Retail staff training: How to get new employees up to speed

iStock-532256014Retail staff are the face of your business. They determine whether a customer has a positive in-store experience, resulting in customer satisfaction, or a negative one, leading to customer churn.

Therefore, it’s important that new employees can get up to speed with company procedures and product knowledge in order to provide the best customer experience.

Effective onboarding ensures staff are knowledgeable and is a key factor in employee retention. One survey found that 39% of people who left their job within the first six months said that more effective onboarding could have encouraged them to stay.

Below are four ways you can create an efficient onboarding program.


Preboard new employees

A new employee’s journey with your company doesn’t start on their first day – it begins during recruitment. This is when you should welcome them and get them to engage with your organisation. This is known as preboarding.

Research shows that 83% of the highest performing companies undertake preboarding, making it an essential way of getting new hires up to speed.

You should send your associates useful resources in advance of their first day (such as payroll information). However, it is vital that your preboarding approach goes beyond the same old admin tasks. You should be providing new recruits with a tailored experience to motivate them while also establishing your expectations and setting realistic goals to help new recruits understand what is expected of them.


Assign a mentor

To ensure new employees learn their role quickly, you can partner them with a mentor. This mentor should be an experienced member of staff who can offer guidance.

A mentor can make a new hire feel cared for and valued. Employees are 94% more likely to remain with an employer if the organisation simply invests in helping them.


Invest in training

Training your new employees is essential. It increases their confidence, knowledge and productivity. This can lead to higher sales and reduced employee turnover. Research shows that a strong retail staff training programme ensures 91% of new hires stay in their role for at least a year.

Retail associates are always on the go and often don’t have time for long training sessions. Instead, you should adopt a digital, mobile-based training program. This allows employees to view a training module during a slow period.

It is critical to break up training into manageable chunks, known as microlearning, to increase knowledge retention. Research shows that microlearning can increase knowledge retention by up to 20%. Microlearning emphasises 2–3 minute training sessions, which are perfect for busy retail employees.

In addition, gamification can help to engage employees. Gamification involves incorporating elements such as badges and leaderboards into your training programme. Research shows that 72% of people believe gamification makes them work harder and 90% of employees are more productive when their training utilises gamification.

Key focus areas for your retail training program are; product information, company values, and policies and procedures. Product knowledge training ensures your new employees will be able to provide recommendations to customers. According to research, retail staff provide over 18 recommendations each day. Approximately 70% of these influence actual purchase decisions.


Reward employees

Recognising when an employee has done a good job provides positive reinforcement which, in turn, leads to higher productivity. It can also help with employee retention, as research has found that 79% of employees cite a lack of appreciation as a reason for quitting their jobs.

Remember, employee rewards don’t always have to be monetary. You can celebrate achievements through simple phrases such as “great job,” and “keep up the good work.”



New employees should be welcomed to your company before their first day to remove any anxieties. While you will have to spend time and money developing your onboarding programme, this investment will be repaid through a lower turnover rate and higher productivity.

You should also deliver relevant and consistent training to help build employee confidence with your products and company policies.


retail onboarding


Why Wranx?

Wranx is an employee development platform that utilises microlearning to help employees build outstanding product knowledge and learn about your brand values. Training takes place in the form of Spaced Repetition, a series of around 10 questions a day.

Our training takes place digitally and can be completed on any device, at any time. We also provide a Media Hub, which allows you to add additional training resources, such as videos.

We use gamification to improve engagement, as well as pre and post-assessments so you can track your learners’ progress. Our modules are written by a team of content writers, ensuring you have a bespoke training programme that meets your organisation’s needs.

Click here to find out more about our platform. 

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Persia is passionate about helping organizations improve employee engagement across their professional development initiatives.
Published: 15 Jun, 2022