According to a recent Arlington Research survey on the state of the frontline work experience in 2021, 45% of frontline employees are already planning to quit their jobs. The survey aims to shed light on the factors that contribute to high turnover rates in industries, retail, and more. The survey results highlight the importance of investigating frontline employees’ day-to-day experiences, including their training and development opportunities. The high number of employees leaving their jobs, as well as the factors motivating them to do so, necessitate immediate action from frontline organizations to address these issues and retain their employees.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the value of effective frontline training programmes and offer some tips and best practices to assist organizations in attracting and retaining top talent in today’s competitive talent market.
The value of frontline employee training
Frontline employees are important in providing a positive customer experience. The way they engage with customers can have a huge impact on their satisfaction and, as a result, retention. This gives a light to the importance of investing in frontline training to ensure that employees have the skills, which will be needed to accomplish their routine work easily, resolve issues and provide proper customer service.
The greatest threat to frontline businesses during the great resignation is unqualified staff interacting with customers. Their lack of competence results in a variety of unfavorable outcomes, including lower revenue, a poor brand image, and, in the worst-case scenario, lawsuits. Thus, appropriate training is required to provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively. Not just technical skillset, but customer service, sales, communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution can all be covered in frontline training. The goal of frontline training is to ensure the frontline employees are productive, skilled and can handle customer interactions to provide quality service that supports the goals and objectives of an organization.
Tips for Designing Effective Frontline Training Practices
Training programmes with effective design and practices can boost employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. To succeed at their job positions and take on new responsibilities, your frontline employees training requires real-time approach. According to the findings, here are some employee training best practices and tips for preparing your frontline workers for the long term:
1. AR based Training Assessment
Using Augmented Reality technology allows workers to access personalized training content through smart glasses or other wearable devices. By logging in with a QR code, employees can access a training library tailored to their individual proficiency levels. Real-time data collection and analysis through AR can track progress, identify areas for improvement, and adjust training programmes accordingly. Incorporating AR into frontline training can create personalized learning programmes and improve employee proficiency levels.
2. Mixture of Learning Techniques
To improve the skills of frontline workers, a blend of classroom and self-paced learning is necessary. Videos, blogs, podcasts, and assessments can be used to create a diverse set of learning materials. However, with limited bandwidth, many workers struggle to access content online. Augmented reality (AR) technology can help overcome this challenge by providing offline access to personalized training content through smart glasses or other wearable devices.
In addition to improving access to training content, AR can also ensure that employees follow proper safety protocols. For example, AR can prevent workers from proceeding to the next task until they have completed all necessary steps, such as wearing protective equipment. By incorporating AR technology into frontline training, companies can create personalized learning programmes, improve proficiency levels, and enhance safety protocols.
3. Gaming Elements
Several businesses have become interested in gamification. Gamification is a fun training method for employees in frontline training. You can bring your dispersed workforce together on a single platform for interactive sessions. You can test their knowledge of a product or see who is aware of current industry trends by using a roulette wheel or a quiz. You can instill healthy competition among your frontline employees and motivate them to work harder by using a leaderboard.
4. Remote Learning
To ensure that the frontline workers complete their routine tasks correctly and avoid jeopardizing the company’s reputation, companies must use advanced tools for frontline training. One such tool is mobile learning, which can provide a diverse course catalogue for workers to access on-the-go, disrupting the cycle of learning and forgetting. With remote learning, Augmented Reality technology can also be utilized to provide instructions, tips, and best practices to frontline workers. AR glasses can transmit this information via text, voice recording, or video. This allows workers to easily access training content while on the job and apply what they’ve learned in real-time.
5. Language Options & Microlearning
To make frontline training and upskilling programmes more accessible to employees who may not understand the language, it’s important to choose a learning solution that allows for multilingual content. With the help of AR, workers can access microlearning content in their native language using smart glasses or other wearable devices. These short, engaging learning nuggets can be consumed at any time of day or night, making it easy for workers to keep up with industry trends and new business procedures while on the job.
