It will come as no surprise to good retailers everywhere, but the results of a recent, long-term study highlight the importance of relevant, thorough, sustained employee training.  In fact, the specific conclusion of this research was that “Firms' investment in employee training is the single most powerful predictor of future financial performance …”.  There you have it (one more time) … your people are your most important assets!

 

The study goes on to say that “… large investing firms (i.e. the companies that invest heavily in employee training) have beaten the market by about 33 percent per annum.  That's significant …  If you can consistently outperform your competitors by one-third each year, within a matter of only a three-

year period you can double your performance relative to theirs.”

Wow!  Does this grab your attention the way it does ours?  How would you like to double your competitors’ performance within the next three years?  You’d be untouchable in the market place, wouldn’t you?

Now comes the tough part.  It’s time for a little self-reflection.  How would you rate your own commitment to employee training?  Does your investment in this area reflect its impact on your success?  Does it clearly indicate your understanding of the need for a truly professional staff in your stores?

Retailers who may have let this part of their business slide recently are likely to say “This is great.  I’d love to become known for training my staff well.  But how much does it cost?” Okay, let’s look at this for a moment.  If you invested $1,000 in each employee this year, they would only have to increase their individual sales by $2,000 to $5,000 to get you to the break-even point.  Not very much, is it?

Even at the upper end of that range ($5,000 in new annual sales), this means that store staff would only have to sell $100 more per week, or $20 more per day.  Do you think your employees could do that?  Of course they can!  (Here’s a thoughtif you don’t think you can get an extra $20 from each staff member today, you might want to consider a different career path!)

And guess what?  That’s not the only good news.  If you do it the right way, the $1,000 you invest today will create an effective store operations and employee training system that will remain in place for years to come.  So next year you’ll only need to spend about 10% of this amount to maintain your new system.  Can you beat that? 

Any other excuses out there for not training your employees?  No?  Good … so just do it!

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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