Training set to move up the agenda as workers return from furlough

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​Over one third (35%) of retail key workers, and 40% of those who work in groceries, have reported feeling underprepared to do their roles due to the way work has changed during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll by training provider Axonify.

As the workforce will have to continue to adapt to new regulations, and more workers are set to return from furlough in the coming month, training is set to be a key focus area of HR as it makes sure all are equipped to cope with upcoming changes.

Despite a majority (87%) saying they have confidence in their abilities to do their job, 19% of workers in the poll said they hadn’t received the proper training for pandemic-related changes to their role.

And only 22% of people that took on new tasks or job roles during the pandemic received related training.

Over half (56%) of those that had received training said they felt it hadn’t been catered to their needs and 25% said it missed the mark on their experience levels.


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Liam O’Meara, VP Europe at Axonify, told HR magazine: “We’ve always said empowering the frontline is good for employees, good for customers and good for business – and never has that been more true than now, especially as the frontline have to navigate new tasks, procedures and even new roles, which are changing at pace.

“Just as the frontline’s roles have changed, the key to building an engaged and resilient workforce that’s ready for any challenge, will be how retailers and HR teams respond to the changing needs of their staff when it comes to training and communication.”

Face-to-face training was the method which most survey respondents preferred (67%) to receive.

Almost half (48%) of retail staff also expressed an interest in receiving training via their own device, with 28% saying they would be more engaged in the programme if so.

Carol Leaman, CEO and co-founder of Axonify, added: “Now is the time for retail businesses to nurture and support the frontline and ensure they have the skills to do their best work. By making sure every frontline employee recognises the role they play in supporting the business and the customers and communities it serves, the greater the chance of survival.”

Axonify’s The State of Frontline Employee Training 2020 is based on the views of 2,000 frontline staff working in grocery and non-food retail.
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