working with customers. These tasks can involve the basics of opening and closing procedures to the nuances of operating the POS system. Employee incompetence can undo a sale, and can cause other operational problems. Furthermore, the lack of proper employee training can open an employer up to various forms of liability, including safety concerns, fair hiring and firing concerns and protection against inappropriate unemployment claims.

A well-trained employee is more likely to feel a connection with his or her job and is also more apt to be a loyal employee. This can cut down on employee turnover, which in turn cuts operating costs and affects employee behavior at work. Loyal workers usually take pride in their performance, store image, and products they’re selling. That attitude is reflected back on the customer and their positive image of the store. Staff loyalty also reduces the risk of employee theft and poor work attendance.

Providing the proper skill set to encourage sales will help staff become better attuned to customer behavior. A sales associate who can effectively perceive when a shopper wants help vs. one who wants to be left alone is an important skill.

Stores can take a cue from Apple by focusing on creating value for customers, not sales. Ron Johnson, former senior VP of retail for Apple, notes, “If the store just fulfills a specific product need, it’s not creating new types of value for the consumer. It’s transacting. Any website can do that. But if a store can help shoppers find outfits that make them feel better about themselves, for instance… the store is adding value beyond simply providing merchandise.”

Good training can help sales staff create that value for customers…and increase the bottom line.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, staffing, management, work in retail, jobs,
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