Michael Laing, executive chairman and owner of Laing Edinburgh and Parkhouse the Jeweller says that even during tough times investing in staff is always worthwhile.
Investing in the training and ongoing development of your staff is one of the wisest decisions you can make in the current climate and something that we place the highest importance on and core to our business strategy.
It is claimed that the UK’s retail sector is investing an average of £1,275 per employee in training every year but it’s often an area that small independent businesses overlook due to pressures of budgets and resource.
The retail sector is one of the hardest hit by the economic challenges we all face with greater competition, job cuts and lower spending. This brings even greater pressure on staff and business owners than ever before and it is imperative that businesses in the retail sector invest in training.
Your team is central to the success of your business and we have concentrated on getting back to the basics with clear goals – 60/90 day performance reviews, measurable in every aspect of our operation and increased investment in training.
Everyone wants a sense of achievement and to feel that they make a positive contribution in the workplace so it’s important that your staff appreciate the contribution they make.
Our managers are there to help nurture and grow staff rather than focusing on sales alone. We strive to deliver a memorable luxury shopping experience for our customers and this requires the highest standards of quality and service.
We recently appointed a new learning and development specialist, Alan Woodrow, who brings 13 years’ people development expertise. We have also invested in an innovative e-learning platform across the business.
It is important that learning and development is made available to all staff members. Giving them the opportunity to grow and develop their roles will make them feel more confident and empowered in their jobs and this will ultimately help free up managerial time to focus on business growth.
Training, coaching and ongoing development should be tailored to the individual. We are delivering courses that are a blend of information, videos and interactive quizzes to also make sure that the training is engaging, informative and fun.
The new state-of-the-art e-learning platform we’ve created uses video technology and individual development plans. It is continuously updated for new products, brands and skill development. This has provided a more effective, measurable training system, which delivers flexibility in content, timing and tracking of our staff’s growth and learning.
Every staff member can log in to their portal and complete concise blocks of learning that can be accessed when it’s most convenient to them.
We have faced one of our most challenging years yet delivered solid performance with improved business operations and I firmly believe one of the key drivers of this has been an increased investment in our people and training to develop them.
This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of WatchPro.
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