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Career Story: Training Supervisor For A Book Store Chain

Training Supervisor For A Book Store Chain

Job Title: Training Supervisor

Education: none.

Previous Experience: I started out part time 20 years ago, moved to full time, then supervisory postion within a couple of years, then mananger a year or three after that. The store closed, so I transferred to a different subsidiary of the company and a larger store. I worked as merchandising supervisor for a few years and now training supervisor.

Job Tasks: The company I work for is in specialty retail, specifically books. My current job is training supervisor. I train all new hires, those that take a new position, and re-train any that need 'refreshers' or those that may be having problems with their job. For new hires, I start by giving them the basics of our comapany - history, what we do, our guidelines, etc. I then take them around the store with me, giving them a basic idea of where everything is so that they don't feel completely lost. I also introduce them to as many of our employees as possible so that they can start to feel like they're part of us as soon as possible.

Next is the nitty-gritty of teaching them how to do their particular job, from beginning to end. Depending on the position, this may take a couple of days or longer. I also make sure that they know that they are not alone, that any employee in the store is more than willing to help, including management. My job, beyond the training aspect, is really to welcome the new employees and to let them know that we very much welcome them into our 'family' (even if sometimes that family can be dysfunctional ;). And that should be the job of any manager, no matter what company they work for. If your employees feel welcome and happy, then they are much more likely to do their job enthusiastically and well.

Typical day includes any training of personnel but also a lot of my day is spent helping out the store in general (setting displays, helping customers, restocking, etc.) Mainly my job, and the job of any supervisor or manager at our stores, is to help in any way that makes the store the best that it can be, both in profitability and in the work environment. Most of us start out here thinking it's "just a job" but end up staying because we love what we do and the people we work with.

Not much in the way of travel for me yet, but trainers do sometimes go to other stores or cities/states to help set up brand new stores. This can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, so sometimes we do get out of the house ;)

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part, besides the people I work with, is helping the new employees to not only learn their job, but to also be happy with it. If your employee is unhappy, then not only will their work suffer, but it will also make those around them unhappy. And that's not good for anyone.

Worst part of the job... hmmm. Frankly that depends on the day. As a general rule, I'd have to say that as a trainer, the worst part is not actually having the time to train someone properly. In retail, like other jobs, you are quite often limited in the time that you are given to do specific jobs. Even when you're given enough time, you generally have a lot of interruptions. Some from customers and some are from your co-workers. The trick is to find a way to keep the training moving along smoothly, even when there are interruptions.

Job Tips: Tips from a trainer:


1. Make sure that those you are training feel welcome. If you don't, then they either won't listen to what you're teaching them, or they won't care about their job.

2. Listen to your trainees. Let them ask questions. If you don't let them ask questions, then how will you know if they're truly learning what you're teaching them? How will you know if they don't understand? Because if they're not learning, or if they don't understand, then you will just have to train them longer or re-train them later. And that's not only more work for you, but a waste of both their time and yours.

3. No matter what job you take, remember to treat those you work with with respect. You don't have to like them, but you do need to treat them with common courtesy. They'll be happier and, even though you may not think so, you'll be happier also. If you don't respect them, then how could you expect them to respect you?

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