The future of training a deskless workforce in retail

22nd Feb 2023

The costs and consequences of inadequate staff training for retailers

Effective training of staff is essential for the success of any organisation. In the UK, the cost of training a new employee averages at £2540 for a company, which makes it a significant investment. However, inadequately trained staff can be a significant drain on resources, affecting employee morale, job satisfaction, and the overall workplace atmosphere. These factors can ultimately result in increased staff turnover, which can have a detrimental impact on any organisation’s success. This is particularly crucial in the retail industry, where employees work in customer-facing roles, and poor morale can significantly impact the customer experience. Poor training can often be a symptom of a more profound issue within an organisation, being poor leadership and management skills, resulting in negative cultural and well-being issues throughout the company.

The everchanging landscape of retail

A recent study conducted across all sectors shows that 57% of employed adults think that training is very effective in enabling them get the most out of their work. However, this figure drops to below 35% when looking at the number of retail employees who believe that training makes a positive difference to their work lives, well below the average.

Common challenges preventing effective training were:

  • Not collaborative enough feeling like a very isolated experience
  • Too much information and not enough practical tasks
  • Substantial pressure to adapt and compete with online growth
  • Inflexible with heightened pressure to find time for training especially in peak periods
  • Leaders and managers lack in knowledge to help and support their employees

With an ever-changing retail landscape, it is becoming more and more vital for retail staff to have access to adequate training.

Unfortunately, nearly one in three (32%) of retail employees state that they are not receiving any formal training at all.

This is the highest percentage of any of the industries that were surveyed.

Without proper guidance, employees are often ill-equipped to deal with customer complaints and queries or given roles that exceed their capabilities or understanding of processes and procedures.

The involvement of leadership plays a key role in improving customer experience initiatives in any organisation, because they set an example for others to follow. A true service culture develops when everyone is involved at all levels of the company, and not just shop-floor workers.

In the current economic climate, employee retention is key to success. Companies must focus on creating an environment where staff feel motivated and engaged in order to achieve this. Honing in leadership and management capabilities facilitates this process, as these roles are often at the centre of a business’ corporate culture. Understanding the impact of upskilling leaders and managers can ensure that positive changes are made throughout a company’s operations, which in turn is a driver for sustainable growth.

Retailers need strong leaders to keep pace with this change. The bottom line is that your people are the driving power behind a successful strategy, which in turn builds a strong retailer.

The future of deskless training

Frontline employees such as shop-floor workers and middle managers in retail work without a desk. The burden of learning is placed on frontline teams to complete outside of working hours, clashing with part-time and or shift schedules, other jobs, school and family commitments.

To ensure your front-line employees stay ahead of the curve, there are certain training techniques you could implement such as;

Using different devices to access online learning at any time or place is a great way to make training more available and less disruptive.

Microlearning can be used to break down learning content into smaller, more manageable pieces that busy frontline employees can use to absorb, process and retain knowledge quickly.

Content curation and the right tech tools can help make learning part of the daily workflow for these employees.

Using a variety of content formats such as video and gamification can make learning more fun and engaging.

Finally, making learning social through connection, collaboration, and competition between peers can help make learning more enjoyable and effective.

Why Corndel is the natural choice for retail

Corndel offers bespoke leadership programmes designed to align with all levels within the retail sector. Our programmes are delivered through individual and team-based learning, building a network of like-minded individuals within our client organisations.

Investing in your employees’ leadership and management skills can help you recruit and retain top talent. Corndel provides lifelong training to continuously progress your staff, empowering them to invest in their own development and enhance their value to the business.

Corndel’s programmes are aligned with relevant apprenticeship standards, making them a cost-effective solution for retailers to invest in their workforce. Recent statistics show that apprenticeships have helped 66% of organisations bounce back from the pandemic, making it a vital tool to increase productivity, which currently lags behind other comparable countries.

Using your apprenticeship levy

Every company with an annual wage bill of over £3 million must pay an apprenticeship levy every month. This is money which goes into a fund which must be used for staff training which can be used to pay for leadership training with Corndel.

Funding through the Apprenticeship Levy helps companies to give their staff the opportunity to close skills gaps, something which is vital to remain competitive, especially in the current challenging environment.  For the staff themselves, they have the invaluable opportunity to get recognised professional qualifications.

Sadly, although there are approximately 19,000 employees in the UK paying the Levy, only 20% of them are using it effectively to access available training programmes. In 2022 more than £3 billion in unspent apprenticeship levy was lost to the Treasury.

Leadership and Management Development Programs and Degrees.

The Imperial College and Corndel Executive Development Programme Level 7:
Strategic course for ambitious managers with 5+ years’ experience, delivered with Imperial College Business School.

The Corndel Diploma in Leadership & Management Level 5:
Develops high-potential mid-to-senior managers for next career stage, aligned to Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship standard.

The Corndel Diploma in Management Level 3:
Performance-based programme for team leaders, supervisors, and aspiring managers, aligned to Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship standard.

The Corndel Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship BSc (Hons):
Chartered Manager degree apprenticeship with in-demand leadership, management, and digital skills. Suitable for various professional roles.