Retail Training and Employee Development Benchmark Survey 2015

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1 Retail Training and Employee Development Benchmark Survey 2015 Sponsored By

2 Retail Training and Employee Development Benchmark Survey 2015 Retail Council of Canada (RCC), in partnership with WCG International Consultants Ltd., conducted a member survey to identify training and development benchmarks. Over 50 retail-training professionals participated in this survey representing retailers of all sizes throughout Canada. Overall, the results show employee training and development is a key tool used by retailers to improve staff and store effectiveness and to improve employee engagement. Lessons learned from the survey: 1. A shortage of skilled candidates exists to meet retailer s recruitment needs 2. Attitude and soft skills are priorities in the recruitment and selection process 3. The focus of training currently delivered is operational in nature with a focus towards policy and procedures and management development 4. Post-Secondary education is seen as a nice-to-have, but not a requirement for retail positions. Respondent s also support continuing education initiatives for employees. 5. e-learning and Classroom are the predominant methods of training for retailers 1

3 Survey Demographics: The demographics of the retailers that participated in this survey show a representation from each type of product in the retail sector, a mix of large, mid-size and independent merchants representing each Province and Territory in Canada. What type of product does your organization sell? 5% 8% 17% 2% Apparel 16% 16% 9% 15% Automotive Electronics Food/Alcohol 12% Home and Home Improvement General Merchandise Speciality Products Pharmaceuticals How many stores does your organization have in Canada? 0-50 Stores - 20% Stores -37% Stores - 17% Stores - 13% 351+ Stores - 13% How many people does your organization employ in Canada? Employees - 16% Employees - 33% Employees - 21% Employees - 14% Employees - 16% What Provinces /Territories does your organization have stores located in Canada? 9% 1% 14% 5% 14% 15% 1% 12% 10% 2% 8% 9% Alberta 14% British Columbia 14% Manitoba 12% North West Territories 2% New Brunswick 9% Newfoundland and Labrador 8% Nova Scotia 10% Nunavut 1% Ontario 15% Prince Edward Island 5% Quebec 9% Yukon 1% Does your organization have unionized employees? YES 25% NO 75% 2

4 Recruitment and Selection: What is your greatest barrier to finding suitable candidates? Ability to offer competitive compensation 24% Lack of required skills among candidate pool 21% Labour shortage - rural/regional pool small 16% Labour shortage 12% Low retail experience 12% Poor reputation of retail 6% Cost to recruit 3% Ability to offer competitive hours 3% Cultural fit 3% This shows that labour shortage is still an issue. Retailers are having difficulty in finding candidates that are the right fit What is your greatest challenge regarding employee retention? 12% 10% 27% Attitude 31% Lack of Training 12% 8% Work Ethic 27% Lack of Experience 10% 12% 31% Interpersonal Skills 12% Communication Skills 8% The major challenges with retaining employees are perceptions about attitude and work ethic of those who are leaving the organization. However, the ability to compete with compensation, skills gap and cultural fit were also identified as being issues. What percentage of applicants are suitable candidates for positions your company offers? 9% 11% 0-9% 11.4% 24% 11% 49% 10-24% 49% 25 49% 11% 50-74% 24% 75-99% 8.6% More than 49% of respondents, state that only 10-24% of viable candidates for employment, 8.6% state that 75-99% of candidates are suitable. The more specific and complex the role, the more rapidly the candidate pool shrinks making recruitment more challenging. 3

5 What would disqualify an applicant from being a suitable candidate? 1% 1% Poor Resume 11% Lack of Experience 15% 15% 11% 13% Dressed Innappropriately 13% No cover Letter 1% 29% 30% Poor Intervieaw 30% Attitude 29% Lack of Training 1% Attitude, interpersonal skills & experience rate high on candidate selection and desired skill sets 4

6 Retail Training: How many employees do you train per year by percentage? Employees - 50% Employees - 15 % Employees - 15% Employees - 3% What is the percentage of employees that receive training? Temporary / Casual Employees 71.8% Part-Time Employees 87.2% Full-Time Employees 89.7% Management Employees 100.0% Temporary / Casual Employees Part-Time Employees Full-Time Employees Management Employees In what subjects do you train your employees? Food Safety 23.1% Administrative Skills 33% Leadership Development 71.8% Loss Prevention 76.9% Point of Sale 79.5% Product Knowledge 82.1% Sales Skills 82.1% Managerial Skills 87.2% Health and Safety 89.7% Customer Service Skills 94.9% Training is largely operational in nature with focus on the fundamental skills needed to support stores and customers. 5

7 What are the top three most important essential skills for workers to succeed in your workplace? 1% 13% 23% 29% 1% Working with Others 31% Oral Communications 29% Thinking Skills 23% Continuous Learning 13% Reading Text 2% Numeracy 1% Document Use 1% Writing Skills 0% 2% 31% Digital Technology Use 0% This list illustrates the importance of interpersonal and relationship building skills in retail. Are there any courses and/or topics that you do not offer to your employees but wish to if they were available to you? Writing Skills ESL Performance / Coaching Leadership Development Management Fundamentals Relationship Building Social Media Recruitment Financial Acumen Loss Prevention 6

