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Regional independent grocery chain Brookshire Grocery Co. has reinvented how its employees are trained — and the results are paying off.
It began in 2011 when company leaders decided to take a new direction in employee onboarding, resulting in the creation of a position now responsible for owning training initiatives at store level — a store trainer.
“Store trainers introduce new employees to the entire company, not just one specific role,” said Kenny Holt, EVP, human resources for BGC. “They become the point-person for all new hires, which has allowed us to train our new employees consistently."
BGC’s training and development and change management departments led research on the position and assisted stores during the rollout and pilot stages. Store leaders met bi-weekly with the training and development team to see what worked and to determine any challenges. Training and development helped store leaders interview and hire for the store trainer position, making sure the right person was in the role. After a two-and-a-half year rollout, the position is now active in all 154 BGC stores across Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Store trainers were selected based on their overall knowledge of store operations, willingness to learn, motivation and enthusiasm. Many of the store trainers have been highly successful in their roles, and many have had the opportunity to move on to other leadership opportunities.
Store trainers have made a huge impact by changing the way the company handles on-boarding. Instead of sending new hires off-site, which for some was many miles away, employees are immediately taken in by the store trainer, who trains each new employee on company culture, values, principles, the mission statement, food safety and compliance, along with various other policies. During on-boarding, the store trainer spends three days with new employees, acclimating them to the store and their new position. As a result, newly hired employees are more engaged and knowledgeable.
Store trainers receive weekly focus points from BGC’s corporate training and development department, instructing them on what training points are important for that week. Focus points cover issues such as proper bagging techniques, customer service, compliance, continuous improvement, various corporate initiatives and more.
“Developing this position took a collaborative effort of many different areas to ensure it was sustainable,” Holt added. “We continue to look at other ways to improve training, such as a learning management system, where we can interactively offer more classes and educational opportunities to our employees.”