If we’re being honest, onboarding and training staff for your retail business can be painful. It inevitably takes time away from the regular duties of running your company, and much of the information they need to learn is repetitive for the trainer. Paying for in-person education such as lectures is expensive, and many of the online training resources you purchase become outdated quickly.

But adequately training your staff is crucial to their ability to serve your customers and run your shop. Plus, if staff feel knowledgeable about your products and brand, they’re more likely to work harder and stay longer with your company. Employee attrition is expensive, so it’s essential to keep your staff happy and productive.

Online training in the form of learning management software (LMS) is an efficient way to upskill staff, onboard new employees, and train franchisees. Here’s why:

Faster, more efficient onboarding

Onboarding new staff is one of the most influential pieces of the employee experience, and companies with good onboarding protocols enjoy higher growth revenue and profit margins. By contrast, companies with poor onboarding practices struggle to keep staff, resulting in expensive employee turnover and low productivity.

Online learning management systems ensure your new staff learn what they need to know quickly, without pulling managers away from their duties. The training process becomes smooth and efficient, and you can be sure that everyone has received the right information presented in the right way.

Measurable, cost-effective training

Learning management systems allow you to follow each employee’s progress to see which of your staff is struggling in critical areas. You’ll know how to support their training by giving them extra help, resulting in better-trained, more productive staff members.

When employees are required to log in and complete training sections, you can be sure that they’ve completed the training and learned the material. All training materials and employee results are stored online, so papers are never lost, and books/materials never go missing. Plus, you can reduce office clutter as you won’t need a file cabinet to house your training materials.

Many business owners assume that learning management software is too expensive, but the right LMS saves you money by freeing up the valuable time of your more senior staff and by creating more productive employees quicker than in-person teaching.

Standardised training for brands and franchises

An LMS allows you to tailor your training materials to your specific company needs and design materials that immerse employees in your brand. Brand voice is increasingly important for retail businesses to set themselves apart from the competition, and employees should reflect that voice to customers. When you conduct employee training with on-brand materials, employees will naturally reflect your brand in their customer interactions.

This is especially powerful in a franchise where staff and managers must adhere to strict brand guidelines and procedures. Training staff via an LMS means that all training materials are standardised to align with franchise requirements. All of the information is conveniently located in one place, and the corporate office can update materials in one fell swoop.

Happier staff with lower attrition rates

But perhaps the most persuasive reason to start training your staff with learning management software is that it produces happier staff. When your employees feel confident in their product knowledge, they’re better at selling your products. When they know how to perform their duties, they’ll perform them easily and quickly. If knowledge is power, company knowledge is selling-working-producing power.

That empowerment will keep them employed with you longer because investing in your staff’s education and skills builds loyalty. It also creates a more productive retail business because every member performs their tasks better, from production teams to floor staff to management.

How to get started choosing a learning management system

Like any new venture, implementing an LMS takes planning. Start by meeting with your senior staff to assess:

  • The number of employees that will need to be trained
  • The tasks that require training, like inventory management or returns processing
  • The problems that are slowing your current onboarding practices
  • The upskilling opportunities that would improve your staff, like new product information training
  • Your current existing training material and its effectiveness

Next, start researching the options for LMS software. Several reputable companies offer sound learning management systems; the trick is finding the one that works best for your company.

Budget, usability, staff options, and duration of the software licence will all dictate which LMS is right for you. When deciding on a budget, make sure you find a software that is:

  • Intuitive: Spend some time clicking around in the LMS and make sure that it’s easy to navigate. If you can’t find your way around, your staff won’t be able to, either.
  • Scalable: Depending on your company’s size and growth projections, your LMS may need to grow to accommodate lots of new employee training materials or a burgeoning amount of product info for current staff. Be sure the LMS can scale with your needs.
  • Flexible: A suitable LMS will be able to mimic your company’s hierarchy so you can offer the proper training to employees at each level of your business. Make sure the LMS provides this feature.
  • Robust: Measuring your employees’ learning progress is a vital part of using an LMS, so make sure that the LMS you choose can compile progress reports quickly.
  • Mobile: Depending on your business model, you may want to allow floor staff to train on-the-go between customer interactions. Be sure that any LMS you purchase has solid mobile delivery.

Like any good investment, you’ll need to spend some time and thought considering your options. But, like any good investment, the right learning management system will allow you to reap future rewards like a productive, empowered staff that work efficiently to grow your business.

LearnRight is a learning management system that works beautifully for retail businesses. It offers product and franchisee training, employee onboarding and development, sales training, and safety compliance training. Get in touch for a consultation or a free demo with LearnRight.

When you become a member of Retail Excellence Ireland, you join Ireland’s largest retail industry group. We represent your business interests to lawmakers, provide complimentary HR support to your company, and free legal advice if needed. Get in touch to learn more, or sign up here to join.

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