When creating courses in different languages, it’s important to keep jargon and wordplay to a minimum and make the learning programmes as simple as possible so that frontline personnel can understand them. By incorporating AR technology and microlearning into frontline training, companies can create personalized, accessible training programmes that improve employee performance and keep workers up-to-date with the latest industry trends.
6. Mental Health
While some businesses consider burnout to be a personal issue, it is actually an organizational issue caused by unfair treatment, unmanageable workloads, poor communication, and other pressures. Repairing it will necessitate structural changes as well as ongoing assistance. Mental health support that is available to both full-time and part-time employees can distinguish your workplace. A well-designed training programme that includes input from outside experts assists employees in identifying and overcoming early warning signs of burnout, resulting in improved retention, reduced sick time, and increased productivity.
7. Quick On-boarding
Well-structured onboarding is one of the best training methods for employees that is especially important for businesses with multiple locations. It is critical to provide the same onboarding experience to frontline hires across all branches. Modern learning solutions are known not only for their ability to upskill but also for their ability to create impactful onboarding. You can determine the time-to-productivity of the frontline and take real-time actions to reduce it using deep analytics such as productivity score and skill score. AR can be of super help here as it can minimize the spent in on job trainings while ensuring the purpose is fulfilled.
Online vs. Offline Frontline Training
When it comes to frontline training, organizations face the crucial decision of choosing between traditional offline sessions and the modern approach of online courses. Both methods have their merits and drawbacks, and the key lies in striking the right balance to achieve optimal results. To make things easy to understand, here’s a comparison table highlighting the key differences between online and offline frontline training:
||Online Frontline Training
||Offline Frontline Training
||Virtual interactions may not match the interpersonal connections forged in face-to-face training.
||In-person training often captivates learners through face-to-face interactions, making it more engaging.
||Limited opportunities for hands-on practice and real-life demonstrations.
||Enables hands-on practice and practical experience, especially for tasks like product arrangement on store shelves.
||Limited personalized attention from trainers due to the lack of direct interaction.
||Allows for individual attention, trainers can identify and assist employees needing extra support.
||Generally cost-effective, as it eliminates travel expenses and can be a one-time investment.
||Can be more expensive due to travel, venue rentals, and printed materials, making it less cost-effective.
||Provides flexibility as employees can access courses at their convenience.
||Less flexible, as training sessions are scheduled at specific times, potentially conflicting with employees’ commitments.
||Offers precise data on employee progress and performance for data-driven decision-making.
||May lack detailed reports, making it challenging to assess employee progress accurately.
||Lacks the same level of human interaction as face-to-face training.
||Involves face-to-face interactions, promoting personal connections and team-building.
||Some employees may struggle with new technologies used in online learning.
||Relies less on technology, reducing the risk of tech-related frustrations.
||Online learning may promote better knowledge retention compared to offline training.
||Knowledge retention may be lower in offline training, potentially impacting effectiveness.
|Customization & Blending
||Enables customization through blended learning approaches that combine online and offline elements.
||May be challenging to customize training or incorporate online elements into the traditional format.
On one hand, online frontline training offers flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and detailed tracking capabilities, but it may lack the same level of engagement, hands-on practice, and human interaction as offline training. On the other hand, offline training provides better opportunities for hands-on learning, individual attention, and personal connections, but it can be more expensive, rigid in scheduling, and may have lower knowledge retention rates. Finding the right balance between these two is important.
Finding the Right Balance with Blended Learning:
Rather than choosing one approach over the other, a blended learning model combines the strengths of both online and offline methods. This dynamic approach can overcome the weaknesses of individual formats and optimize the training experience.
Implementing a blended learning strategy allows organizations to:
Use Offline Training for Specific Needs: Organizations can leverage offline training for hands-on exercises, practical workshops, and team-building activities where face-to-face interactions are essential.
Complement Offline with Online Activities:
Offline sessions can be supplemented with online quizzes, knowledge checks, and e-learning modules to reinforce learning and track progress.
Personalize Learning Journeys:
Tailoring training experiences to individual employees’ needs and preferences can be achieved by blending both online and offline elements.
