3 Ways to Effectively Retain Your Retail Employees With Training

In the retail industry, showing employees you care about them and that they are valued throughout the training process is essential.

a woman and man retail training.

Introduction – The state of retail in 2022

The average turnover rate in the retail sector is just above 60 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 19 percent across other industries. This results in a continuous cycle of rehiring and retraining, which ultimately negatively impacts retailers’ bottom lines.

The retail sector experienced a significant transformation in the last 10 years with new technologies, changes in employee expectations, and an increasingly informed consumer market contributing to its evolution. The customer journey now uses an omnichannel approach to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. Still, to optimize every touchpoint and ensure that consistency in high-quality customer service is guaranteed, it is contingent on all store employees possessing equal knowledge and customer service skills.

This type of standardized experience can be achieved through practical training that ensures brand consistency and a customer experience across all available channels. Amidst inflation and supply chain issues, coupled with some of the highest turnover rates in decades, employers must train their workers to achieve greater success.

1. Don’t overlook the onboarding process

For many retailers, the highest churn happens before someone’s first day – so they need to start marketing to them as an employer before they even step foot on the premises to reduce the volume of ‘no shows.’ Focusing on preboarding, the period between an employee accepting their job offer and their first day is shown to boost loyalty and prevent turnover.

It is crucial to get onboarding right as it can be the make-or-break stage of the retail hiring funnel. Failure to engage hires from day one is a critical factor in employee churn – 50 percent of all hourly workers leave their jobs within the first 120 days – which results in significant losses for any business.

Training and onboarding go way beyond the first few days on the job. It takes new hourly workers an average of three months to become fully productive, but this will take longer if all training and support cease after the first 30 days. This may also put businesses at a higher risk of turnover.

Seven out of 10 employees would welcome access to ‘always on,’ on-demand training via mobile, app-based learning solutions. However, only 22 percent receive online training, and only 8 percent are utilizing

integrated and seamless mobile technology to train workers’ across their lifecycle. Not only do some receive training less than once a year some don’t receive any training – 32 percent of retail employees said they don’t receive any formal training.

By investing time and money into strengthening the onboarding process and ensuring that new starters have access to the right information from day one, retailers could see increases in customer satisfaction, improvement in employee retention, and greater workforce engagement.

2. Train the whole way through, consistently

Companies need to invest in informing, engaging & empowering staff at each step of their lifecycle as an employee – it’s not just onboarding.

There is a lack of continuous learning, yet 54 percent of employees have said that it is essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work-life to keep up with the changes in the workplace.

Stores always introduce new products and offers, employing various strategies to entice their customers. Current training approaches fail to acknowledge this evolution, leaving workers ill-equipped to deal with the customers. Data suggests that companies who do invest in continuous training see a 53 percent lower attrition rate.

Often, there are inconsistent onboarding programs that vary in length and detail from person to person.

Worse, training often differs from branch to branch, meaning customers experience an inconsistent experience when interacting with your brand. This leads to fewer sales and an ineffective omnichannel strategy.

Retaining knowledge received only once, especially if received in tandem with an abundance of new information in an unfamiliar setting – i.e., a typical first day – is near impossible. It takes less than a day to forget 40 percent of the information we’ve engaged with. To combat this, businesses must reinforce learning by implementing new information and providing ways to reference past training easily.

To be successful and achieve customer service practically identical from store to store, each employee must receive identical role-relevant training, and training must be standardized.

3. Enable your employees with tech

Another essential aspect of effectively training retail staff is providing the technology to make training readily available and easy for workers. Staff members spend much of their time engaging via smartphones, so it makes sense to use mobile-responsive training software. Almost half of the retail staff want their training to be delivered digitally, and three-quarters would welcome training via their devices. Yet, only 14 percent receive training via mobile devices.

Giving retail workers 24/7 access to relevant information through the device they may already rely on at work is key to onboarding workers quickly and efficiently, allowing them to learn in their own time and in a format that is more engaging.

Using tech to reduce friction in the employee user experience makes it more seamless, which can be achieved by embedding straight into existing workflows without needing a password or login. Using seamless learning – when a user receives the information they need, right at the moment they need it – is an effective strategy for retention and keeping employees updated on company changes.

Companies implementing frictionless and seamless learning reduce onboarding time and improve course completion rates. When content is triggered via push notifications with unique links to relevant training, it incentivizes users to complete the training and leads to better performance.

Mobile learning improves productivity by 43 percent as workers are more motivated to learn when they complete courses on their smartphones than on desktops due to gamification, which promotes healthy competition, causes dopamine release, and creates a desire to complete future learning independently.


It’s all about investing in your employees – from continuously preboarding, onboarding, and training to provide digital resources for employees to succeed. Especially in retail, it’s essential to show employees you care about them and that they are valued throughout the training process, leading to better loyalty and results.

In 2005, Jacob Waern began his career with European media company Modern Times Group, quickly rising to CEO of one of its larger subsidiaries where he scaled the company’s profitability. Since then, Waern has cemented his mark in the world of technology, as a co-founder of Rocket Internet—a company starting and scaling global internet and tech companies—and was the Director of Digital Ventures at international telecommunications and media company Millicom. During his time at Millicom, the idea for eduMe was born out of his collective experiences observing the difficulties in training globally dispersed deskless teams. As founder and CEO of eduMe, Waern oversees the company’s mission to provide the deskless workforce with seamless access to relevant knowledge, enabling people to be successful at work.