The NRF Foundation has introduced two new credentials in its RISE Up educational platform in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The credentials, Retail Operations and Customer Conflict Prevention, aim to enable retail workers and their customers to work and shop more safely, and help keep the economy from shutting down.
The training is available to NRF’s 16,000 retail members and 800 training partners.
“Retailers have been on the front lines of this pandemic as economic first responders and are going above and beyond to maintaining a safe work environment for themselves, their colleagues and their customers,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NRF, the world’s largest retail trade association. “These new credentials will give employees the training they need to continue operating and serving customers safely. An informed workforce will build customer confidence and show local and state governments that retailers are taking all steps possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Although major retailers started training employees on dealing with COVID-19 when the pandemic began, the foundation’s new offerings have streamlined these best practices from retailers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop more comprehensive training for the entire industry. Both credentials target front-line retail employees of small- and mid-size businesses without learning and development teams.
Sponsored by American Express, the COVID-19 Retail Operations credential aims to help customer-facing retail workers, distribution center workers and job seekers safely operate during the pandemic. Designed to help retailers meet state and local requirements for COVID-19 training, the course educates employees on recognizing COVID-19 symptoms, taking appropriate actions if exposed to the virus and understanding CDC best health practices and tools used in retail.
The NRF Foundation worked with the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), a Milwaukee-based provider of verbal de-escalation training, on the COVID-19 Customer Conflict Prevention credential, which focuses on how customer-facing retail workers and job seekers can help avoid and de-escalate conflict. The credential specifically addresses retail’s unique challenges, among them mask requirements for customers, customer-to-customer conflicts and line management. It aims to equip employees with the skills to better manage and resolve customer conflicts, particularly during the busy and often stressful holiday season.
“COVID-19 anxiety continues to rise in businesses and elsewhere across the United States,” said CPI President Susan Driscoll. “Overall tensions are a frequent concern for essential workers who are faced with activating and managing mask mandates, while also trying to keep the peace among customers.”
According to CPI, the number of inquiries it has received on de-escalation information has doubled since the onset of pandemic.