Business Today

Retailers eye staff training

High attrition rate coupled with acute shortage of skilled manpower has prompted most retail players in the country to initiate training programmes for their staff.

Amit Shanbaug   Mumbai     Last Updated: October 6, 2010  | 09:50 IST

High attrition rate coupled with acute shortage of skilled manpower has prompted most retail players in the country to initiate training programmes for their staff.

Bharti Wal-Mart, a joint venture (JV) between Bharti Enterprises and USbased retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has opened a training centre in Delhi.

According to Raj Jain, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bharti Wal-Mart, the JV has tied up with Delhi government's department of training and technical education for this initiative.

"The agreement was signed on July 22, 2010. The centre aims to provide free retail sector- focused vocational training to candidates," he said.

The training centre, which is located at the Veer Savarkar Basic Training Centre at Pusa Road in New Delhi, is expected to train around 125 candidates every month. Close to 50 per cent of the store managers working with Wal- Mart started their careers pushing trolleys but were later promoted thanks to on- field training, Jain pointed out.

The eligibility criterion for the training is that the candidates should be above 18 years of age and should be able to understand basic English language. The group had opened its first outlet in Amritsar in Punjab in 2008. The group has plans to open similar training centres in every state, Jain added. Besides, Bharti Wal- Mart runs a training programme called 'my partner programme' for its suppliers and ' mera kirana ' for small grocery store owners.

Thomas Varghese, CEO of Aditya Birla Retail, said the attrition rate in the retail sector is as high as 40 to 50 per cent and unless companies think of such training initiatives, sustenance would be difficult.

"Out of our total staff of 9,000 employees in all our stores, between 5,000 to 6,000 have to be hired every year. In case we think of expanding our operations then add to it the additional staff requirements," he said.

Varghese said the firm has started the programme through various non- governmental bodies, which train and help them recruit the trained manpower.

The Future Group has set up an academic initiative called 'Future Innoversity' under their subsidiary Future Human Development Ltd (FHDL), where candidates are trained in modules of logistics and supply chain management.

The group offers a three- year full-time BBA degree in retail & entrepreneurship in partnership with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). It comprises on- the- job training in Future Group stores. Successful students are inducted into Future Group companies. Future Innoversity runs three state- ofthe- art centres in Bangalore, Kolkata and Ahmedabad with a new one coming up in Delhi.

Govind Shrikhande, MD and customer care associate at Shoppers Stop, said that though attrition is very high in the retail sector, it's the loyal employees who bring success to the organisation.

"Our success lies in the fact that we are a very open and a flat organisation. All our employees, right from the sales person to me are called Customer Care Associates," he said.

Nihar Ranjan Ghosh, senior vice president (HR) at RPG Retail, said that the firm has rolled out a number of initiatives for getting trained staff in their retail stores. " Our company has a policy of employing people from the poorer sections of society.

Once the staff is selected, they have to undergo a training programme of around 18 months under various departments. This takes place in phases," he said.

Ghosh said that the company also has a sponsorship programme where they have tied up with the RAI academy to train their staff under the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) programme.

"The entire cost is borne by the company, we just expect dedication from the staff," he said.

  • Print

A    A   A