By Xapiapps | Training Management, Performance Management, Retail Training

If you’re looking for a competitive advantage in 2015, your approach to employee performance management could hold the key.

For the majority of Retailers, employee learning still occurs informally through on-the-job interactions with co-workers1. But what if you could systematically ensure employees developed the skills they need, and you were able to measure the performance of those skills while on-the-job? New technology is enabling innovative ways to standardise training and complete competency-based performance reviews. But first, what do these terms mean and why should Retailers care?

  • Standardised training

Standardised training is a consistent training process that delivers a reliable outcome, with every employee. It involves identifying the key skills needed for employees to excel in their role. And rather than letting employees learn informally, learning is process-driven through tools that make sure that each employee gets all the training they need.

  • Competency-based performance reviews

Competency-based performance reviews test the employees’ ability to perform specific skills relevant to their role. Think of it as a departure from the traditional performance reviews such as a 360 review or a general KPI review. Competency-based reviews are more granular. They allow trainers and managers to test explicit skills and therefore more accurately understand the performance and skill levels of their teams. By combining both standardised training and competency-based performance reviews, you can make sure employees are on-boarded correctly, up skilled quickly and developed progressively.

The benefits of competency-based performance reviews

At Xapify, we’ve identified four powerful benefits that competency-based performance measurement gives training managers:

1. Identify skills gaps <br/ >Specific skills gaps can be identified in individuals and customised training can be assigned to address their specific needs. For example, James in Sales failed to close 80% of his qualified sales presentations this month. James is now assigned ‘Close the Sale Training’ with his manager.

2. Benchmark skills across teams
By systematically measuring every employee, training managers can establish benchmarks at a store, region or State level. For example, the Melbourne store is resolving customer queries 160% quicker than the State benchmark.

3. Discover high performers
Once benchmarks are in place, individuals that display above average skills can be identified as high performers. For example, Kate from Customer Support consistently scores highly in empathy and rapport-building skills. Kate is acknowledged as a high performer and given further development opportunity through mentoring junior staff.

4. Model high performers
The best performers in your team can be modeled to assist with team development and recruiting. For example, Dave the Training Manager analysed the top performing Customer Support staff. He found a correlation between empathy and rapport-building skills, and a negative correlation between university graduation and on-the-job performance. He passed his findings onto Sarah in Recruiting, who now knows what to look for when recruiting Customer Support staff.

Technology is enabling Retailers to perform competency evaluations while gathering a wealth of data. When technology is part of the process, performance data can be linked to training data (to measure the impact training has on employee skills) and business data (such as sales, to measure the impact on real business objectives).

At Xapify, we’re working on mobile technology that lets trainers evaluate skills while employees are on-the-job. More than a simple multiple-choice test, this lets Retailers get a clear picture on the how well employees have learned and can execute skills in the workplace.

To find out how technology is changing the training landscape for Retailers, download our white paper today:

Next-Gen Retail Training: How technology will evolve customer facing employee performance.

1. NCVER, 2013, Australian vocational education and training statistics: employers’ use and views of the VET system 2013, item 2675.

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