Frontline Employee Training Areas
Sales, product, merchandising, and compliance are the four most popular frontline training areas. Let’s look at these in more detail:
1. Sales and Customer Service Training
None of it has a greater impact on front-line business profit than sales ability. Employees must know how to approach a customer, what language to use, and how to answer their questions in order to sell a product. They require practice in addition to basic theories such as sales techniques and human psychology.
2. Product Training
Front-line employees require systematic, in-depth knowledge of your offerings, as well as appropriate product training. Customers require comprehensive support, so having a general idea is insufficient. If they don’t get it, they go elsewhere. Employees must be prepared to explain product components, differences between similar products, application scenarios, and so on. Creating an interactive product catalogue is a simple way to conduct product training. It is not only descriptive and informative, but it is also simple to use.
3. Merchandising Training
Many frontline workers require the ability to place products on the appropriate shelves. They must know where and how to store perishable goods in supermarkets. Shirts and trousers should be foldable in clothing stores. That could be difficult for some people.
4. Compliance Training
Failure to comply could lead to substantial charges for your company. As a result, your employees must be aware of company policies and regulations, as well as how to safeguard confidential information. This necessitates workplace diversity and inclusion, as well as sexual harassment training.
Training Program For Frontline Workers
Crafting an exceptional frontline training program may involve some trial and error, but the rewards are undoubtedly worth the effort. By providing a personalized learning experience, employees can effectively upskill and excel in their roles.
Instilling the Core Company Values
While employees learn about the company’s values and ethics during onboarding, integrating these principles into customer interactions requires specialized training. Such training helps foster connections with customers who share similar values, leading to increased rapport and easier conversions.
Designing the Learning Plan and Schedule
Training should be an ongoing process, and it’s essential to start with a comprehensive list of topics to cover. Utilizing LinkedIn’s statistic that 75% of employees are receptive to manager-assigned courses, we recommend assigning dedicated managers to trainee groups. Establishing a flexible schedule that allows trainees to engage with materials at their convenience is crucial. Providing regular training sessions is far more effective than infrequent ones, as seen in YOOBIC’s study where 24% of retail workers received training just once a month.
Empowering Product or Service Knowledge
Frontline employees must possess in-depth knowledge of products and services to inspire customer confidence. This includes the ability to handle common queries, offer product comparisons, and convey the benefits effectively. Emphasizing benefits over features proves particularly successful in sales.
Fostering Technical Competency
To keep up with evolving technologies, frontline training must continuously focus on enhancing technical skills. This ensures that employees remain self-sufficient and adapt to company upgrades. Considering that a significant portion of the retail workforce comprises Generations X, Y, and Z, who are willing to work with digital tools, integrating digital skill training is vital.
Nurturing Essential Soft Skills
Dealing with diverse customers requires frontline employees to exhibit patience and kindness. Elevating emotional intelligence enables them to provide a smoother and more personalized shopping experience, ultimately making customers feel at ease.
Enhancing Sales Techniques
Closing sales demands charisma and agile marketing skills. Frontline employees should possess the ability to identify customer pain points, suggest relevant products, and empathetically highlight their benefits, thus converting store visitors into loyal customers.
Prioritizing Fire and Safety Training
For brick-and-mortar stores, comprehensive fire and safety training is paramount. Equipping frontline employees with knowledge about safety protocols, evacuation routes, and emergency exits ensures a secure shopping environment for both customers and staff.
By reimagining the frontline training program with these rephrased points, your employees will be better equipped to embody the company’s values, excel in their roles, and provide an exceptional customer experience.
Businesses experience difficulties all the time, but only the most resilient ones find ways to overcome them. You can reduce risk and maintain quality performance while saving money and time with strong frontline training. Frontline workers training gives employees the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs well. Investing in high-quality frontline training can reduce the risks of poor performance while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. Furthermore, by utilising the cost-effective and adaptable nature of online training, you can provide training to the entire team without sacrificing valuable time and resources. With these AR based solutions for frontline workers, educators can empower their remote teaching, engage students, and improve learning outcomes.