Train Your Retail Managers to Communicate Successfully

Whether it is a one-store retailer or a multi-billion dollar national retailer, one of the common things that we find during our retail training consultation visits is that the number one way retailers train their new team members is through on-the-job activity.

While we offer, and recommend, that retailers use other training levers such as retail e-learning, work books, videos, retail training seminars and more, there is no doubt that retail store managers and other retail employees will continue to be the first line of defense when it comes to getting new associates on-boarded effectively.  Therefore it makes sense to ensure that they know how to get the best results.

Five Simple Steps for the On-the-Job Training

For tenured retail managers, the basic activities of operating a store may seem simple and mundane, but for new employees – even if they worked at another retailer – these tasks are anything but.  That is why you will want to ensure that all retail training personnel at the store level follow these simple steps.

1.       Explain the Task:  Give the new employee an overview of what you are going to be teaching them.  This should not only include the specific way you want the task done and when you want it done, but the reasons why it must be done.   Encourage the retail employee takes notes if necessary!

2.       Demonstrate the Task:  After explain the how, when, and why of the task, show the new team member how to do it.  After as little as a day people typically won’t remember more than 25% of what they are told, yet if given a demonstration they will remember up to 55%.  Therefore it makes sense to not only show your new employee how to do a task, but to avoid confusion by showing them how to do it the right way while answering their questions.

3.       Have the Employee Feed it Back:  Now that you have explained and demonstrated the task, make sure that you confirm that the retail associate understands the activity by having them explain the steps for the activity.  Make sure to give them corrections if required.

4.       Complete the Activity: Step four is to have the employee do the task.  Remember when we stated that people remember 55% of what they hear and see?  Well that number goes up to 85% when they practice a task.  So make sure that you have the team member complete the activity as soon as possible.

5.       Inspect What You Expect:  Giving honest, thoughtful, and respectful feedback is the final step.  If your team member completes the task correctly make sure that you thank them and then monitor their results on an ongoing basis.  If they struggle with the task give the quick and honest feedback including showing them how to do the task correctly.  Remember, even the best athletes need to practice in order to approach elite status…So make sure you act as a coach and give them encouragement along the way.

Would you like to learn about other ways that you can improve your coaching and training skills?  Let the Retail Advocacy Group and Retail Training Services assist you with implementing a great retail business plan.  Contact us for a free one-hour consultation and needs assessment!

–          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he operated hundreds of retail locations, launched his own retail businesses, and managed retail channels on behalf of Fortune 50 companies.  Retail Advocacy group offers consulting services for retailers and also offers retail training solutions through its Retail Training Service subsidiary.   You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at