At the end of the day (and at the beginning, too), the most important part of your retail operation isn’t the artful way you’ve arranged the products on the shelves or even the products themselves. It’s the folks who are responsible for overseeing the movement of those products from your store into the hands of grateful consumers: your employees.
The skills gap currently marring the labour market has created a scene in which more retailers are hiring according to soft skills, and opting to train the more foundational retail skills. As such, professionally preparing your staff emerges as a truly critical exercise. One store can meaningfully differentiate itself from another with effective training practices that make their employees feel engaged in their work — and consequently drive sales.
The Retail Council of Canada, in partnership with WCB International Consultants Ltd., recently conducted a survey — the Retail Training and Employment Development Benchmark Survey 2015 — designed to identify training and development benchmarks.
The survey, which polled more than 50 retail trainers representing Canadian retailers of all sizes, revealed a handful of key lessons. They were as follows:
1. There’s a shortage of skilled candidates for meeting retailer’s recruitment needs.
2. Attitude and soft skills are priorities in the recruitment and selection process.
3. The focus of current training offerings is operational in nature with a focus on policy, procedures and management development.
4. Post-secondary education is nice to have for retail positions, but not a requirement.
5. E-learning and classroom are the predominant methods of training for retailers.
A selection of the survey results is highlighted below: