As we’ve expanded our operations over the last few months (we are currently operating sites in 9 states), I’ve been reminded how consistent training is so important to a successful operation and an engaged team. It’s a topic that I keep coming back to on a regular basis – as you can see from my previous postings – and I believe that it is the cornerstone of what we are doing.
A fully implemented training program allows store personnel to feel confident in their job performance, provide a higher level of customer service, and reduces staff turnover. When someone feels that they know what they are doing they are more adept at providing innovative solutions to problems and issues that arise on an occasional or a regular basis. More importantly, the solutions are usually within the framework of what we are trying to accomplish as a team rather than being a one-off solution.
Our goal at CMSI is to have a highly trained staff that is competent in day to day operations and are equipped to handle new situations. In a perfect world, a team member can be transferred from one store to another and easily feel at home. The routines and procedures are the same at both places allowing them to be effective immediately and reducing the transition and retraining time. Greater flexibility also means more opportunities for our team members as we add and lose stores over time. They can move from a store that is going away to one that we’ve just taken over. CMSI wins as we get to keep our best folks. The client wins because we have a trained and dedicated staff immediately available. The employee wins as we can provide further job opportunities.
Everything begins with putting a coherent program in place. Training should reflect the work as it is – not as it might be hoped. Providing the training equivalent of a Phillips screwdriver isn’t helpful when the world is full of flat head screws. When someone has to break training to deal with an issue it creates an anxiety about breaking the rules and opens the door to additional changes and modifications.
At CMSI we have developed a training program over the last thirty years that has been codified in our training manuals and materials. We update the content regularly to reflect changes in laws, technology, and retail practices. We have a systemic program of tracking and evaluating team members as they go through their training making sure that everyone has completed all of the component.
To do this we have a dedicated training staff that is responsible for the training content and delivering in the field. There is a direct responsibility to make sure that our fellow employees receive the training that they need. Refresher courses and evaluations are conducted over time to make sure that everyone stays up to date with the latest developments.
I would like to thank our trainers and training managers who help us be the best operating company we can be. Without their dedication, we would not be a successful as we are.