With rising labor costs around the country, restaurants, retailers and other service companies continue to look for new ways to save and training programs are typically first on the chopping block. Especially for businesses that rely on manual training resources, budget constraints leave little room for creating or ordering new materials throughout the year.
Failing to invest in training part-time employees, however, has serious ramifications for employers. Research shows that the financial success of chains like Trader Joe’s and Costco can be largely attributed to their robust training programs – which foster more engaged, loyal employees. As the U.S. Chief Executive of Uniqlo (which offers a two-week training process for its new hires) explained earlier this year, “We feel we have to enrich [our employees]…If people are happy, the retention rate is high.”
With the holiday rush just weeks away, companies are under even more pressure to bring an influx of new workers up to speed efficiently. In order to fast-track employee success, service industry employers need to look to innovations in workforce training and employee management technology to find a more accessible, informative and budget friendly way to prepare employees for the frontlines.
Three ways employers and part-time staff benefit from training technology
Binders, pamphlets and one-on-one shadowing are traditional staples of service industry training. While these methods can be effective, they don’t always give managers direct visibility into new recruits’ progress, nor do they complement workers’ on-the-go lifestyles. Furthermore, when you consider the time and cost of pairing experienced staff or managers with new recruits, in-person training becomes inefficient and hard to scale.
Today, worker training can be delivered in a range of digital formats, from mobile apps to online videos and interactive modules. Here are just a few of the ways tech-based training can benefit employers and their part-time staff:
- Accessible content: By housing training modules, videos and quizzes online or in an app, employees can retrieve content from any device, anywhere. This level of accessibility makes it easier for part-time workers to train at their own pace and on their own time. By putting training materials in each employee’s pocket, employers can boost information retention rates compared to when information is crammed into a frenzied one or two-day boot camp.
- Manager visibility: Integrating tech-based training into employee onboarding and development provides store managers, shift supervisors and even corporate leaders visibility into part-time employees’ progress. This transparency lets managers oversee workers’ development without micromanaging, freeing up time and informing better scheduling and development decisions.
- Consistent instruction: Pairing new part-time employees with different sales associates or managers for one-to-one training is a smart way to build internal rapport. That said, relying on manual learning alone – beyond taking up valuable time from team members’ days – could lead to inconsistencies across how managers teach certain processes or communicate policies. Embracing online and mobile platforms lets employers complement occasional in-person instruction with standardized, centralized training materials. This hybrid approach not only boosts retention, but also ensures no part-time employee misses out on important details.
Part-time employees can be immensely valuable to service industry companies and customers, especially during critical high-traffic periods such as the upcoming holiday sales period. The training efforts employers invest in part-time staff shouldn’t be proportionate to the hours they work, but rather the results they’re capable of achieving as the service industry’s customer-facing frontline.