Only 35% Of Retailers Effectively Train Employees; 32% Don’t Train At All

While 57% of employed adults think that training is very effective in helping them do their job well, retail employees are far less confident about its success rate than their peers, according to a survey from Axonify. Only 35% of retail employees believe training is effective, well below the averages of respondents in fields such as:

  • Financial advising/professional sales (66%);
  • Manufacturing/logistics (68%), and
  • Call centers (63%).

Nearly one in three (32%) of retail employees say they don’t receive any formal training at all, a higher percentage than any other industry surveyed.

Engaging Training Is Effective Training

When respondents think about their formal workplace training (or lack thereof) as it relates to their level of engagement at work, 46% report feeling extremely engaged, stating that they know what their role is and its overall importance, and believe their contributions are highly valued by the company. Overall, 30% of employees across industries say their training is not very effective because it’s boring and does not engage them. 


Most respondents who feel that their workplace training is extremely effective in helping them succeed at work believe the information they learn can be applied in the workplace (59%), and it allows them to develop professionally (50%).

Unfortunately, both retailers (31%) and manufacturers (33%) feel less engaged than those working in professional sales (55%). If retailers are going to train employees, 92% of sales associates say they should be making the process engaging and fun.

“Training should not be a dull, isolated event, as employees loathe sitting in long, boring sessions and immediately tune out,” said Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify. “Recent advancements in brain science demonstrate that by providing employees with continuous, enjoyable opportunities to learn, information retention improves, positioning the business for greater success. And, when learning incorporates gamified elements, participation soars.”

Additionally, the study revealed that less than half of retail employees (45%) receive training via online or a mix of classroom and online training, while 11% receive only classroom training. Those most likely to have received strictly classroom training include manufacturing workers (29%), call center employees (38%) and financial advisors (29%).

Pay, Flexible Scheduling Top Training Priorities Across All Industries

As many as 86% of total employees think being paid to complete the process as part of regular wages is the most important part of formal workplace training, with 85% preferring to pick training times that work best for their schedule. Employees also value:

  • Receiving regular, frequent training (80%);
  • Short training sessions: 3-to-5 minutes vs. 20 minutes or more (67%);
  • The option to participate in training on any device, anywhere (67%); and
  • Training that offers rewards or points of some kind (59%).

The Axonify State of Workplace Training Study includes insights from more than 1,000 U.S. adults from Nov. 20 to Dec. 4, 2017.

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