In assuming the role of training supervisor of a large, local retail company that maintains seven different department stores in one respective city, one major problem that the company faces is its ability to adequately train new salesclerks. Because salesclerks represent the company to the public, the manner in which they conduct themselves is highly important to overall company success and the maintenance of a repeat-client base. Especially critical aspects of the salesclerk position includes knowledge of the computerized cash register system, interaction with the customers, and knowledge of the particular products being sold. In looking at the problem at hand and discovering methods for implementing new ways to effectively train staff, a three-day orientation/training program has been designed in order to impart staff with all the appropriate knowledge they will need in beginning their employment, additionally, the measure of success of this program can be evaluated in the long-run by using certain methods pertaining to job training and employee orientation.
Orientation and Training Program
Rue and Byars (2004) note that "orientation is concerned with introducing the new employee to the organization and the job" (pp. 177). On the other hand, "training involves the acquisition of skills, concepts, rules, or attitudes used by employees in order to increase their performance" (Rue and Byars, 2004, pp. 178). Essentially, both orientation and training programs are the framework for any well-run organization, as without these tools, any company workforce will fall apart before any good work can be done. In taking on the role of training supervisor, one must initially understand that this facet of a company is not only important to employees and customers, but remains an on-going process, as the facets of any business change in certain terms from day-to-day.
In initiating new employees into the company, the training supervisor must ensure that these individuals feel welcome and needed. In welcoming these new individuals into this "team," the training supervisor must ensure that these new employees understand that in joining the company, they have become part of something bigger than themselves, but their part in the company is essential to its success. As communication is key to being a good supervisor, the training supervisor must set the tone as being one that is aided by open communication. By stating outright at the beginning of orientation that any questions or concerns are welcome to be voiced, the training supervisor ensures that everyone in the group is comfortable speaking their minds in front of the other members. In opening the group up to, this opportunity can be used to see what the group's experience, ambitions, likes and dislikes prove to be (Rue and Byars, 2004, pp. 112).
Once open communication has been set in motion, the team should introduce themselves to one another, as well as to the training supervisor. In this manner, the training supervisor can ensure the individuals in training that he or she has been in their position before. By introducing employees to one another and allowing them to become familiar, these individuals can better work as a unit within their respective branch of the company, as it is highly likely that some members in the same training group will be working with one another on a frequent basis.
Once employees have been introduced to one another and feel comfortable moving forward, the group should be introduced to the company at hand, its background, mission statement, and the nature of the work itself. New employees will be taught what exactly is expected of them in terms of their interaction with one another as well as their interaction with customers. In attaining a new job in the sales field, any new employee must understand that while working in any of the company stores, he or she is acting as a direct representation of the company, its mission, its value for customers, and its value for service. From the get-go, it must be understood by all in the training group that individuals working for the company will always adhere to strict standards of respect and personality. In joining the sales field, one must understand that one's own attitude is directly reflected by how well their sales figures come out to be.
After going through the necessary policies of performance and conduct that all employees must adhere to while working within any company store, the issues of safety, fire prevention, theft, and other security measures must be covered fully. Any emergency contacts or phone numbers should be disclosed at this point with an assurance that adhering to the policy "it's better to be safe than sorry" should be maintained in any area of health, safety, and security within any company store. In projecting this information to new employees, it is essential that any and all questions be covered before moving from the orientation and welcome process into the actual training that will successfully take these new employees from their training sessions and into successful employment within any of the company's stores.
As is common with any training session for a company or corporation, it is common for employees, upon entering the training portion of their welcome into the company, to be shown company-created videos depicting different scenarios, safety programs, training, and responsibilities that one takes on upon joining that company as a salesclerk. This training, known as classroom training, is the most familiar and commonly-utilized methods of training within a company and involves movies, as mentioned, as well as lectures and exercises in order to get employees familiarized with the methods and standards that will be expected of them. In welcoming the student into this portion of the welcoming process, it can be ensured that new employees are not only ready to learn, but able to mentally break down the work and components of the job in its entirety.
In breaking down the job into sections, the employees will be taught how to open and close the store, the amounts of money to be left in the cash register, how to use the cash register, how to process credit cards or gift certificates, how to handle sales, returns, and exchanges, how to keep the store clean and maintained during their shift, how to close out the register, how to take calls, how to take orders, etc. While this list of duties seems excessive, they are in truth, just a fraction of the duties that employees will be expected to carry out during their shifts. As every day is different, so is every shift, and employees must be taught to come to work with an open mind and an understanding of what is expected of them from the company, from higher-ups, and from customers.
In ensuring that these standards and duties are achieved and maintained, it is beneficial for the bulk of training to involved hands-on experience with the store, the products, the cash register, customers etc. In order for the employee to get a feel for the store and for what day-to-day experiences within that store will be like. In spending a full day on mock customer service and transactions, employees will have a better idea of what their time within the store will be like. Additionally, in being monitored by a training supervisor and taking part in this experience with other in the same boat, these employees will likely find themselves more comfortable and at ease with asking questions and repeating processed until a firm grasp of the employment skills are achieved.
On the final day of training, a thorough review of the materials learned should be gone over in a manner that engages the new employees and gets them thinking about all that they have learned. In allowing the last day of training to be filled with open discussion and lessons learned, employees will be able to look back while looking forward. Essentially, in viewing the mistakes they have made or misconceptions that they have had, these employees will be better-suited to move forward understanding all the facets of their day-to-day employment. As this time, each employee can be monitored in how they handle transactions, customer service and the like in order to see if further training is necessary, if these individuals should work their first shift with a training supervisor, or if that individual is ready to work in a store unsupervised. Above all, the last day of training should stress to employees that although the training process is over and they will be working by themselves, they are not alone. Employees should be encouraged to seek guidance and ask questions throughout their entire tenure working with a company. As individuals, we continually learn each day through our new experiences and challenges, and this learning does not stop when we are at work. Rather, this type of learning continues to grow and the capacity to learn and to question should not be ignored after training is over.
Methods for Evaluation
Though many believe that with comprehensive training, individuals are set to work completely, orientation and…