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Make Employee Training a Key Part of Your 2019 Plans

What are your employee training goals for 2019? Are you planning to grow sales by adding a new niche to your operation? Do you want to appeal to a new customer base, or improve your average transaction size?

Whatever plans you have for the new year, employee education is critical. Employees who are well-trained on the products they sell deliver better customer service and are more confident about suggesting add-on sales. They also feel engaged with your business, making it more likely they’ll choose to grow with your company, which will reduce your turnover.

As you develop your employee training plans, consider the breadth of resources the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) has to offer. NRHA has training for every level of employee on multiple subjects, ranging from in-depth courses on specific topics to quick training tools. 

5-Minute Training
One way to start training this year is to add quick lessons to the agenda at your next staff meeting. In about five minutes, you could give your employees a quick reminder about a timely topic that could improve their selling skills. For example, you can discuss the importance of making a good first impression on customers and how it could boost your customer service. 

NRHA’s Trainer’s Toolbox courses offer small doses of training, and they come with instructor’s notes and a presentation, so they don’t require much preparation before a staff meeting. There are more than 50 Trainer’s Toolbox lessons, covering product knowledge, operations, selling skills and merchandising. This training is free for any independent home improvement retailer to download.

NRHA will be adding new employee training lessons throughout the year, so check nrha.org/trainers-toolbox to see what’s new. Also, follow the NRHA Facebook page, where you will find employee education reminders throughout the year. 

A Comprehensive Strategy
You also want to consider a plan that meets your employee training goals for the year. For example, if one of your goals is to raise your store’s average transaction size, you might want to focus on teaching employees about the importance of add-on and project sales. 

One of the best ways to get a training plan started is by downloading one of NRHA’s free training resources: Train the Trainer (nrha.org/train-the-trainer). This guide will give you or your training manager everything needed to know how to start an effective training program, including tips for determining what form of training works best for you and how to evaluate your program once you’ve started it. 

Next, make sure you have access to NRHA’s courses through its online learning management system. The system is where you’ll go to find all of the courses and monitor the progress of each employee. NRHA’s nine courses cover product knowledge, operations, selling skills and more. They’re available to NRHA training members. To learn more, contact nrha@nrha.org.


NRHA’s Training Membership

NRHA offers nine online employee training courses, available on demand for any level of employee. Each can help retailers motivate employees to strengthen their overall operation. The courses come with study guides you can print out to use as a quick reference and include the following:

  • Basic Training in Hardware Retailing
  • Basic Training in Building Materials Retailing
  • Basic Training in Selling Skills
  • Basic Training in Merchandising
  • Project PRO
  • Loss Prevention
  • Our Three Pennies of Profit
  • Basic Retail Accounting
  • Basic Inventory Management

Here is a quick overview of how the training process works:

  • Sign up for a training membership at nrha.org/membership.
  • Receive a welcome email with the next steps to register your store in NRHA’s learning management system.
  • Each employee uses their own username and password to log on and take courses.
  • You set the curriculum and get a report when each employee finishes a course.
  • You can even reward employees who complete milestones in their training.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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