In the retail industry, it can be difficult to find and retain reliable employees who have a developed set of soft skills. Whether hires simply don’t work out or leave to look for different career opportunities, low retention rates make finding strong leaders you trust to run the day-to-day operations of your business nearly impossible. One solution to boost retention rates and prepare your employees to take on leadership roles is investing in comprehensive soft skills training.
Penn Foster, an online education and skills training company, has taken steps in the last year to address employers concerns about students being truly career-ready. Through our Career Readiness Bootcamp online training program, students learn the soft skills that are so in-demand in today’s workforce. But if students are tasked with learning and building people and leadership skills through a distance education learning platform, can they truly absorb and apply the information to the benefit of their current employer? Marckus Perez, a graduate of the Career Readiness Bootcamp, is proof that, yes, they can.
Marckus, a Student Ambassador at Penn Foster and currently enrolled in the Forestry and Wildlife Conservation course, was a skeptic—what could he learn from the program that he didn’t already know? He’d been working full-time for awhile and felt that he knew what he needed to advance in his job at DXL, a men’s clothing store. Once he enrolled in the Career Readiness Bootcamp and began to dig into each module, he no longer could scoff at what he was learning—there was, in fact, information he’d never before considered necessary to his position in retail. “I didn’t think the workplace actually looked at these types of skills,” Perez said. “It was all things I wasn’t bringing to the table at my job at DXL.”
He was then able to apply what he learned to real situations at work and became a leader at his store. Besides benefitting Perez personally—he was promoted to assistant manager within a month after completing the Career Readiness course—his manager and store saw improvements as a result of his training. Whereas previously, “every employee’s sales numbers were low,” now, Marckus’ store’s revenues have risen rapidly and his store is just behind the King of Prussia location, which is one of DXL’s busiest in the region.
Marckus’ story is just one example of how employers in retail and other traditionally high-turnover industries can effectively reduce those turnover rates among employees. Investing in soft skills and other training programs can help develop career pathways for your employees, while demonstrating to them that their career development is important to you and the company. Prioritizing career development and opportunities for training can ensure that your employees are confident in you, while you build confidence in your dedicated employees.
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