This learner-centered approach to training and orienting retail salespeople is much more that “learning by doing”. For instance, the method
“…focuses on using formal training design elements to systematically influence and support the cognitive, motivational, and emotional processes that characterize how people focus their attention, direct their effort, and manage their affect during learning. In recent years, researchers have developed a number of discrete active learning interventions, including error management training, mastery training, and guided exploration. These interventions represent complex training manipulations composed by combining multiple training design elements intended to selectively influence the nature, quality, and focus of self-regulatory activity” (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008)
Interacting with Customers:
This component of the training program is very important, as poor customer feedback will result in decline in business. Some useful techniques that can be adopted for executing this training module include vestibule training, apprenticeship training, classroom training, and programmed (or computer-assisted) instruction. Since, this module does not require hands-on exercises, many theoretical training approaches, as listed above could be used. In the case of vestibule training – a method quite suited to train sales clerks in customer service, “the trainee uses procedures and equipment similar to those of the actual job, but located in a special area called a vestibule. Trainees are taught by skilled persons and are able to learn the job at their own speed without the pressures of production schedules” (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008).
The learner-centered approach, used for the previous module, is equally applicable to the customer service training module, although a few learning intervention elements need be incorporated into the program. In the learning interventions that will be designed for the departmental store clerks, three core elements are kept in mind – exploration, training frame, and emotion control. Further, through systematic analysis, these core elements are oriented with the recruits’ “cognitive, motivational, and emotional self-regulatory processes” (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008). Other aspects of the program design include incorporating “exploratory/discovery learning, error management training, and enactive exploration”. It is also intended that the trainees will be given guided training only a “need-to” basis, leaving the bulk of the learning to “active exploration and experimentation with the task” (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008). This approach is very effective in the acquisition of skills at the billing counters – especially with respect to the handling of the accounting software, etc.
Tracking and replacing commodities:
For this cumbersome and repetitive skill, the above discussed models could be employed. For instance, part of the strategy for this component though requires utilizing managers as coaches. This approach to training comprises “a rich set of tools that drives candid and meaningful coaching conversations between managers and employees. The tools include competencies linking with each employee’s profession and career path; career stage profiles that define what is appropriate progression in each stage of an employee’s career and what paths are available; and an experiences grid that defines the best job experiences needed to develop a pipeline of future company leaders” (Clement, 1991).