Training New Summer Hires Poses Resource Drain For Retailers

May 22, 2006 ( - Even as they welcome the extra help during busy summer shopping months, retailers say the time spent training them can drain resources, according to a recent survey.

Nearly 46% of retailers plan to hire more sales associates for the summer retail season, spending more than 20 hours training each new hire, according to a press release on a survey conducted by StorePerform Technologies Inc, a software company that facilitates communication between retail headquarters and its stores.

Over half of retailers (54%) say extensive training time ranks as the top concern when adding to the sales staff. The high rate of store labor turnover (50% to 150% annually, according to a March 2005 AMR Research article), means retailers hiring for the summer season run the risk of making significant training investments only to have new employees leave, the release said.

The most popular way to train workers among respondents is by using hands-on training (46%), while 15% say training consists of handing out a manual.

Additionally, the survey found that the top concern (54%) in preparing for promotional holidays such as Memorial Day, July 4 th and Labor Day is obtaining the necessary information. Nearly half (46%) of respondents say that the largest gap in information sharing exists between retail headquarters and stores, while another 46% see the divide between marketing/merchandising and store operations as the most significant. Seventy-seven percent of respondents spend between one and six months preparing for a seasonal promotion.