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Develop a Plan for Training in 2017

Many retailers use the beginning of the year when sales are often slower to spend some extra time on employee training. Whether it’s attending an off-site seminar with a key vendor or completing some online refresher courses, every employee in your store can benefit from ongoing training. However, studies have shown that many retailers do not have a formal training program. And not having a proper training program can affect sales, customer service and employee satisfaction.

Here are five ways you can develop a better training program for 2017.

Know what you want. The start to getting the most out of your training is to know clearly what you want from it. Establish your goal for training and communicate that to your employee. For example, it may be as simple as refreshing product knowledge in a particular department so employees can suggest more add-on sales. The goals should also include a measureable outcome so you know when you’ve achieved your goal.

Set a deadline. Tell employees that training must be done within a certain timeframe. If not, it will be easy to put it off and then never get done. Remember also that if you require employees to train, you also need to allow time for them to train.

Put someone in charge. If you are the owner of the business, you likely have many tasks to accomplish during the day. To help, appoint someone to take charge of the training. This person should monitor the progress of each employee and hold them accountable to meeting their goals. As you pick a trainer, look for someone with experience, but who is also personable and a good teacher, in case you want them to also mentor new employees.

Give it some money. While it doesn’t have to be expensive, it does require an investment of your employees’ time and fees to pay for the courses. Rather than thinking of training as a drain on your budget, think of it as an investment in your future. Trained employees can sell more and provide better customer service. Higher-level training may cost more, but may also provide more return on that investment.

Recognize those who finish. Even if training is required, consider some way to recognize employees who complete that requirement. Some retailers offer incentives for completing training, such as pay increases or a one-time bonus. Another effective way to recognize employees is to post certificates of completion where other employees and customers can see. This serves two purposes: it congratulates employees and show customers that your store has a knowledgeable staff that can help them.

For a complete guide on how to develop an effective training program, download NRHA’s Train the Trainer Guide at www.nrha.org.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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