The Basics: Practical Tools for Retail Learning and Development
Loren Learny | 5 min read
Is it time for you to look at using a learning management system, or LMS, for your retail business? If your company is committed to employee training, learning, and development, the answer is yes. An LMS offers consistent, online training that is easily accessible by every employee across all company locations, and it eliminates the need for planning, setting up, and implementing traditional onsite training sessions.
What is an LMS?
A learning management system is an online hub for bringing all your company’s training materials and documents together for easy access and use. It allows for tailored training modules, assessment tools, and easy communication with your team members. Because an LMS is cloud-based, employees have immediate access to critical information when and where they need it, without interrupting the flow of their work or spending hours in classroom-based training.
Every employee matters, and every employee is different. In an LMS, every worker has an individual profile, so your administrator can keep all content up to date, organized, and easy to find. They can also use the system to assign new material to employees individually or in groups, or organize everything by title, location, and other relevant information.
A flexible LMS is highly customizable to your company, so you can choose the learning options that best fit your crew — whether that’s microlearning, blended learning, virtual reality, or slideshows — the options are numerous and adaptable for individualized instruction.
Why use an LMS?
An LMS gives your retail business an edge over the competition while offering benefits to both employers and employees. These benefits include:
- Clear objectives. Creating training goals can be tricky and time-consuming, but it’s important to have clarity about what skills you need your employees to learn. An LMS can help you design a set of specific skills or behaviors that need to be addressed, so you avoid unnecessary spending on content or courses irrelevant to your company.
- Centralized data. Using LMS software, you can store all L&D materials in a single online location. No one needs to search for handbooks, texts, or hard copies of instructions. This also means all training locations are central — no need to provide for different teaching venues in each physical retail store when everyone can access their training package through a mobile device or laptop.
- Easy access. Your business will see an immediate savings when workers can train quickly and easily without having to take off work, travel, or come in on their days off to complete onsite training. Regardless of their geographic location, everyone has access to all materials at all times.
- Employee retention. Almost all onboarding activities are suitable for shifting to an LMS format, and the software makes new hire training simpler, quicker, and easier to navigate for new employees. Early connection with employee objectives, and your company’s vision, helps ensure engagement and job satisfaction, which are both drivers of retention.
- Efficiency. How often does HR conduct the same training for the same employees? What about introductory training for new hires? With an LMS, the bulk of training can be implemented online without the need for repetitive sessions that require planned hours or days of in-person learning.
- Assessment and documentation. Because all information is presented and accessed online, results are immediately available to team leaders. It is far easier to address skills gaps early, when you first become aware of them, than to correct ingrained behavior later.
LMS as a training tool
Training is a must for retail companies, both for new hires and employees who have been on the floor for years. Products and customers change, customer service skills can fall off during busy seasons, and tricky situations occur. An LMS provides a consistent training experience to everyone on your team. If you are just getting started with your LMS, consider these methods for optimizing its use:
- Develop customized modules. Because flexible LMS platforms offer many choices, you can choose training pathways that fit with your company’s goals and employee needs. You may find video modules, webinars, microlearning courses, or combining a variety of options most suitable for your learners. A few hours of training on your LMS can replace what might take several days in person, which makes it useful for keeping up with health and safety requirements, regulatory compliance, and changing corporate policies. It also allows you to collect completion and achievement data, so you can offer retraining or more advanced content as needed for individual employees.
- Take advantage of real-time performance measurement. Online retail training with an LMS is easier to measure than in-person training. Your administrator will be able to see learner scores, responses, time spent on coursework, and employee engagement rates. Easy access to this information allows for strategic decisions about training and job assignments.
- Evaluate information retention. New skills are only valuable to the extent they are retained. An LMS allows you to use quizzes, questionnaires, surveys, and other tools to measure learner retention. It also means you can recheck for knowledge retention at a later date or on an ongoing basis. If workers need to be certified, an LMS can ensure they have learned the material they need for certification and provide the documentation they need to stay current.