Butler County Walmart becomes training academy for 25 stores

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Walmart Market Manager Tim Moore talks about the company’s new training academy at its Cincinnati-Dayton Road store in West Chester during a ceremony Thursday, March 30, 2017.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Nearly 1,700 workers from 25 Walmart stores in southwest Ohio will train this year at a Butler County store that has become the third Walmart academy in Ohio.

The goal of the academy at the West Chester Twp. Walmart, 8288 Cincinnati Dayton Road, is to help regional store employees succeed and to create a more consistent customer experience.

The academy graduated its first class Thursday and will train employees from 25 stores in southwest Ohio including Butler, Warren, Hamilton, Clermont, Preble, Montgomery, Adams, Darke and Pike counties, plus Northern Kentucky.

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The two other Ohio Walmart academies are in Findlay and Streetsboro. The West Chester one is the 91st among the company’s expected 200 training academies nationwide. That will give Walmart the ability to train more than 140,000 associates a year, including the 1,700 associates this year via the Butler County location.

Walmart Regional General Manager Dann Moore said the academies will create a “better, more consistent customer experience” and provide associates the skills they need to advance, increase management retention and build a stronger talent pipeline for Walmart.

Moore said skills training increases productivity, confidence and knowledge, which leads to greater job satisfaction, personal and professional growth.

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“This is important to our company, very important,” Moore said while addressing the academy’s first graduates during a Thursday ceremony.

“It’ll give our associates more control over their work lives and help address the challenges of a rapidly changing world, built on meeting the needs of customers to provide a seamless shopping experience at scale,” Moore said.

Having the academy means having better trained, more knowledgeable associates to help with customer needs, said Walmart employee Zohreh Noushani, of West Chester Twp.

“When I started with Walmart, there wasn’t much training at all,” said Noushani, a Walmart employee of 23 years, 17 of them at the Cincinnati-Dayton Road store. “I think the academy is really, really good, because the new associates coming in, they can get the proper training, and I think it would help them to achieve their goal.”

Located inside or adjacent to each Walmart, each academy employs the company’s newly created end-to-end training program to give hourly supervisors and department managers two weeks of hands-on training.

The first week teaches retail fundamentals and helps workers gain core retail skills. The second week is devoted to training on the sales floor to gain the knowledge and skills to run the specific department where the associate works.

Areas of study include leadership, merchandising, operations, technology and customer service, in addition to the department-specific training.

Each academy trains 90 employees a week. Class sessions include an average of 15 associates and no more than 30.

Moore said the training is a far cry from when he started with the company more than 30 years ago.

“Our training program was really just reading a couple of books and going in there to run the register and help unloading the trucks,” he said.

Walmart Market Manager Tim Moore, who is not related to Dann Moore, said Walmart is selective when it comes to choosing which store becomes an academy.

“We want to make sure we have the right store to train our people, that they learn the ‘one best way’ of doing business,” he said. “It’s a very good store and a very good community (in which) to train our people.”

The program will operate at the highest level at the West Chester Twp. store because “people come here to learn the right way,” Tim Moore said.

“The customer experience here will be greatly improved,” he said. “They’ll be audited about every third month … just to make sure they maintain the highest possible standard for our customers.”