8 Types of Retail Training: Do you train your employees by the following training methods? Classroom Facilitation 83.8% elearning 94.6% In store / Coaching 27% The respondents also listed conference calls and conference attendance as training methods for their employees. Does your organization have internal training facilitators? YES 71.1% NO 28.9% What is the ratio of elearning vs. classroom facilitation? 25% of Respondents = 0-25% e-learning 10% of Respondents = 26-50% e-learning 34% of Respondents = 51-75% e-learning 31% of Respondents = 76%-100% e-learning Who develops your training content? External 2% In-House & External Vendor 41% In-House 57% Retailers with internal training primarily use learning & development specialists, supported by HR and store operation teams. Does your organization offer a leadership development program to employees? YES 59% NO 41% Organizations are willing to invest in their staff in order to promote retail career advancement. Does your organization measure success rates such as ready for advancement, etc.? YES 47.2% NO 52.8% 7

9 How does your organization view university degrees or college diplomas as a job requirement for your front line staff? 2.6% 31.6% Prerequisite for the position 2.6% Nice to have, but not necessary for the position 65.8% Not applicable for the position 31.6% 65.8% How does your organization view university degrees or college diplomas as a job requirement for your head office staff? 2.6% 33.3% Prerequisite for the position 33.3% Nice to have, but not necessary for the position 64.1% Not applicable for the position 2.6% 64.1% Does your organization offer educational assistance programs to help pay for external courses / training programs? YES 74.4% NO 25.6% Does your organization have training prerequisites for advancement within your organization? YES 39.5% NO 60.5% 8

10 e-learning: Do you have a Learning Management System (LMS) or Course Management System (CMS)? Yes 58% No 42% Almost 60% of survey respondents use either a LMS or CMS for their training programs. Of the 60%, 82% have external vendors host their tracking programs. This indicates that the majority of respondent either do not have capacity to effectively manage online training programs and growth still exists for LMS and CMS in retail. What types of courses do you upload to your learning management system (LMS)? Courses most often referenced for use by LMS include, in order: 1. Health and Safety 2. Product Knowledge 3. Customer Service 4. Management and Leadership 5. Human Resources 6. Policies Who develops your e-learning courses? Internal 37% External 26% Combination of Both 37% Do you use gamification as a training tool? Yes 15.8% No 84.2% Do you use mobile learning as a training tool? Yes 12.8% No 87.2% A small number of survey respondents have moved to using different types of new technology for their learning. Mobile learning allows learners the flexibility to train anywhere in the store. Gamification creates an element of engagement and reward within the learning environment. Training Data: Does your organization track training? Yes 89.2% No 10.8% Of the 89.2%, 43% of respondents state they track their training in a Human Resource Information System, 48% use a Learning Management System and 9% manually track their employees learning. Does your organization track lost work hours due to employees attending training? Yes 21.6% No 78.4% Less than 80% of survey respondents do not track lost work hours due to employees attending training. Employers can benefit from capturing this information to identify optimal scheduling of employees to avoid peak traffic periods, ensuring timely completion of training and implementation of cost controls. 9

11 Final Thoughts: More retailers are hiring based primarily on soft skills, and opting to train the more foundational retail skills likely due to the skills gap that exists in the labour market. Leadership development, which has been identified as a need, can be a focus to elevate the talent pool. Keys to success in this area will be: - Developing a Leadership Development Program - Explore more creativity for non-traditional learning and development. By using e-based and mobile learning platforms, employers can provide a more flexible learning method. - A greater understanding of the costs and benefits associated with training must be adopted by tracking, measuring and analyzing to understand the impact it has on the bottom line. 10

12 About Retail Council of Canada: Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is the Voice of Retail in Canada representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants in general merchandise, grocery and drugs. Its membership represents over 75% of all retail sales in Canada. RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information. Not a member? Join today, visit RetailCouncil.org/join or contact our membership team at , About WCG: WCG is a leader in delivering employment and vocational rehabilitation services. WCG s client-focused approach brings human resource solutions to public and private organizations in 250 communities across Canada. We also help individual job-seekers thrive by linking them with quality workplaces. With 20 years of specialization in all aspects of employment, vocational rehabilitation, and corporate training, we deliver results. WCG has worked with thousands of businesses -- as well as with local, provincial and federal governments -- to develop and deliver highly customized individual and group training programs for adult learners of varying skill levels and backgrounds. We have experience developing and providing training specific to retail professionals at all levels, older workers, entry level workers, immigrants, people with disabilities, and those with multiple and persistent barriers to employment. Our training programs have been proven to positively impact customer satisfaction, increase organizational effectiveness and improve employee retention. For more information please visit or contact WCG at Retail Council of Canada The content of this report cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without explicit written permission and is intended for members of Retail Council of Canada. Retail Council of Canada 1881 Yonge Street, Suite 800 Toronto, ON, M4S 3C4 RetailCouncil.org 11

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