One of the topics on which PJ receives the most reader questions is staff training. What schemes are most effective? Which suppliers offer the best initiatives? And how often should you hold refresher sessions?
We listened, and every day this week will be speaking with a new industry expert to discover their most successful methods for staff training to aid employee growth and retention. Today read how retailer F Hinds and top tips from the British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ).
With a 160-year history, jewellery retailer F Hinds boasts over 100 stores across the UK. Despite the scale of the operation, it’s still very much in the hands of the Hinds family.
The company’s retail director, Jeremy Hinds, says the business takes a multi-pronged approach to its training.
He begins: “All of our store staff have access to our online GEMS platform which is managed in house. This includes product knowledge, process instructions and regulatory training such as heath and safety at work. All staff are expected to go through each of these training packages.”
While a company-wide online platform is crucial to F Hinds’ training platform, the company also realises that a more personal, tailored approach can be necessary in certain scenarios.
To this end, each individual store manager is given a degree of freedom in how he or she trains their staff.
“Each store also has its own training needs,” explains Hinds. “The store manager is tasked with identifying the training needs and then delivering the necessary training. Each manager has previously attended a course on how to deliver effective training to their staff.”
He goes on to detail to the other ways in which F Hinds staff can pursue personal growth through the company: “We also have centrally controlled training, which delivers specialist courses focusing on key areas. These include management training courses and product specific training.”
As for extra training from suppliers, Hinds says that watch brands are most likely to provide this. He praises “technical brands” such as Casio, in particular, for their efforts.
Whether a jewellery or watch brand offers training or not, though, Hinds is confident in the company’s abilities to train its staff effectively, and efficiently.
“Training never stops,” he explains. “New products, new processes or new training needs being identified means we have to keep working on helping our colleagues to improve.
“We also have our own apprenticeship programme for training and promoting managers for the future. This ties in with our management training programme for new managers. Covid has put a stop to this somewhat, but we are keen to get this rolling again in the next few months.”
Discussing why F Hinds puts so much time into its staff training efforts as a jeweller, the retail manager explains that two things are paramount: health and safety measures related to the pandemic and the customer experience.
He says: “All of our training is designed to make sure we deliver exceptional customer service while making sure our colleagues are able to work safely.”
BAJ training top tips
The British Academy of Jewellery’s (BAJ) head of academy, Kate Rieppel, explains the institution’s take on training: “Jewellery is a complex and fast-moving industry, so it’s important that shop floor employees, as well as those in design or manufacturing, are up to date with all the latest developments in materials and technology, context and care.
“This way, they can feel confident talking to customers about your pieces and will be effective ambassadors for your brand.
“Offering continuing professional development is a crucial way of supporting employees in their roles and improving overall company performance.”