Training Associates Won't Matter Unless Retailers Measure Results
Retailers around the world are focused on creating an enhanced in-store shopping experience with passionate sales associates who have intimate knowledge of products and drive engagement on the sales floor. This investment in time and resources are done with the understanding that increasing sales relies on increased customer satisfaction, units per transaction, visual merchandising and product knowledge.
Yet, why do some retailers spend millions on payroll for training programs then neglect the crucial final step — determining which associates actually completed the program, and how well? Similarly, they broadcast video communications and key directives about in-store tasks, price changes, promotions, etc., but don’t or can’t easily assess employee receipt and accountability. Retailers, in particular, have a lack of analysis when it comes to training and communications receipt, completion and understanding of the programs. The ability to analyze and measure these key areas empowers companies to steer initiatives more productively while saving time and money.
Industrywide, training completion hovers at roughly 30 percent for associates whose individual engagement and results aren't visible. Once field managers have the ability to follow and assess individuals, progress in the rate of training completion can exceed 90 percent. Without regular reinforcement and confirmation, even well thought-out initiatives could end up being ignored.
What are the key benefits of measurement? Real-time data results provide the visibility field managers need to:
- boost training participation and accountability;
- ensure directives and communications are delivered;
- measure and coach employees who need improvement; and
- refine programs by regional, district and/or store level.
When field management is empowered with real-time data about their team’s progress and results, they drive participation and take ownership of the results. Associates’ increased participation in learning and communications creates a more engaged, accountable and knowledgeable workforce, which directly impacts store results. Cloud-based data enables managers to access the information they need from any location with a laptop or smartphone — with live results. Store operations can identify and recognize top performers, as well as top-performing stores, regions and districts.
New mobile brand training tools specifically are designed to support store operations in improving KPIs. Flexible, mobile solutions deliver custom, targeted brand training to on-floor associates, whose individual learning may be confirmed and assessed remotely. Remote visibility into training and communication completion allows store operations to leverage the span of control — from field, district and regional managers to their vice president — to assess individual and group performance, then correlate results to their KPIs.
A new interactive, tablet-based mobile associate communication platform (mACP) category has emerged in response to the growing demand for on-the-floor communications. The mACP category marks a major shift in professional development and mobile enterprise communications, and represents the future of delivering an enhanced in-store experience. The next-gen apps being built include publishing tools that allow field and corporate administrators to publish content that can be delivered to associates while they’re on the floor, avoiding costly payroll for backroom training.
Imagine a video of a company’s CEO or VP of operations discussing new initiatives or a new product launch that are provided to all employees in just minutes, with full tracking of who watched the video along with measurement of comprehension.
Arming sales associates with the knowledge they need to stay a click ahead of tech-savvy, experience-hungry consumers is imperative for the success of physical stores. There's no replacement for stellar in-store experiences. Unless training and communications can be delivered on the floor and measured, companies will be wasting precious resources. The new mACP category helps retailers reach this new level of measurement quickly and cost effectively.
David Harouche is the founder, CEO and CTO of Multimedia Plus, Inc., a company that develops learning and communications solutions for retailers.