Training engagement is a crucial factor in changing the culture of your business. Trained employees are happier in their roles. Having well trained staff means your customers are happier.
So, in a nutshell, happy staff and happy customers (obviously) equal a healthy business.
...well, it’s all very well and good to say “engaging training helps your business become more prosperous.” But how do you make sure your training is engaging?
Follow these four steps to see an increase in engagement, more confident sales associates...and happier customers, who are willing to spend more!
Hold middle management accountable
It seems like an obvious fix. But, for many retailers, the logistics of this often seem to outweigh the benefits.
Retailers are busy people, and it’s often argued that managers don’t have the time to invest in training. There are often countless numbers of things in the periphery that your managers would rather be doing. If you’re not looking to instil a culture of training within your business, then perhaps you can let this slide.
But one thing we’ve seen proven time and time-again is that training initiatives don’t exceed without buy-in from the people you rely on to drive them.
Send a message that training is important by requiring your managers to complete training. If sales associates see their managers completing training they’ll feel that it’s achievable for them too. But don’t just stop there, monitor training progress in your business, and let your managers know!
For example, at Dell Computers they understand the value of having managers drive training internally. If the training completion rate isn’t 100% for their division, managers receive a personal email from the CEO.
Make it easy to digest
We’ve talked about how busy retail managers are, and how peripheral tasks often take precedence over training. If this is the case in your business, perhaps take a look at why this is.
A common objection to training is a lack of time. Take this feedback on-board. If it’s a common complaint, you probably need to take a look at your training and think of ways to make it more palatable for trainees.
Did you know that 40% of people respond to visual information better than plain text. Look for areas in your training that can be explained with a picture rather than a paragraph. If you can do this, trainees will find the information 60,000 times faster to process. You can’t really refute the time saving costs here! Aim to use video-based training, especially in retail when staff are time poor, and often training in distracting environments.
When it comes to completing RedSeed training we find 'little and often' is key. Keeping training manageable from the outset means that your teams will be more receptive to not just starting the training, but actually sticking to it and completing it without too much fuss.
Communicate clearly about training
Another innocent mistake that a lot of businesses make when they invest in training is to enrol their team in all available courses. It's great to have a lot enthusiasm towards training, but before you get started, reign it in for a second and consider a staggering your roll out.
Take some time to create a communications plan around your training. How are you going to let your trainees know about the training? Will an email be enough, or will they need more?
A lot of the time, people like to come into a situation prepared. So make sure you let your trainees know ahead of time about the training, and be specific. If it’s a face-to-face workshop you’re planning, let them know dates, and times, and if they need to bring anything. If it’s an online course, let them know when they’ll have access to the training and set the expectation for completion.
This gives them time to mentally prepare themselves, and ask any questions they have before they get to the training.
Gamify your training
The term ‘gamify’ often conjures images of trainees sitting at computers playing video games. Don’t mistake the term gamification for games, the two are not the same.
You can gamify anything! Take Happy Hour for example; by adding the reward of discounted drinks, customers willingly modify their behaviour and show up at a designated time.
Think about how you can apply these principles in your business. In RedSeed, businesses who split learners into teams of two or more, and pit them against each other in a completion competition leads higher engagement and lower inactivity rates.
Done well, there can also be merit in having incentives attached to gamification. But do this in the knowledge that not all sales associates are motivated by the same carrot.