Training for High Turnover Positions

“How much time should we spend training them?”

“Not much. Who knows how long they’re going to be here anyway?”

And so the slide to mediocrity begins.

Then what begins as a slide, turns into a spiral as poorly trained employees become frustrated and leave. Customers get upset at poor service and stop coming. There’s less money for everything, including training. And so it continues until you reach bottom.

The irony is, positions with high turnover demand better training, not worse.

If you’re hiring a rocket scientist, there is probably very little training you could give that person. They’re highly specialized. They’ve been training for years. And you will most likely not be hiring enough rocket scientists to justify building a training program just for them.

But if you’re hiring a hundred customer service associates this year, you can’t afford not to have a training program for them. Without training they’ll just muddle through, frustrating themselves and customers until they move on to another job and you replace with an equally untrained person.

Sure, it seems obvious, but most convenience store chains do not have formal training programs. Some of the ones that do are only a binder that the new hire has to go through, perhaps with the help of a harried store manager.

To be competitive with the new, bright store they just built down the street, you’re going to have to do better. What should your c-store training look like?

It should be:

Detailed

Anything you want done a specific way has to be in your training. From how to clean a spill to how to ID, no detail is too small. If you don’t tell your employees what to do, it’s either not going to get done or get done however someone wants, and you can be guaranteed that there will be no consistency in your brand.

Documented

At one time, when all a cashier had to do was run the register, you may have been able to get away with on the job training. But now, with our complicated and litigious society, too much is expected and too much is at risk to assume that the instructions for how to do their job will be accurately passed on from co-workers and managers.

You have to decide what needs to be done and write it down. There’s no alternative.

Repeatable

Even if you develop a training manual, but leave the teaching to managers, you will have a system that is inconsistent. One trainer will have a different spin from another. All will be subject to time constraints and boredom that will degrade presentations over time. To get the most from the training you develop, it needs to be in a format that delivers the same information every time it is delivered. In most instances that means it needs to be electronic. When you watch Star Wars, you get the same story every time. Your training should be just as dependable.

On Demand

A new associate shows up on the first day. Do they have to wait around for the class that starts next week or the manager to find time to show them what to do, or can they get started right away?

Whether in electronic or book form, training needs to be available when it is needed.

Inexpensive

People aren’t cheap. At a minimum you will be paying the time for the person being trained. Are you also going to be paying for a trainer as well? You’re in a high turnover environment. Will you be multiplying a trainer’s time by every person needing training? If you do, you’ll inevitably start cutting back on training, leading to decreasing morale and customer satisfaction.

Better by far to give the training once, record it, and then present it as many times as necessary, at no additional cost.

The answer to these problems? Put your training online, you won’t regret it.

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