Retail Job Aid

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retail job aid

Industry: Retail – Home Goods

Project Scope
A national retail store has reduced the number of man hours allocated to store associates by 25% in response to rising full-time employee costs and reduced sales.  The 2008 American banking crisis temporarily limited the company’s access to short term financing thereby causing a strain on its working capital needed to cover bi-weekly payroll.  A local store Manager realizes that these staff cutbacks will leave him without a substitute to properly close the store while he’d be out for an upcoming surgery.  The increased workload poses significant time constraints, preventing the Manager from properly training a store associate to act as his substitute.  With the blessing of the corporate office, the Manager took the initiative to find a Process Documentation Specialist to develop training materials.

 

Process Work Overview
I was referred to the Manager by one of his long-time, loyal customers.  After a brief meeting, I learned that the corporate office’s standard store close-out procedure included the close-out of a newer, more modern cash register.  The local store’s cash registers were not scheduled to be upgraded until later in the year.  A few days later, I shadowed the Manager during a busy night shift.  He supplied me with a uniform so that I would appear to be a trainee and could blend in without raising any customer suspicion.  Once the store was officially closed for the day and with notepad in hand, I documented every step of the cash register close-out process asking questions along the way to ensure the Manager was not inadvertently leaving out important information.  The next morning I converted my notes into a step-by-step procedure and analyzed it to make sure the steps flowed.

Later that night, I handed a draft of the procedure to the Manager as well as the store associated selected to be his substitute.  The store associate used the draft procedure as a guide for closing the cash registers and we each marked up our respective copies to capture necessary changes and modifications.  Two days later, I revised the procedure by converting it into a job aid using short sentences infused with bold font to highlight keyboard functions and increase readability.  I also segmented the content into eight stages, included a troubleshooting and contact guide, and formatted the job aid to print onto 3”x5” index cards.  Once printed the cards were laminated, hole-punched and secured together with a key ring.

 

Results
With only a few days left before the Manager’s surgery, the completed job aid was tested one more night with a different store associate.  I observed the job aid’s functionality, portability/ease of use and accuracy.  The store associate successfully closed each cash register without any questions and when the screen locked at a certain point, she referenced the job aid’s troubleshooting guide to quickly resolve the issue.  The Manager felt confident that he now had a tool that would allow his substitute to close the store properly.  Two months later, the Manager reported a speedy recovery from surgery.  The corporate office was so impressed that he was asked to share his initiative with other Managers during their national conference.

 

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