Training in convenience not so convenient

AACS chief executive said that owners need to see training their staff as an investment into their business.

A survey has revealed that most convenience retailers in the UK offer staff less than 10 hours of in-store training due to lack of time.

The survey found that the significant gap in training was due to limits on time with 77% of managers agreeing.

Online training company Bolt Learning conducted the survey and asked 125 retailers about their training and skills development.

On its website, Bolt Learning said that both managers and employees find it difficult to manage training with the limiting factor being time.

“Convenience stores are often lean, mean operations – who has extra time to carry out training or wade through long manuals when there are customers to serve, shelves to re-stock and stock taking to do?” it said.

In Australia, there are many ways to train staff to ensure that they are compliant and undergo proper training suited to the workplace and industry. For example, all Australian employees who handle food must be trained in food safety as a legal requirement.

These basic training options include:

  • Online nationally accredited courses
  • Classroom-based accredited courses
  • Manuals for staff instruction
  • In-house training through a consultant

The Australian Centre for Retail Studies within Monash University published a report on the future of convenience retailing in Australia.

The report refers the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) who provide a platform for suppliers and retailers within the Australian convenience industry, they also provide training and education for staff.

“AACS is a recognised source for information by the Government, media and other interested parties on issues affecting the convenience industry,” it says.

AACS also manage “Industry forums, study tours, store simulation training and the annual scholarship program.”

Convenience Store Decisions associate editor Howard Riell said that training should be an ongoing priority in the convenience sector.

“Building a sense of teamwork among store employees will make them more productive, keep them in their jobs longer and ultimately increase sales,” he said.

Glenn Parker Team Building Consultant principal Glenn Parker said for a team to be successful there must be a clear goal.

“In the c-store environment that would be a store manager who is able to pull together a group of people and get them to focus on that goal,” he said.

Involving the team, and working to their strengths and weaknesses will see the business thrive.

The author of Common-Sense Workplace Mentoring De Grandpre said there needs to be a vision of the store and what it represents.

“What pulls in the customers? Do some work around sharing that vision or those goals with the people who work there,” she said.

“Encourage them to find ways to take co-responsibility for making their store a success. Help them care. Help them see that this isn’t just some boring job selling beef jerky.

“Let them participate so that they can say, ‘This store is doing really well because of what we did.’ People love to feel important and when they feel like they are contributing to the success of the business, they feel important.”

7-Eleven general manager Clayton Ford says new 7-Eleven team members undergo extensive training, onboarding, and induction to ensure a safe workplace and a great retail experience.

“Prior to commencing their first shift in store, new team members are required to complete around fifteen online training modules covering a range of subjects including customer experience, occupational health & safety, food safety and emergency procedures,” he said.

“Ongoing coaching support is provided by Franchisees and Store Managers, and 7-Eleven’s Retail Business Managers visiting the store each fortnight.

“Great team members trained well are an essential component in each 7-Eleven store’s success through delivering our customers great value and a positive experience every time.”

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) chief executive officer Jeff Rogut said well trained, pleasant and efficient staff can mean the difference to where customers choose to shop.

“Because our industry generally has a high turnover of staff due to the nature of the work, and that it often suits students etc looking to earn money as they study, that shouldn’t be regarded as a reason not to train staff,” he said.

“Owners need to look at training as an investment in their business and the individual rather than just a cost. If they choose to employ someone they should also choose to invest in them as well.”

Mr Rogut concluded that the cost of not having properly trained staff is a far greater cost than the actual cost of training.


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