July: Grow Here: Employee Training and Growth

Grow Here: Employee Training and Growth

During July, Path Forward is highlighting the important experience and skills that employees gain through on-the-job experience and training programs at restaurants and retail stores across the country.

The service industry enables employees to learn entry-level skills, such as customer service and in order to build their resumes and move up the ladder as well as managerial and more specialized skills that are in high demand. Training programs are beneficial for both employees and employers alike, as they only strengthen employee and business performance. The skills employees learn through service industry programs and opportunities allow them to advance within the service sector and outside of it. In fact, recent research shows that:

  • 80% of hiring managers state the skills and traits that are most important to them are the same skills and traits that more than eight in 10 current retail employees say they use regularly.
  • 71% of hiring managers say retail provides employees with foundational skills and experience that are transferable to other industries and recommend that employees include retail experience on their resumes.

Service Industry Value on a Resume: How Retail and Restaurant Jobs Prepare America’s Workforce for Success

The skills that retail employees learn during their training give them the necessary experiences to move up the ladder within the retail business, or find a new job in a different industry.  The below charts demonstrate the top traits that employees learn in the retail business that are admirable to hiring managers both inside and outside the service industry, and the number of restaurant employees that have advanced to higher paying jobs.

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Source “Retail’s Value on a Resume: How Jobs in Retail Prepare America’s Workforce for Success,” National Retail Federation and GfK, June 2015.

Who Works in the Restaurant Industry By the Numbers

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Training in Action: Below are two examples of retail and restaurant programs that demonstrate how employee training is a core component in the service industry  

Wal-Mart’s newest training program, Pathways, is a hands-on training program that teaches associates about the retail business model, teamwork, merchandising, communication and various other soft skills. After the training period, associates are required to show their managers what they have learned in order to move onto a department, be it an hourly supervisor role, or a management position in a specialty department like bakery or electronics.  

This past March, Wal-Mart graduated its first class of Wal-Mart Training Academy students who participated in the Pathways program in Arkansas at store No. 125 in Fort Smith.

“The Fort Smith academy’s first graduates will lead the company’s front-line supervisors with hands-on training that combines the classroom and the sales floor. The training will help department managers and hourly supervisors gain both core retail skills and the skills and knowledge to run their specific department,(John Lovett,Fort Smith Home To First Arkansas ‘Wal-Mart Academy’,” Times Record, 3/5/2016)

The Common Man

At the Common Man family of 16 restaurants in New Hampshire, employees receive extensive training in management and basic restaurant skills. Managers of the Common Man go through eight to ten weeks of training, cycling through each position in the restaurant in order to learn every trade of the business.  This type of “expertise training” is important because managers can jump in and help servers and the rest of the team during a huge meal rush, optimizing the workflow of the business (“6 traits of effective managers,” National Restaurant Association).

In September 2008, the Common Man family was named “Best Company to Work For in the Food Industry” by The Griffin Report of Food Marketing, and ranked among the Top 100 Private Companies in New Hampshire, for the second year in a row, by Business NH Magazine.” (The Common Man)