Time-starved symbol retailers are failing to provide enough training for their staff, a survey across seven groups suggests.
The survey from online training company Bolt Learning asked 125 symbol retailers about training and skills development and discovered a fifth do not carry out an kind of induction training for new staff, a fifth offer their full-time staff fewer than 10 hours training in a typical year, one-in-three consider training to be a significant challenge in their business and a third say keeping records of their teams’ training is an administrative “headache”.
Some 77% of managers said time was the biggest limiting factor for not embracing new technology to help with the “headache of training”. Another 25% said employees’ time was the biggest limiting factor and 3%, cost.
The survey found just 11% embrace online learning, compared with 94% face-to-face in-store and 33% shadowing a colleague.
Although on the face of it, the 94% that provide face-to-face training sounds impressive, Bolt argues that they are not providing “enough” training.
About a fifth of symbol retailers say the information supplier sales representatives give them is sometimes inaccurate on important areas, such as overriders, rebates, profit on return and even product knowledge.
The positives are that more than half want to improve their current induction training, want training modules that staff can compete in their own time and want more regular, ongoing training.
Tom Fender, director at Bolt Learning, said the convenience sector needed to look at digital training and communication to help grow, and both suppliers and symbol groups had a huge role to play in this.
In fact, 60% of respondents said they would like suppliers to make training modules available on products, brands and new product development.
“A lack of time shouldn’t need to be an excuse for lack of training and education,” said Fender. “Only 11% of retailers currently embrace online training, but the study showed that more than on in two retailers want to try it. Finding a solution to this potential gap in training is crucial to the future growth of the UK convenience sector.”
Fender added that online training should not replace face-to-face entirely. And a blended approach gave the best of both worlds.
“It drives skills and engagement levels up without putting additional pressure on store managers’ time,” he said.