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On Boarding & Job Boarding Frontline Retail Employees So They Want to Stay

The secret to attracting and retaining good frontline retail workers comes down to how you train them in their first few days—especially for seasonal hiring surges.

Onboarding and Job Boarding Frontline Retail Employees Blog image

High employee turnover is nothing new in retail. It comes with the territory. But what’s been happening is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The “quit rate” in the U.S. retail industry outpaces the overall U.S. quit rate by more than 70%.

And, there are no signs that this is going to stop anytime soon. Almost half of all frontline retail employees—compared with only 38 percent of US workers overall—are considering leaving their jobs in the next few months. 

To attract and keep today’s retail workers, look no further than your frontline employee training. 

Start with the Onboarding AND “Job boarding” Experience

Some startling numbers will answer why how you train frontline employees makes all the difference: only 59% of frontline employees feel the workplace training they receive helps them succeed on the job and 32% of frontline retail workers don’t receive any formal training at all.

It all begins with onboarding. Failure to engage a new employee on day one could likely mean that employee won’t stay, this is especially true during seasonal hiring when you need to gear up for the holidays. Your competitors are also hiring and you’ll lose good frontline employees if your onboarding isn’t engaging. On boarding training typically covers the basics for the employee, such as new hire paperwork, orientation, processes, where and how to clock in and clock out, and basic training for doing their job.  

While on boarding is important, “job boarding” is where the real value is for both your new employee and your company. Job boarding is all about delivering specialized training and knowledge to your new employee about how to do specific jobs or tasks such as working the cash register, doing store walks, restocking shelves or displays, or working in a specific part of a grocery store that requires specialized training. Initial job boarding training and ongoing, easy access to knowledge on mobile devices, helps your new employees feel more confident on the job and more like they are part of the culture and team. 

By investing in better job boarding training, you’ll ensure that new hires feel confident in doing their job and that they made the right decision to join your company. It shows you care about their experience and want them to be part of what your company offers. Giving new employees access to all the tools, information, and training they need to be successful can boost job satisfaction, increase retention, and improve customer satisfaction. All big wins for you too.

Keep Training Content Fresh and Engaging

What determines frontline retail worker on-the-job training effectiveness is if they can deliver store, product, and policy knowledge in an engaging way and deliver a memorable customer experience. You can’t do this with “one and done” training delivered in the back office.

They often need content at their fingertips, which has to be easily digestible and even easier to find and access. Your training content needs to be engaging and include bite-sized, multimedia-like short videos. This microlearning makes training quick and accessible to a workforce that can be hard to engage.   

Employees should be able to access content on any device, anywhere. Retail workers don’t have time to sit at a desktop to get up to speed on new information. Learning in the flow of work enables them to be face-to-face with customers, pull up what they need, and quickly answer questions—which is what you want them to be spending their time on. During seasonal hiring surges, you need to get frontline workers up to speed fast, which is another reason to make easily-digestible training content available on any device. 

Deliver a Consistent Brand Experience

Often in retail, your employees are the face of your brand.  Their interactions with customers determine the experience your customers have with your brand. Your training should embody your brand and empower your employees to do the same. Developing their loyalty to your brand ensures that they’ll exhibit and communicate that to your customers who will come back for that brand experience.

You can effectively build a workforce of loyal frontline employees who exemplify your brand and keep loyal customers returning with a better training experience—you may even hire a seasonal employee for the long term.

Learn more about how Inkling can help you train your frontline retail workers so they’ll want to stay by clicking here.