The holiday season is just around the corner and you’re staffing up to meet demand. But for today’s retailers—especially those using multi-channel methods—onboarding new hires is not as simple as it once was.
In an omni-channel or multi-channel retailing world, sales associates must know more than your customers, who’ve likely done their homework before coming to the store. That means new hires must not only learn about policies, procedures and products, but also understand what you offer through your various channels and be fully up to speed on ever-changing promotions.
Traditional training methods leave a lot to be desired.
With traditional training, associates are typically plunked in a classroom and bombarded with information until their eyes glaze over. There are two main problems with this approach:
- Associates are so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that their learning capability literally shuts down.
- In the traditional “one and done” training approach, people forget as much as 70% of what they learn, within 24 hours!
Accelerating learning for new associates.
So how do you ensure new associates know everything they need, plus accelerate their onboarding to get them productive as soon as possible?
- Implement daily microlearning training bursts. MicroLearning bursts are short and sweet learning sessions—perhaps a short video or Q&A session—often done at the beginning of each shift before associates hit the floor. Even if only three or four minutes long, short learning sessions help to reinforce training in associates’ minds. They are also valuable for delivering important new information to associates so they are better able to serve your customers. Plus, microlearning helps counteract information overload, so associates can focus on one topic at a time without becoming overwhelmed.
- Personalize the learning. Instead of providing the same product knowledge training to every associate, focus on providing learning according to the products or departments they are involved with so they have the in-depth information they need to truly help customers. This ensures that associates receive the information they need without spending unproductive time on irrelevant topics.
- Offer knowledge on demand. As long as associates can easily find the information they need, they can provide the excellent customer sales and service you demand. This could mean equipping associates with mobile devices so, if they don’t know something, they can quickly and easily look it up while helping a customer. It might also mean making sure that associates can participate in daily learning across any device they use—whether tablets, laptops, smartphones, or even POS terminals.
- Provide learning with integral inspiration and incentives. Don’t be afraid to incorporate games, leaderboards or other rewards into your training programs. Gamified learning has been shown to engage employees in the success of their knowledge development by making it a fun experience, tapping into their desire for rewards and recognition, and giving them a bit of friendly competition.
With the holiday season approaching, now is the time to stage your new hire learning programs for success. For more information on how Axonify can help boost associate knowledge, read our white paper “How to Boost Associate Expertise to deliver a Successful Omni-Channel Retailing Experience.”
Written by Laura Martin