LANDOVER, Md. -- Having seen substantial savings with computer-based training programs for its cashiers and pharmacy clerks, as well as CBT programs to improve produce identification, Giant Food here is developing a CBT program for new hire orientation.
The new CBT program, which will be set up in Giant's employment offices by the end of this year, will make the orientation process more accessible to new hires, thereby allowing them to report to the store sooner. Currently, standard orientations for new hires take place once a week at several locations.
"The time before a new hire can report to the store can be [as long as] a week," said Diana Ackermann, manager of entry-level training at Giant. "New hires will actually get into the store quicker with CBT in the employment office, because they will be able to do orientation immediately following the hiring process."
Ackermann said Giant Food is exploring CBT programs for areas such as the deli, housekeeping and dealing with hazards and chemicals, having seen strong results from using CBT programs for produce identification and point-of-sale training.
CBT for the POS is currently being used at Giant's more than 170 stores, and it has cut training time to 4.5 hours from 21. The 4.5 hours of CBT replaced 13 hours of classroom work and eight hours of in-store training with an instructor. New employees still spend an additional 12 hours at the store with an experienced cashier, as they did prior to Giant's use of CBT.
In addition, the retailer was able to cut costs in training, reducing its training staff by a dozen people at numerous locations.
Even with shorter training times, "trainees were definitely more prepared to run a register after completing CBT as opposed to our traditional classroom and in-store training," Ackermann said.
The retailer is currently monitoring the effect of CBT on shrink reduction through the use of mystery shoppers. These shoppers go into stores and purchase items that are typically miskeyed by the cashier. They then prepare reports on any losses.
The POS and produce identification CBT used at Giant Food comes from Strategic Systems Associates, Des Plaines, Ill. Giant is currently working with Learning Systems Sciences, North Hollywood, Calif., on the CBT for new hire orientation.