October 25, 2016

Making Your Retail Training Impactful for a New Generation

For many years, the retail landscape has been dominated by Boomers and Gen X as their store employees and frontline staff.  

As a result training methods and approaches have remained the same, but as Gen Y – Millennials – enter the workplace, expectations are shifting dramatically.

It’s no secret about how different Millennials are from previous generations. They’re the first generation to grow up completely immersed in technology.

As a result, being connected and using technology isn’t an extra – it’s an expectation.

Case in point, Millennials are the largest segment of smartphone owners and they want to use their phone for anything and everything.

And it’s not just Millennials. Right behind them are Gen Z (those born after 2000) who are entering the workforce as front-line retail associates.

Retail training needs to modernize to keep pace with the expectations of both of these generations.

Here’s some specific ways mobile and e-learning apps can improve your retail training, especially for millennials and Gen Z:

Increased Engagement

Technology-based training helps make training engaging and keep your staff’s attention.

Anyone who’s ever sat in a classroom for training knows exactly how boring it can be and how the majority of participants are disengaged. Your Millennials and Gen Z employees especially feel this way as they are used to learning via apps and websites and with gamification.

Why offer training that no one is excited about? After all, you want your retail team to not just understand what they learn – but actually to retain and apply it – so they can follow policies, represent the brand and offer an amazing customer experience that creates loyalty.

With mobile and e-learning apps, classroom training can become a thing of the past. Training can be delivered on demand and be much more interactive.

For example, a new retail associate can do their training immediately when they are hired. Training can be done anytime, anywhere, making it convenient for your employees and managers.

With interactive training, you can encourage active participation and make the content they are learning be something they are connected with. Just think about how Pokemon Go became so popular – the same idea applies as your retail team can be engaged in the same way.

Real-Time Insights Across the Operation

One of the biggest challenges with training when you run a retail operation with multiple locations – or even dispersed across the country or around the globe – is ensuring training is executed and done so in a way that’s best serving your brand.

This is truly one of the most compelling reasons that mobile and e-learning make a measurable difference for all generations in the workplace.

In the past, training would be provided to managers and you’d need to hope that it was actually completed. With learning apps, you’re able to have training content be consistent across your retail operations and measure that it’s completed at the store level.

Everyone from the store manager to the district manager to your training team can track  activity in real-time. Have the five new hires completed the customer service training? Did your manager deliver coaching or ensure an associate who needs additional training gets it? With an app, you’re able to see what’s happening, take action and guarantee that all of your staff are implementing learned skills on the shop floor.

Plus, with your Millennial and Gen Z staff being in customer service, higher turnover positions, you can increase their employee satisfaction and the potential for them to continue with your operation for years to come.  It’s no secret that lower turnover and promoting from within helps reduce recruiting and training costs over time.

Lower the Costs of Training 

For most retailers, training has been either a in-class session with a training manual and some role playing, a video to watch in the backroom or reliant on the manager to hopefully train new associates on the store floor.

The cost of in-class training sessions are typically high as you need to gather people in a room, take time away from the actual store and compensate those in attendance. And training by managers takes time away from their day-to-day duties and is inconsistent at best.

In contrast, mobile and eLearning cost between 10% and 20% of traditional face-to-face training. 

Plus, digital learning is much more affordable than most retailers realize, particularly as existing platforms can be customized to meet your organization’s specific needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile and e-learning for your retail organization, LHR can help. We offer consulting services, training and e-learning programs aimed at improving retail and business profitability, with a focus on engaging all generations in your workforce.

Contact us for a free consultation today at [email protected] to discuss your digital learning needs and how you can make a bigger impact with training.

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