Friday, May 15, 2009

Sent in untrained and unprepared

An employee who's thinking of quitting after a few weeks on the job sent me an email. Here's an excerpt.
The second day I go in, the district manager is there with 3 other managers,(NOTE:there are a total of 5 employees, 4 of which are managers at my studio). Well I am sitting at the table getting ready to do my e-learning,and I overhear the district manager and the (I guess) assistant manger, whispering (talking) about the store manager after she left to go print out flyers. I thought that was so unprofessional and rude, I just sat there acting as though I wasn't paying attention, because they were whispering LOUD. As my day progressed I noticed that every time my manager was in the camera room showing me something, the DM would come in and cut her off, basically telling her that what she was showing me was the wrong way to do it, belittling the manager in front of me.
And that's of course bad enough, but what I really want to talk about this is the following:
Moving on to the next couple days of work, I did a couple of my e-learning skill assessments, and then she immediately started teaching me how to use Express, SAS, how to make sales at the sales tables, and so on. She has been teaching these things so fast, its hard for me to remember. (NOTE: What happened to training me through the training book/guide???). But anyway she had me posing the teddy bear as an infant and using the posing guide online. Posing infants was the only subject I had learned to pose up to my 3rd day of work.

On my fourth day of work which happened to fall on a Friday she threw me in the camera room cold turkey and I was completely LOST. She was OFF that day as well. To top it off every session I had was GROUPS!!! I had NO idea about posing groups, so that meant every 5 minutes I was running outside the camera room asking for help. I was terrified and so unsure of everything except making a catalog on express LOL. I haven't even been trained on keeping my sessions to a minimum of 15 minutes,so all of my sessions were at least 20-45 minutes long, due to my lack of knowledge. The whole time the ass.manager was running in the room telling me to "speed it up" there are other customers waiting.
This seems to be the norm still unfortunately and a self defeating cycle for SPS. People are going to come to Sears, feel like they're getting photos that aren't up to par because they're done by new [untrained] employees, they're going to spend what the photos are worth [$9.99], and Sears is going to do poorly financially and therefore put more pressure on its people to save more money on labor, encouraging them to spend less time on labor.

This was always a ridiculous cycle in my studio. Yeah, I get that you're trying to save on labor by getting people going as soon as possible, but you can't send them in unprepared (especially with groups: sheesh). They're going to quit and when they quit, you're going to have to pay for the labor all over again when you hire the next person. I know in my studio they hired in twos since once would always stop showing up. after a few days.

Clearly it's not working when you can't keep anyone around. Something has to change: why not train people correctly and give them the time? I know it's a huge labor investment, but so is having to have the coverage to train a new person every week. I'm not trying to say that this is the studio manager's fault: I think that a lot of the decisions they make are based on the environment that's created by those higher up.

Of course, how in the world can any managers give adequate training when there's only two employees at many studios these days? (And not only that, how can they convince new people that they're going to like working there if they're overworked and run ragged themselves?)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are obviously smart and well spoken. Unfortunately, that's the kiss of death at SPS.

Anonymous said...

The training at SPS is just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

.... I have been through 4 district managers so far, I have seen company robots, field managers and I have seen leaders work through the ranks, and become robots. SPS is trying to move into the on location market. CPI owns all the walmjart studios, and is trying to expand. They have to in this economy... I just want to know why the company is trying to kill off SPS... Sears Portrait Studios has kept CPI alive and able to expand for 30 years... we have loyal customers, why are they cutting hours,closing the essentials, putting all the products into Wal-Mart....Cheap is the new chic?

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I tried to post a new theme, and you never put it up... I eventually posted under another topic and you gave me a slow clap...
I guess I am pompous enough to think that my post is worthy of a new title.... it must be the creative genious in me.. hee hee
I am currently still employed, although I have put in my notice..asked half heartedly for a transfer.... maybe I can use my vacation days before the company shuts me down...

