This morning I decided to pass by my local retail shop to buy something I needed to use in the office. The shop I visited is a large supermarket and not a small grocery shop in the corner. As I was busy shopping an announcement was made that the system is down and therefore customers can only be assisted if they pay cash. Fortunately I had enough cash for what I needed so I proceeded to pay at the till. The cashier then decided to make some small talk with me and decided to say, “the card machines are down so at least we are going to have some breathing space”. This was because some clients who didn’t have cash left the store, probably to withdraw cash but more likely to buy somewhere else.
I was ready to give her a lecture about not understanding that when clients leave the shop, they might not make the target and that she might then only be allocated fewer shifts or worse, loose her job but I didn’t. The reason I didn’t is that about 14 years ago, I was also a Cashier in a major retailer and we also hated it when the shop was busy. It was a major inconvenience, it meant we couldn’t chat the way we wanted to and it also meant we would spend about an hour or two after the shop closes to “fix” the mess created by these inconsiderate customers. For some strange reason we didn’t really care whether the company made target or not at the end of the day. Our biggest concern at the end of the day was whether the cash at our tills balanced or not. I left the store after working there for three years while studying for my degree and a few years later, the store was closed because it was not making enough money and my former colleagues were distraught.
Any employee that starts in a new company is trained. The three areas that are never compromised by Learning & Development departments when training new employees are products, processes and systems. The reason is quite obvious because without these an employee cannot be productive. I’m suggesting here that we must focus more on training employees about the business they have just joined. What is our business? How do we make money? What happens if we don’t make money? How is my job contributing to this business? Unless we as Learning & Development departments focus on this when employees are still new, we will find employees who think that clients are a major inconvenience.
Learning & Development Activist