Training workforce in a retail environment can be extremely challenging. With employees across multiple locations, high attrition rates, constant upskilling needs, ever-changing roles and responsibilities makes the job of training teams complex. Add to this, the contemporary retail workspace is relatively young, who are restless, have a relatively low attention span, making training and upskilling extremely difficult.
How do we enhance the learning experience in such an environment? It is no brainer that microlearning improves employee efficiency and helps retail chains with their bottom lines.
In my 40 years of experience, this is probably the most innovative program I've put in place in any of the positions that I've been in for retail safety and loss prevention.
- Chad Mcintosh, VP Asset Protection and Risk Management, Bloomingdale's
Here are some microlearning strategies which can help retail employees learn in an engaging way and provide better learning outcomes for your organization.
Bite-sized interactive videos
Retail employees have a lot of physical tasks to perform on the floor and do not have much time to sit in front of a desktop. Having bite-sized interactive videos that train employees on various topics is highly effective. These videos can hand-hold employees through multiple scenarios they might face on the job; from product details, handling customers to inventory management and competition landscape.
Educators have used flashcards for a very long time as an effective training tool. They help to prevent cognitive overload and make the learning experience extremely engaging and enjoyable. Using interactive flashcards has been proven to bring great learning results in a retail environment, where the workforce is always hard pressed on time and have little attention span.
Cheat sheets are used by employees where they need immediate access to specific information to perform a task. For example, a store assistant can quickly access an online interactive cheat sheet to recall the standard operating procedure for managing return of defective good. These help remove guesswork and personal judgment calls which employees might otherwise take in the absence of these knowledge assets.
People engage better through stories; there is an emotional connection, leading to better comprehension and retention. This technique is used very often while explaining scenarios and processes. For example, if the objective of the training is to explain how to handle demanding customers, an interactive training module which is weaved into a story explaining why the customer was upset and how the store executive handled it with care would be a very effective method.
Retail chains display the highest rate of adoption of microlearning at 27% to educate their employees according to the latest Microlearning Global benchmark report.
Microlearning has come to stay in today's industry with increased participation by employees cutting across all sectors. Retail chains are the most significant beneficiaries of microlearning, as they have the opportunity to apply the techniques immediately and analyze the results quickly as well.
Large organizations have hundreds and thousands of employees across tens of cities who are always on the move. Though there was always a need to use digital training for such a deskless workforce, most companies still persisted with doing it through instructor led programs.
Good customer experience requires an adequate number of support agents that can handle daily call volumes. The training team carries the responsibility to train support agents on the right skill sets and make them job-ready.
One of the biggest benefits of online learning in your company over classroom sessions is that online learning can be continuous, hence enabling reinforcement, application and assessment of the topic. The online medium should theoritically make it extremely easy to do this.