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Keeping shelves stocked, staying on top of supply orders, and helping your employees stay healthy used to be a normal part of retailing, but this year, those basic tasks became challenging, to say the least. Even in the thick of the holiday season, there are still end-of-year needs that must be met, from manager and compliance training to ensuring your 2021 learning plans are in order. Add in the need for employee training on the latest COVID-19 prevention measures and sanitation procedures, and it can be almost too overwhelming to know where to start.
Thankfully, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute has a host of updated courses, resources, and a fresh new look that make it easy to check off these last few items on your 2020 list. Ensure your teams are up to date on required trainings and enrolled for the ISMC and other courses for the New Year, find what you need in the new Resource Center, and see what to expect with the Five Star Assessment Program results.
State and federal governments require employees to complete certain trainings on an annual basis to be in compliance. As the year comes to a close, work with your store managers and human resources administrators to ensure your employees have completed the required training courses and your store has the certificates on file. “Many courses will be retired at the end of the year,” says Ana Velázquez, learning solutions director of the IGA Coca-Cola Institute, “so employees must complete their certifications before December 31 to meet the governmental compliance for 2020.”
Compliance courses available at the IGA Coca-Cola Institute include:
Add these courses, which will be updated for 2021, to your learning plans:
In addition to the government-required training, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute added 26 new courses in 2020, including a sanitation course that Velázquez recommends all employees complete during the COVID-19 pandemic, and department-specific courses designed to better train team members in the bakery and meat departments. Retailers and managers will not want to miss the three courses on ransomware, which can devastate a business if hit during the holidays.
COVID-19 courses include:
With so many new courses added this year and many more to come in 2021, Velázquez encourages retailers and managers to update their learning plans for 2021. “Retailers should review the course catalog to choose the courses they want their employees to take, then set deadlines for their employees to complete the courses,” she says. “An easy and common deadline is just before annual performance reviews.” By creating a learning plan for each department, retailers set clear goals for employees and provide a path to professional development.
Find the new courses here and work with your managers and HR departments to finish up any outstanding 2020 training needs.
The International Supermarket Management Class (ISMC) is one of the IGA Coca-Cola Institute’s most popular events, attracting over 1,000 students from 20 countries and nearly every part of the U.S. over the past 15 years. “This is the premier annual learning event for supermarket owners, managers, and supervisors, teaching them to foster a culture that delivers efficiency, great service, and innovation,” says IGA Coca-Cola Institute President Paulo Goelzer.
Usually taught in-person as a multi-day small group learning experience, students learn about food trends, best practices, and leadership skills from the industry’s top talent and veterans. This year, Goelzer and the Institute team adapted the program to virtual classes to ensure everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. With three modules available—loss prevention, sustainability, and leadership—students can choose one, two, or all three modules, which will be taught by industry experts, blending group activities, online courses, and pre and post-class webinars.
The first module starts January 11 and registration is limited, so visit the website and register now to reserve a spot.
To stay updated and in the know on the latest courses, programs, and compliance requirements, retailers can visit the Resource Center, which is an online collection of support materials and reference documentation available to administrators and learning leaders responsible for the online training program at their organization.
There are four sections in the center:
The Administrator's How-to section also includes frequently needed job descriptions, which are especially helpful during the pandemic when grocery stores are hiring often. “These assets are very timely with the hiring surge,” Velázquez says, adding that this resource can help retailers hire quickly and efficiently.
Administrators and retailers can use the customizable flyers found in the Marketing Materials sections to promote courses in-store. “All they have to do is come here to download the files, then they can print and post in their breakrooms,” says Velázquez.
She also recommends administrators and retailers sign up for the Institute's quarterly newsletters to learn of new courses, courses to be retired, and more. “Once people finish their training, they don’t revisit it enough,” Velázquez says. “So they should sign up for the newsletter to find out what’s new—for courses and marketing materials.
The training and resources developed by the IGA Coca-Cola Institute help retailers and associates learn how to deliver the exceptional service that has become the backbone of IGA stores. With a well-trained team, a store can become a community favorite and earn loyal shoppers. The Five Star Assessment Program serves as a benchmark for retailers, guiding continual improvement of the IGA shopping experience.
The program got a makeover this year, and that was planned before COVID hit the U.S. With new measurement goals and a modernized process for providing purposeful feedback, the program reduced the focus on branding and increased concentration on operations, merchandising, and service.
But the pandemic significantly altered the data-gathering for the program, so the program was updated again. The summer assessment reviewed stores at a time when we were seeing more new shoppers than ever before. “We streamlined the study to ensure we're addressing what's really important during COVID-19,” says IGA CEO John Ross, adding that surveyors wouldn’t be grading stores for out-of-stocks when the supply chain was just starting to stabilize.
Then, in an effort to not disrupt stores as COVID cases rose again in October, Ross and Goelzer decided the fall assessment would not be required to achieve Five Star status and IGA would not conduct the assessment in stores automatically. Stores were given the option to request a free assessment to help them benchmark their performance. “We will be wrapping up the fall assessment this week, so retailers can look for an update on the fall results and Five Star status in The IGA Minute in January 2021,” says Jason King, training and development manager at the IGA Coca-Cola Institute and Retail Learning Institute.
Whether your store needs to meet compliance requirements for the year or your associates are ready to take the next step in their careers toward management, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute has the training and resources retailers need to meet all of their goals.