New Training Academy Premises in WA

Bunnings Warehouse in Rockingham, WA , is using the Training Academy to multi-skill its 174 staff so they can move from one department to another when needed.

There’s a culture of training at Bunnings Rockingham. “Yes, we take training very seriously,” says In-store Trainer Sylvia Longley. Knowing how Bunnings operates has equipped her well for her training role. Sylvia knows a lot about the company – she started as a cashier, accumulating more than 30 years service, nearly half of that time in paint and then in various other departments. This is probably why she encourages team members throughout the store to attend training courses.

“Everybody has the same opportunity to attend whatever is available – register staff, the night replenishment teams and others can go to the courses. We are trying to ensure that we always have someone to cover if staff members call in sick.

Making sure staff are multi-skilled means we can draw from another department.” Sylvia sends about four people to most of the Academy courses. “I make sure that whoever has done an introduction course will then go on to the next level and so on.

If a department needs most of the staff to attend a course, half go to one session and the other half go to the next so we still have coverage in that department. Getting our team members trained comes first so we arrange the rosters accordingly.

“We take training very seriously because if you don’t train your team members well you are not going to be able to deliver customer service. Training adds huge value to the store because customers expect us to know what we are talking about and the more we know about the products the better we can sell them. If you go shopping and the salesperson does not know much about the product you are not encouraged to buy it.

”We get people who come in to buy paint, for example, and they know nothing about paint and they rely on us to tell them what to do from starting with preparation to putting the paint on the walls – and that’s our job. “It comes down to sales – we get people coming back rather than going somewhere else. We always get great feedback from returning customers. They will come back to the paint department and ask for a particular team member because they are just so happy and comfortable with the person who served them before.

There is a definite impact on sales results.” Sylvia says it’s not just the store and the customers who benefit. “There has been a huge improvement in what people get out of the training and more and more want to go on courses. They find it a big benefit for them personally and professionally. When staff return from training I get a lot of feedback. I notice that they feel more relaxed about the job because they know more than they did before.” And to top it off, says Sylvia, “the training is very enjoyable.”