There’s no doubt that the growing popularity of e-learning has made it easier for retailers to deliver consistent, cost-effective training to the masses.  More and more, retailers are reaching frontline staff by way of video modules hosted on their own Learning Management Systems, interactive modules and even apps designed to keep staff informed, engaged and motivated out on the sales floor.  All positive steps for retailers, but it does beg the question, “Have you lost the human touch when it comes to training your frontline teams?”

We know that people initially choose to work for the brand.  They love the product, they think the brand is cool, they want to be a part of the culture, but they stay because of management.  Store Managers and District Managers who rely solely on their online training, without any human reinforcement after the modules are complete likely aren’t getting the results they hoped for from their training system.  It’s convenient to blame the e-learning, independent style of learning for the lack of application from the staff, but I’d like to say, the finger should be pointed at the Leadership on this one.  Where’s the human touch?  Could that be the missing ingredient? 

Back in the day, Store Managers and District Managers were often accountable for hosting classroom style training.  They didn’t have convenient e-learning systems at their fingertips.  They actually had to show up and spend time teaching their teams.  This classroom style training, while not nearly as effective and sustainable as e-learning, did have something that needs to be added into the mix with the new approach to training today.  It’s the human interaction. 

At Graff Retail, we pride ourselves on marrying up the benefits of e-learning with real-time, on the floor coaching and follow up to ensure that managers are doing their part to build a bridge for their staff between watching a training video in the backroom and real life conversations with customers on the floor.  Real life application requires Leadership to be present and applying the power of the human touch!

As a Store Manager and/or District Manager, you can’t forget that the number one responsibility you have to your staff is to help facilitate their purpose.  The next time you are doing a store visit or working a shift with some part-timers get out on the floor with them.  Treat them like a guest in your home, put away the technology and spend some time so they know they are more important to you than the rest of the world in that moment.  Be keen to catch them doing a great job and enthusiastic about recognizing them for it on the spot!  Remember that people are more prepared to give a great performance if they feel valued, invested in and purposeful.  The only way to deliver that feeling to people is through the human touch. 

Does your approach to training have the human touch?

Mary Gordon and Kim McCutcheon have been supporting retail front lines for as long as they can remember. A dynamic duo, Mary and Kim understand what it takes to make training work at store level and know how to inspire, coach and support retail teams in all of their training endeavours.

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