Sears Portrait Studio sucks because....
As a company, I have seen a man hired for a low volume studio, and the DM asked me to train him only in photography so I didn't get paid the extra dollar an hour to train management. And the other manager who trained him in sales only got to claim half of the training time. This man was not promoted, he hired in, at 12.00 an hour, and I had been with the company for four years, I was making 11.50 an hour.
CPI also sucks because I have seen people with the dedication to stay through thick and thin for 30 years, only to be tagged as unpromotable.. or how about the employee who was forced into retirement only to be told they could not compete or use a camera for 5 years....
I have seen who they are promoting for SPS...DM's are now number crunchers...
From an employee perspective we have always been underpaid and unappriciated, under trained, and we are the most adaptable, creative,loyal employees that a company could ask for...

Anonymous said...

And for us to stay...... we are also the most gullible employees.

Anonymous said...

11.50 after only 4 years...well didnt you get on the lucky boat im making 10.00 after 7 years....ive put my bid in for promotions, only to be told there isnt an open slot to see someone outside the company get hired into the promotion i asked for at a much higher pay rate then i was told if i got the promotion. i was my areas top seller for years now i could care less. yes we know SPS sux hence the name of this website. no wonder you got the slow clap.
ps you dont get paid any extra money to train anymore...unless you are a specialized "training mgr" otherwise its considered part of your job description

Anonymous said...

training another manager does get more pay. maybe your lack of tact and class is why you have been over looked for a promtion.

Anonymous said...

i just tell it like it is honey you can't handle it find another website to populate. in case you havent noticed neither the company nor the customers carry much tact and class....unless the new standard of class is beating your kids in front of total strangers. unless berating someone for doing their job is class. maybe your DM is actually human and thats why YOU get paid for training. i trained 5 new associates this past xmas and 3 more in the spring and didnt see a dime. and got written up for calling corporate and asking what was up. so excuse me for speaking the truth sorry you can't handle it. maybe your ability for posting things that have been posted many times before you is the reason you cant get your own topic.

Anonymous said...

As I said... training managers... not employees.. Maybe you aren't the brightest bulb in the box.

Anonymous said...

3 of the 5 were MIT's who quit after 3 weeks of outreaching.....training is training and takes extra work which once upon a time merited extra pay. maybe you ought to aim those insults at CPI....your bound to get results.

Anonymous said...

I worked in a high volume studio with a great manager.. (I would've follow her anywhere) and at Christmas she would hire 16-20 employees and have them hired early Oct. Even back then, when were given more hours to train, she still would have the Xmas people not show, not call, come strolling in late, quit without telling anyone... dropping like flies because it is such a demanding job. She would lose 8-10 every year before the season was 1/2 thru. Hell, she didn't dare write them up.... or they would be gone too!!!
The core staff was there because of her and she lead by example.. stay a 10 hour day, she was right there with you! Last year was a mightmare... ended up with only staff of 8 by end of season and I can only imagine what this year will be like.. 35-40 sitts a day on Sat. & Sun./ was the norm. But close @ 8pm... yeah,right. Appt. setters AND customer service reps. should be REQUIRED to work in studio prior to having those jobs!!!

Anonymous said...

I was hired as a seasonal and had no idea the training at SPS would be so poorly planned. I only get the WGTP manual on my 4th day and am shocked to find that the training is supposed to last only 4 hours per day and 2 weeks. I was working 8 hours per day and expected to start selling and entering sales into the complicated SAS system on my second day on the job! I quit only after a week when I realized that the company from top-down is in disarray. I guess you can abuse and poorly train the seasonals since you probably won't keep them on after january anwyay. Bad thinking.

Here are suggestions how the company training can be improved

1) Give time for new hires especially those who have never worked in retail to start slowly. The WGTP manual actually has a very good plan for the training. Just follow it!

2) Hire seasonals for the holiday season in August or September so they can be good at their job by the end of November.

3) Have a dedicated district trainer whose sole job is to visit a different studio each day and to train the new associates. They can shadow them and answer all their questions so that the regular staff don't have to worry about training and can get on with their jobs.

4) If you can only hire seasonals in Nov. or Dec., then only train them in one area such as sales, photography, outreach, answering the phones, ringing up customers, etc so that they aren't overwhelmed with learning everything only for the month-and-a-half they are there.

Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers! (You can also substitute the word "wow" for "take care")

-- systems thinking