Do You Make These Mistakes With Your C-Store Training?

by Keith West

Every business has to spend time training their employees. Convenience stores have a particular training burden due to low wages, high turnover, and a series of training topics that regulations and good business practices require.

Following are some of the ways c-stores fail in their training:

  1. Failing to Plan

The easiest way to fail at training your convenience store employees is to approach your training haphazardly. What is it you want your employees to know? How should it be organized? What format should it be in? How should it be delivered? Are there any accountability mechanisms? How will it be documented?

Without answering these and other questions your training will be incomplete, repetitive, and ineffective. You will end up wasting everyone’s time and leave a bad impression of your business. Do yourself a favor and don’t skip your planning.

  1. Poor management support

If you don’t believe your training is important, neither will your employees. You demonstrate the importance you place on training in everything related to your training program. Do you emphasize the importance of training when you communicate to your employees, or do you have a “we have to do this, let’s just get it done” type attitude? Is your training on the clock? (If it’s required it has to be.) Do you have well thought out training materials? Do you have training videos, or do you expect your employees to read a manual? Do you allow access to the store computer?

  1. Failing to engage

If you just hand your employees a text loaded manual to read, don’t expect them to get much out of it. First of all, you shouldn’t expect your employees to be good learners by reading. Even if they did do well in school, younger employees especially are more used to receiving their information by video. You must meet your employees where they are, and that’s not going to be in a book.

  1. Failure to allocate time

Do you expect your cashiers to get their training while on shift, between customers? No one is going to learn well in that environment. If your training is important enough to create and deliver, it’s important enough to deliver in a setting conducive to learning. That means in a quiet place not subject to disruption.

  1. Not documenting results

For government required training, proving you did it is in some ways more important than the training itself. When the department of environmental quality is knocking at the door is not the time to discover the holes in your training documentation.

To comply with regulations and to be able to make any sense of your training, you must document it. At a minimum that should include who was trained in what when. It’s more complicated that you would imagine at first look. If you’re conducting live training there has to be signup sheets. One on one training requires a manger’s notation. In either case it has to be transferred to a spreadsheet or other tracking system so that you don’t have to search all over the place to find out what has or hasn’t been done.

Quality training is one of the best ways to improve sales, service quality, employee morale and retention. Avoid these common pitfalls and you will be well on the way to having a more profitable and better quality business.

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