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Training Session-Vardhaman Jewellers

Undaunted by the limitations of a small-scale setup, Vardhman Jewellers has found innovative ways to train and upskill its employees — affordably — while creating an environment of retail excellence.

“With jewellers becoming more and more organised and professional, staff skilling has become one of the most important factors in customer retention,” says Sachin Jain, director, Vardhman Jewellers, Bhiwani, Haryana.

Sachin Jain, director, Vardhman Jewellers,

When he embarked on organizing his business, Jain began to give serious thought to training. He quickly realised that deliveries were being delayed, control over inventory had weakened, and employees were suffering a lack of coordination.

The solution was a one-day intensive staff training session, taken up by Vardhman Jewellers in collaboration with Arihant Jewellers, Delhi, and Premsons Jewellers, Rohtak, Haryana. “Sharing a learning platform in this way had a double effect: it brought costs down and helped promote cross-learning and new approaches to training for all three participating retailers,” says Jain.

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Twenty-one employees, in all, attended: 11 from Vardhman Jewellers, six from Arihant Jewellers and four from Premsons Jewellers. The session focused on key practical concerns such as how to deal with customers, how to close a deal and how to upsell; and on product knowledge.

Beyond these focus areas, the training session was organised into two parts, internal and external. “In the internal training, the employees were taught how to gain a thorough knowledge of the inventory, to manage it efficiently,” says Jain. “They have to be well acquainted with the customers’ demands as well as their company’s goals.”

The external training, Jain says, “was designed to motivate these employees, and show them how to perfect their grooming and presentation. They were taught how best to describe a product, conveying its special features and how those features would benefit the customer. The participants were also taught how to collect customer details and handle customer queries.”

Such intensive, mission-critical staff training, Jain emphasises, can only be done by professionals. They have a wider picture of the industry than any individual retailer, which is why these experts take into account details that retailers often ignore. Jain appointed NYUZ for training the staff.

If a retailer tells his staff to work in a certain way, for instance, the employees may or may not understand why. The professional trainer is able to give them an explanation that is easy to grasp and that will motivate them. An expert’s methodical approach to training always benefits staffers.

During the training session, the participants are asked to take notes. At the end, they give feedback, raise queries and get answers. The experience of the session itself is intended to help the employees to focus on working together toward a common goal.

After the training exercise, says Jain, his employees have become more self-motivated and better informed. They have new energy. Everyone, he says, works as if they owned the business themselves.

Periodic sessions are not the only training. Jain also sends senior employees to the stores of other jewellers, to observe alternate working styles and structures. If they find something good, they can apply it at Vardhman Jewellers.

“I have a network of 25 jewellers from various cities of the country to whom I keep sending my staff members,” says Jain. “The other jewellers, in turn, send their employees to my store.”

He himself has taken learning excursions to a long list of fellow retailers, he says, in a management exchange programme. They include Arihant Jewellers, JD Solitaire, Multani Jewellers, Shubham Jewellers and Swastik Jewellers, all in Delhi; Gokaldas Murlimanohar Johri, Bhopal, MP; and Premsons Jewellers.

“This practice helps us to understand deeply the working styles of other jewellers, and learn new things from them,” says Jain. “I learnt how to efficiently manage inventory, how to use technology to run day-to-day operations, ways to sell dead inventory, and many other useful things.” Among the outcomes is a “dead-inventory exchange programme that I recently started with Premsons Jewellers, in which we exchange our two-year-old inventory to see if we can liquidate it.”

Jain’s initiatives and sense of mission have sharpened the performance of his own company and benefited a number of its peers. He urges all jewellers to put their staff through training at least once a year. Once they begin to do this, he says, they will realise the vital importance of expert-led training. Family-run jewellers may think they know everything there is to know about the business, he says, but the market is changing too rapidly. If they hope to stay in the race, they must upskill their workforce regularly.

Vardhman Jewellers’ fortunate staffers, as well as senior management and the owners, have their next joint-training session in mid-October, just ahead of the all-important festive season.

 

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