Most, if not all, multi-unit retailers have some form of store training program in place. This training is often delivered electronically through online courses. Training often supplements the operating standards and guidelines put forth by head office.

Is training alone sufficient? Store staff may be trained, answer the quiz and pass the test, but are they applying their learned skills where it matters, enhancing the customer experience, driving sales and representing the brand? This is often not the case. Training alone does not guarantee that standards are being followed. Training alone can give the brand a false sense of security. If you care about standards, measure them. Train your stores on the one hand, audit them for compliance with service, merchandising, health and safety and loss prevention standards on the other. Treat the audit as a “continuous learning” exercise and an opportunity to apply corrective actions to problem areas. Coach each store to achieve the success it deserves.

Besides, measurement breeds compliance. You can publish standards and train your staff but only when you measure compliance do you achieve it. Just like students tend to pay more attention to the lecture when the teacher says “this will be on the test”, compliance is best achieved when all know it will be verified and measured.

This post is part of the “Retail Audit Best Practice” series.

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