Associate Development is one of our Five Values at Festival and at the heart of it is the training that we provide to our associates. One of our most thoroughly developed training programs is Cashier Training. Many people may believe the role of a cashier is an “easy job” however many of our cashiers would disagree with that statement. Our cashiers have a tremendous responsibility in our stores and are held to very high standards relating to customer service, engagement, accuracy, loss prevention, policy enforcement and overall technical performance on the register system. Preparing our cashiers to take on this challenge is also a monumental task that is expertly handled through our in-house training program.
Our training process begins with twelve hours of training over a three day period. During those twelve hours we cover all the bases: Festival culture, basics of customer service, policies, coupons, payment methods and register functions. Once our trainers have completed a lecture portion on day one, it’s down to the registers for hands-on training. At this point our new cashiers begin to learn the register system, how to handle each and every form of payment we accept at Festival Foods, the details and specifics of our coupon policy and how each type of coupon is processed, and most importantly how to listen to and engage with our guests and solve their needs.
On the third and final day of training, our new cashiers are able to apply their newfound knowledge by working on a “live” register processing transactions with real money and very patient guests. The trainer is right there to assist them and walk them through any spots where there are questions and help engage the guests and involve them in this new learning process. Working with actual transactions helps to solidify the techniques they’ve learned over the previous three days.
In many cases, some organizations may consider training complete at this point. Remembering that Associate Development is one of our five values at Festival, we take training one step further. Once the three-day training process is complete each new cashier spends another eight hours with a certified shadow trainer standing behind them as their guide. During this time, the shadow trainer works one-on-one with a new cashier simply standing by offering assistance and ongoing feedback to help fine-tune the new skills our cashiers have learned during training.
Last but certainly not least in the training process is a one-hour follow up session between the original trainer and the new cashier. After the cashier has had about a week to work on their own, this one-on-one meeting allows the cashier to ask any questions that may have gone unanswered during the training process. The follow up also allows our trainers the opportunity to check for full understanding of policies and procedures and for the cashier to provide the trainer with feedback on their training experience. There is always room for improvement and direct feedback from the new cashiers is crucial in order to make our training process better for future associates.
Twenty one hours of training for every new cashier may seem excessive to some but we truly value the bright men and women that staff our registers and contribute so much to Festival. The training process never truly ends however. We continue to teach, coach, train and develop our associates on an almost daily basis. Our Mission Statements begins with “To develop a team of associates….” Cashier training is just one way we strive to achieve this goal.